Kevin not “Houlted’ in 1st Ultra Champs

Haworth Hobble or Wuthering Hike, whichever name preferred, there’s no mistaking that it’s a 50km slog traversing the gritstone moors around Haworth, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

The start is from the Main Street, Haworth and goes straight up the cobbled road, out along Cemetery Road and then onto the moorland footpath to Bronte Bridge. Cross the Bridge and head for Top Withens, along the Pennine Way to Widdop Road. Run up the road to Widdop Reservoir and here, after your first 7 miles, you will find the first refreshment station.

The race then goes around the reservoir and joins the Limersgate track which takes you past the Yorkshire/Lancashire boundary then continuing on the bridleway to Hurstwood Reservoir dam wall. From here it’s good footpath running via Cant Clough dam wall and into Sheddon Clough before climbing up to the road checkpoint at the Long Causeway car park. Almost half way now but most of the climb still to come!

From the car park it’s a short run up the road then onto the footpath past Stiperden House Farm to Stoney Lane checkpoint. Where strong stomached runners can help themselves to a hotdog or two! Go down Stoney Lane to the Cross Stone Inn and take the steep, narrow, walled footpath past the back of the church, to Halifax Road. Cross the road and head towards Lumbutts taking the footpath which zig zags steeply up the hill to Mankinholes. Another re-fuelling opportunity at this checkpoint, with whiskey and jam doughnuts on offer and with the climb upto Stoodley Pike imminent it’s worth stopping for a moment.

After reaching Stoodley Pike, descend down the Pennine Way, then along the track above Callis Wood and down a steep lane to Hebble End. Another climb now upto Heptonstall but by now there’s less than 10 miles to the finish. On reaching Heptonstall head down the lane and steep path to the penultimate checkpoint and refreshment opportunity at Horse Bridge. From here it’s up the bridleway past Hollin Hall and onto the packhorse track which leads down to cross Crimsworth Dene and this is the final checkpoint. With only four miles to go the route climbs the tarmac lane which eventually leads to Top O’t Stairs before following the track that drops down to Leeshaw Reservoir. Run, hike or hobble along Moorside Lane and up the road to Penistone Hill and then it’s 1 mile along the Bronte Way back to the start at Haworth Primary School.

There was a strong turn-out of runners and first Calder Valley finisher was Kevin Hoult in an outstanding 3rd place, a real breakthrough result against some of the country’s leading ultra-runners. Kevin started off steady, then pulled through to the lead group and led the middle section of the race before being over-taken by eventual winner Duncan Harris from Chester over the last few miles. Amazingly, Duncan’s winning time was just two secionds quicker than second placed toby Evans from Rossendale. Next Calder Valley finisher in 7th place was Simon Bourne from Heptonstall, who used his local knowledge to pull through the field on the tricky middle section through Todmorden. In a very fine position of 23rd was lady race winner Cath Wood from Bridlington.