The 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