No time for “reversing” as Black and Lonsdale take record wins at Crow Hill


Tim passing Churn Milk Joan standing stone on his way to victory. Photo courtesy of Woodheads

The Crow Hill race has been run in reverse i.e. steep start and down through Mytholmroyd’s Redacre Wood, rather than up through the woods since 2011 when the race was took on by Ali Mills. Ali wanted to organise something to raise money for Ovarian Cancer and jumped at the chance when the race became available. Ali’s physiotherapy practice cover all the costs of the race with the entire proceeds going to the charity, Ovarian Cancer Action.

The evening of the race was warm and sunny and a record number of runners, 123, gathered on the canal bridge. A fast start is required for those wanting to avoid the inevitable bottleneck that happens at the kissing gate after only a hundred yards of very steep running. As the gun sounded, first round the corner and off like a bolt towards the gate was Spanish runner, David Bodin. David’s lack of local knowledge can be excused as he took a wrong turn just before the gate and headed into a forest of shoulder height ferns, but why all the leading locals decided to follow him is not. The route was even marked with high visibility tape! At this point Dave Collins of Todmorden, took the right route and found himself unexpectedly leading the race. As the course continued up a steep field the leaders made up the lost ground with some entering the field via the ferns and some re-tracing their steps back to the gate.

With an extra prize for the first man and woman to reach the trig point at the top of Crow Hill it was Tim Black of Hebden Bridge and running for Calder Valley that arrived first. David Bodin, in his introduction to English fell running, had unwittingly set off way to fast and had paid the price as he saw four runners now in front of him. In the ladies race Lindsey Brindle of Horwich was just seconds in front of Haworth’s ‘Iron Lady’, Barbara Lonsdale also running for Calder Valley. Barbara was quicker on the descent though and claimed a reputable ‘scalp’ by beating Lindsey into first place by a fairly comfy 17 seconds.

Tim had it even comfier in the men’s race winning by almost a minute from club mate Joe Washington. With first and second in the bag it was left to Chris Standish and Robert Paradise to battle it out for the final team member prize. Robert just made it by a mere 5 seconds. Todmorden Harriers won the ladies team prize and over a fifth of the racers (26) were Calder Valley members.

Post race presentation was held in Mytholmroyd Community Centre where beer, coffee and pizza was welcomed by the racers. Much to the delight of race organiser, Ali, £700 was raised for Ovarian Cancer Action.

Shaun takes control of BOFRA championship


photo courtesy of Woodheads

Calder Valley’s Shaun Godsman looks set to win the 2013 British Open Fell Runners Association (BOFRA) Championship after seizing another fine victory at Farleton Knott on Sunday.

The 4.5 mile Lakeland event is another old-fashioned short, fast race, and is the 9th of 15 runs that make up British Open Fell Runners Association (BOFRA) Championship. Setting out from the village of Farleton, just south of Kendal, the 129 runners climbed steadily around Farleton fell to reach its grassy summit, before embarking on a breath-taking, kamikaze descent down the ridiculously steep, loose scree at Holmepark Fell. Once safely at the bottom, there was no respite before a long hands-on-knees climb back up to the summit. The race finishes with a fantastic, fast finale, first down a series of steep, mountain slopes, then through bracken, to the welcoming crowds on the finish fields.

In a close finish the Calder Valley runner took 1st place in 35 minutes and 59 seconds, 21 seconds ahead of Ian Nixon of Pudsey and Bramley. Ted Mason of Wharfedale was 3rd home in 35.39. Club mate Rob Paradise continued his rise through the ranks to turn in an impressive 22nd place (43.48) in a top quality field. Shaun may need to look over his shoulder if Paradise keeps chasing down rivals at this rate.

Together with his performances at Kettelwell (2nd) , Helm Hill (1st), Kirby (1st) Cracoe (2nd), Ambleside (1st) maximum points at Farleton have left Godsman well placed to win the overall BOFRA Championship. He is currently in 11th position having entered fewer races than some competitors, however, championship competitors are judged on their best 8 results in the 15 BOFRA summer classics. Godsman must now pick 2 of the remaining “counters” from the likes of Arncliffe Gala, and the historic Burnsall Race. If Godsman continues to ignite his Farleton form the Todmorden Fireman is surely the hottest prospect for BOFRA Championship gold.

Calder Valley’s Elite compete on International Stage in Poland

photoKARL GRAY was England’s highest placed runner as he finished in 11th in 3 hours 25 mins, Whilst Calder Valley’s Helen Fines, and Jo Buckley finished 6th (2.47.31) and 16th (3.04.44) respectively. Fines secured a Bronze medal together with Anna Lupton and Holly Rush. England were narrowly beaten to silver by their Scottish rivals.

The World Mountain Running Association WMRA, Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge has been held every year since 2004 when Sierre-Zinal, in the Switz Alps, hosted the event. Since then, the event has showcased races with international prestige to include Switzerland’s Jungfrau Marathon which twice hosted the event, the first in 2007 and a return last year. There have also been two visits to Pikes Peak in Colorado.

Calder Valley’s star trio joined the cream England’s fell runners, as the world’s best mountain runners gathered in Szalarska,Poland, to compete for the WMRA international honours. Located in western Poland, Szalarska is surrounded by chain of impressive mountains, including the 1362-meter high Mt. Szrenica. The 27 mile WMARA route climbs 6500 feet across the Karkonosze Mountain ridge, through rocky and technical terrain, very different to the muddy fells of the Lakes and Dales. Throw in the heat, altitude, and a host of nations used to competing in hot climates, and alpine ridges, and you have some idea what our gallant England teams were up against.

Karl Gray’s debut England performance was not enough to help England’s men to medals as Slovenia’s Mitjia Kosovelj dominated the 10th edition of the WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship. Italy took the team titles in both the men’s and women’s races, with Italy’s Antonella Confortola winning the women’s race.

Calder Valley Fell Runners can be proud of Karl Gray’s top position for England and the International success of their women. The club can boast a host of athletes with the ability to compete at the very highest level. This was Helen Fines’ 2nd long distance championships – she was 3rd in 2011 as well as being part of the gold medal winning team. Helen has also represented England at the Snowdon mountain race finishing 2nd and was also on the winning team there. Jo Buckley won the England trial at the Wharfedale Off Road Marathon with a very impressive run to also break the course record. She was 21st at last year’s World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in Switzerland and has also run for England at the 2011 Snowdon International Mountain Race.

Calderdale probably has no other sport in which it can claim athletes that can achieve such consistent national and international success, transcending the local and regional sports scene. The only surprise is that relatively few local people understand that we have such excellence in our midst. With two of the largest fell running clubs in country and the highest number of hill running events anywherei n the world, we all have something to be proud of.


All smiles after 100 Lakeland miles!!!!!

all togetherA brave contingent of Calder Valley endurance fanatics deserved huge respect for their herculean achievements at last weekend’s Lakeland 100. This relatively new event is a spectacular long distance race, encompassing the whole of the lakeland fells, including 20,000 feet of ascent. The route starts in Coniston taking in the Dunnerdale fells, Eskdale, Wasdale and Buttermere before arriving in Keswick. From here the route heads to Matterdale and continues over to Haweswater before returning via Kentmere, Ambleside and Elterwater to the finish at Coniston.

The Lakeland 100 is an epic undertaking at any time, but given the sweltering heat competitors were dropping like flies having run through night with no sleep, and only the prospect of 100 miles of endless climbs and descents to look forward to. Not surprisingly, less than half of the original 274 entry eventually completed the race.

Calder Valley’s hero’s were Kevin Hoult, Martin Huddleston, who completed the 100 miles in 28 hours and 20 min, in 27th and 28th place.Simon Fisher retired after fantastic attempt having covered 65 miles in 26 hours.