Inter Counties, Relays and Exhaustion!!!!

The "Inter Counties" Counters!!!!

The “Inter Counties” Counters!!!!

Settle Hills Fell Race – Sunday 19 May 2013

‘Allez Max’

This years’ Settle Hills Fell Race was selected for the Fell Runners Association Inter Counties Championship and attracted some of the best fell runners in Britain.

Max Wharton had the performance of the day winning the under 18 men’s race by just two seconds from Iolo Hughes from North Wales. Max can now look forward to running for England in the Junior World Cup to be held in France. Max’s Yorkshire team mate, James Hall, was third and therefore securing the team prize.

Calder Valley had two men in the under 16 race, Jack Denton and Edan Whitelaw finishing in fifth and fourteenth respectively. Jack and Lewis Byram, second overall, taking second team for Yorkshire.

The senior men’s race had three Calder Valley representatives, John Smith (61), Mark Wharton (70) and Graeme Woodward (107). There were a few more CVFRs representing their county though, Gav Mulholland (13 Northern Ireland), Karl Gray (14 Yorkshire), Shaun Godsman (16 Lancashire) & James Logue (17 Northern Ireland). And it must have been a great race as they finished within seconds of each other.

Karl was on the Yorkshire winning team with Tom Adams (3) and Adam Osborne (8) and Shaun got a bronze medal with Rob Hope (4) and Gary Priestley (9) of Lancashire. Just missing out on the medals, finishing in fourth, were the Northern Irish lads along with David McNeilly (44).

Race winner and a future name to look out for was Wegene Tafase an under 23 running for Scotland West.

In the women’s race it was a Yorkshire 123 with from Emma Clayton, Victoria Wilkinson and Katie Walshaw in that order taking the medals and the first team prize. Helen Fines, also running for Yorkshire finished in fifth but just missed out on a team place.

Calderdale Way Relay – Sunday 19 May 2013

With many of the Club’s best runners competing at Settle the strategy was to enter a strong mixed team of six men and six women over the six legged relay. The relay starts very early at 8am from Halifax and leg 1 ends at Cragg Vale. The leg 2 runners visit Stoodley Pike before handing over at Todmorden. Leg 3 is a shorter leg and permits older juniors to be paired up with a senior enabling them to get a flavour of the event. Next handover is at Blackshaw Head where leg 4 runners set off on possibly the most challenging leg ending at Wainstalls. Leg 5 ends at Shelf before the last leg ends back at race HQ at West Vale.

Calder Valley entered four mixed teams and the tactics paid off with the mixed ‘A’ team retaining the title that they won last year.

Cader Idris Race – Saturday 18 May 2013

In much worse weather than the following day a hardy bunch of CVFR headed to North Wales for the Cader Idris race. Described by one of them as a proper, tough, five mile up ‘n five mile down mountain race with just shy of 3,000 ft of climb, an excellent festival atmosphere in the town and a London marathon style digital clock welcoming you at the finish where better for a Stag do’?

The race was won by local lad Ifan Richards in 1:31:02 with Tod’s Lauren Jeska winning the ladies race (although she was running for Aberyswyth AC?).

A cracking weekend away was had by all on Richard Ingram’s Stag Do and a superb run from Ben Frechette to come in 24th, who having pushed himself so hard required a visit to A&E after suffering from exhaustion, acute de-hydration and a broken finger nail.

Fairfield Horseshoe Fell Race

Sally NewmanThe big guns were out in the Lakes last weekend for this year’s Fairfield Horseshoe as the race featured as a counter in the 2013 English Fell Running championship. Calder Valley sent a strong contingent of top runners to compete in a field which read like a whose-who of fell running; with the International talent of Lloyd Taggart, Rob Hope, Victoria Wilkinson, Ian Holmes, Rob Jebb, Carl Bell, and Darren Kay on the start line, the Calder runners knew that they would need to be at their absolute best to have any chance of a result.

Starting from Rydal Hall near Ambleside the 9 mile Lakeland Classic features a fearsome 3000 feet of climbing, across a horseshoe of mountain summits over 2000 feet above sea level. Despite the daunting ascents, Calder Valley’s ladies proved that “there ain’t no mountain high enough” for the girls in red white hoops as they turned on the style to show they are still a force to be reckoned with in national competition. Helen Fines, Jo Waites, and Sally Newman took the ladies team prize with Jo Waites also winning the V40 race, whilst the indominatable Newman finished first in her V50 category.

Well over 400 runners set off up up the side of Nab Scar to reach the first ridge. The going was tough, with wet grass making the steep climb harder. Once onto the ridge the climbs just kept coming as the route contoured around the side of Heron Pike at 2008ft. The freezing wind blasted runners against the side of the fell as the race crossed several peaks towards the highest point in the route, Fairfield at 2864ft. There then followed a series of rocky descents and climbs across Hart Crag, and Dove Crag, before a test of high speed, technical footwork, as competitors then careered, helter-skelter,  down to High Pike at 2152ft and then Low pike at 1667ft, losing height rapidly to finish at Rydal Park

Despite some impressive individual performance’s Calder men weren’t able to take any of the top prizes. Karl Gray’s 5th place and (2nd V40) was the pick of the bunch only 2 minutes behind the eventual winner. In a close finish Rob Hope of Pudsey & Bramley won the men’s race in 1.19.18, just seconds ahead of Morgan Donnelly of Borrowdale (2nd), and Bingley’s Rob Jebb (3rd).

For full Calder Valley results click here

Jo “coins” in on record run

Jo BuckCalder Valley’s Jo Buckley was in record breaking form at a sun-drenched Coiner’s Fell Race in Mytholmroyd on Monday. The race (7.5miles/ 1330ft ascent) runs from near Mytholmroyd Community Centre up to Stoodley Pike, then sweeps back round passing the famous Bell House farms of the notorious Coiners baddies of yesteryear, with a steep, contouring final descent back down towards Mytholmroyd.

Jo powered home to set a new course record of 1:00:15 and claim the coveted ladies’ prize, finishing 11th overall. In the process she nabbed the course record of her Calder team-mate, England runner Helen Fines. Backing Jo up to help CVFR win the ladies’ team prize were the indefatigable Jackie Scarfe and Charlotte Whetton who both put in fine runs.

Jo set the early pace and pulled clear of the ladies field across Cock Hill Moor, then demonstrated her climbing virtuosity with a rapid ascent up to Stoodley Pike from London Road. This steep section was added to the route last year and has proved a popular addition, giving Coiners a truer fell race feel, and about 400ft extra climb thrown into the bargain.

In the men’s race, Wharfedale’s Christian Holmes took the honours in 54:38, with the resurgent Ben Frechette being top-placed Calder in a career-best 5th place. Just behind Ben were Rob Dobson and ever-present Rob Paradise in 6th and 11th respectively. Paul Hobbs was highest placed Tod Harrier in 4th.

Big thanks go to Nicky Murphy, Jon Emberton, Graham Lloyd and the rest of the team who staged such a slick event, and to all the helpers at the finish line handing out the water to some very hot and bothered runners.

On Saturday, it was Calder maestro Jo Waites’ turn to lift the silver as she won the ladies race in the popular Cake Race (10 miles/1700ft) out of Diggle in Saddleworth. Jo finished 19th overall posting a strong time of 1:14:37.

In the men’s race, Calder’s Jason Williams was a superb 2nd as he tamed the testing course with a high calibre run with his team mate Andy Fleet taking a superb 3rd place. As the name suggests, the theme of the race is ‘bring a cake’ and there was certainly no shortage of confectionary at the end in Diggle Church. However, most of it was polished off by Calder’s Ben Frechette who, after underestimating the 22 mile trip from Cragg Vale on his push bike, arrived in the nick of time for the race, ran the ten mile route in 1:25:35 and then, on the verge of exhaustion and acute sugar deprivation, darted straight into the tea room and devoured a plate full of Battenburg slices, three chocolate éclairs, two Bakewell tarts and a prize Victoria Sponge. He then had to ride home.

‘Karlos the Jackal Devours Peaks’

Karl accepting his V40 trophy after his stunning record breaking run

Karl accepting his V40 trophy after his stunning record breaking run – photo courtesy of Dave Woodhead

The Three Peaks Race is one of the most established and possibly the most revered of all fell races, don’t mistake this superb race with a misguided charity event that involves driving around Britain trying to get to the highest points of England, Scotland and Wales in 24 hours.

Starting from Horton-in-Ribblesdale, the route leads out of the village and heads towards the first and lowest peak, Pen-y-ghent, with the summit of 2,262 feet reached just before the four mile mark. Last year’s race winner, Joe Symonds of Kendal, but this year running for the Salomon International Team rather than his Scottish club, Hunters Bog Trotters, was ominously first to the summit in 28.46. Next summiteer, was Joe’s team mate, Tofol Castanyer of Spain in 29.02. The only other runners to reach here in under 30 minutes were Andrew Fallas of Carnethy, Carl Bell of Keswick, Adam Osborne of Leeds and Rob Jebb of Bingley. In ninth position at this point in 30.16, and possibly running slightly more sensibly, was our very own Karl ‘Earl’ Gray or ‘Karlos the Jackal’, as he is known amongst his fellow elitists! Just in front of Karl were Oli Johnson of Dark peak and fell running legend, Ian Holmes of Bingley. In the ladies race, another Spanish Salomon International Team member, Oihana Aranzeta, was leading, by 20 seconds in 34.42 from Claire Gordon of Hunters Bog Trotters. The next three ladies, Jasmin Paris (35.37), Jill Mykura (35.55) and Helen Bonsor (36.29) were all from Carnethy.

With runners being greeted by wind and sleet on Pen-y-ghent, the leaders turned and made the mile or so descent before starting a fast four and half mile section of track, with a little road running, to Ribblehead. This fast running can be the curse of many a runner as they later toil up Whernside and Ingleborough after pushing too hard too soon. At Ribblehead Joe had increased his lead to 78 seconds with Carl and Tofol in joint second place in 1.15.05. Karl was pacing well and was still in ninth place in 1.17.43. Oihana was now in control arriving at Ribblehead in 1.29.21 nearly two minutes clear of Jasmin with Claire over a minute further back just in front of Jill and both nearly a minute clear of Helen.

The three mile stretch of boggy and slightly uphill running from Ribblehead to the base of Whernside is possibly the toughest running of the whole course. Then from the base of Whernside there’s no let up as the climb steepens to the highest summit of the peaks standing at 2,374 feet. With Joe’s strength being his climbing it was no surprise to see his lead extended to almost four minutes as he hit this checkpoint in 1.42.06. Andrew and Rob had moved up to second and third respectively with Rob also showing his climbing prowess, moving up from seventh. With Karl taking a more leisurely climb he fell a little further behind in time, but moved up to eighth in 1.47.53, with Ian starting to fade. Tofol on his Three Peaks debut had also slipped to sixth. Oihana and Jasmin held their pace but were starting to pull clear of Claire and Helen who in turn had left the slowing Jill.

Some say the race starts from the top of Whernside and the descent to Hill Inn is Karl’s forte. His time of 16.05 for this section was by far the quickest of the day and maybe his tactics were paying off? We are now sixteen miles into the race and Joe was now just over four minutes clear, obviously he’s not just a fast climber! Rob Jebb had established second place now and had a 44 second lead over the resurgent Tofol but there were just 14 seconds separating Tofol and Karl, still in eighth, but with five runners now in his sights. By now Jasmin was only 24 seconds behind Oihana (2.2544) but as both ladies were first time Three Peaks racers who would be stronger was hard to call. Helen had moved clear in third in 2.30.14 with Jill 2.33.01closing in on Claire (2.32.01).

Another tough section of slightly uphill running is from Hill Inn to the base of Ingleborough. Then it’s the last climb of the day which is slightly gentler and lower, at 2,370 feet, than the Whernside climb. Again, showing his climbing is supreme, Joe hit the top of Ingleborough in 2.24.46 with a lead of over five minutes from Rob. Andrew now in third had started to close in on Rob moving away from the chasing pack with Carl over a minute behind in fourth. Karl had now moved up to fifth just twelve seconds further back but with over a minute in front of sixth placed Oli. Noticibly, Tofol, after his fast descending had slipped back to eighth, over twelve minutes behind the leader. Oihana, maybe sensing that Jasmin was closing in, accelerated increasing her lead to 50 seconds having reached the summit in 2.57.42. Helen was now in no-mans land nearly five minutes behind Jasmin but over six minutes clear of Claire and seven minutes clear of Jill.

All that remains now is a downhill dash of about four miles over the limestone pavements back to Horton. With first place almost guaranteed to Joe barring any terrible mistake the race was on for the remaining podium positions. With Carl and Karl being the best descenders they managed to overhaul the tiring Rob and Andrew to take second and third, with Carl edging out Karl by just six seconds in 2.59.44. Joe avoided any tragedies and was waiting with tea in hand having finished in 2.54.39 to take his second Three Peaks win and now needs one more to emulate his father Hugh. With the win in her sight, Oihana took a nasty tumble on the limestone allowing Jasmin to win the race in 3.33.04. Oihana managing to hold in to second in 3.36.29. Helen took third in 3.39.07 with Jill in fourth in 3.46.20. Claire struggled from Ingleborough and eventually finished in seventh after being overtaken by the fast finishing Helen Elmore of Dark Peak and Deborah Gowans of Accrington.

Team prizes were won by Dark Peak men and the very dominant Carnethy ladies.

Taking second men’s team with Karl were Alex Whittem, Andy Thorpe and Graeme Brown.

672 runners completed the course.

A lot of CVFR members completed the course for the first time and a big pat on the back to all of them but special praise to Kate Mansell who finished the course in agony after suffering an ITB injury coming off Whernside. Special praise also to Helen Buchan who compromised her own race to accompany Kate over the final stages of the course.

Next year is the 60th anniversary race and Karl is already targeting his maiden Three Peaks victory and there could be no more fitting result than a win for ‘Diamond Geezer’ Gray.