Flying Scotsman Symington takes second place

DSC_5408Calder Valleys Flying Scotsman Ian Symington showed his ultra distance credentials in the local Runfurther event the “Longer” Calderdale Hike placing a fine second behind the experienced Kim Collinson of Borrowdale Fell Runner on Saturday. In a time of 5 hours and 28 minutes Symington was only 4 minutes adrift of Collinson. The Hike, organised by St Pauls Scouts in Sowerby Bridge, traverses in its 37 miles some of the stunning local tourist attractions in the Calder Valley heading up to Stoodley Pike, Great Rock, Widdop Reservoir returning via Jerusalem Farm before it finally stops where it started at Sowerby Bridge Cricket Club. In what was a chilly, windy day team mates Simon Bourne in 4th and Chris Mawdsley 5th its all looking good for a top team placing in the Lakeland 100 Ultra ‘Tour of the Lake District’ event in July. In what is classed as the shorter Calderdale Hike of ONLY 27 miles Calder’s Kevin Hoult took the win in a record time of 3 hours 48 minutes … a marathon around the Calderdale hills and bogs in that time now that is some going. He beat his team mate Ben Frechette for the win as Ben is battling back to fitness after a lay off with an ankle injury. It was the turn of the club runners on Sunday, who were chasing championship points, to do battle at Boulsworth Bog near Wycoller. The 8 mile route, a mixture of good track, woods and as the name suggests bog, ascents to the hill of Bouslworth before descending steeply on the moor to pick up the return route for a short way before a welcome detour to the woods on the way to the finish line. Calder’s new recruit Karon Forster had a great run to secure 1st women in 1 hour 8 minutes with team mate Jackie Scarf pushing her all the way and only less than 30 seconds adrift. Savile Parks Andy Thorpe made his first appearance in the club championships and took maximum points in a fine 4th place time of 55 minutes and 3 seconds. The winner Nick Charlesworth (52 mins 30 seconds) from the host club Wharfedale Harriers also led his team mates to secure the top team prize.

Short, Long and Adventure … we had it all!!!

3 do battle at Pendle - courtesy of Racing Snakes

3 do battle at Pendle – courtesy of Racing Snakes

If Sky Sports choose one day to cover fell running, even their marketing department’s famous hyperbole would have been stretched to the limit this weekend. Not only did we have a Super Saturday but also a Super Sunday with a host of top level events taking place.

Pick of the bunch was the English Fell Running Championship showdown at Pendle Hill near Burnley on Saturday. The 4.5m/1499ft race is a swift affair but does include a couple of vertiginous climbs up Lancashire’s famous hill. With an entry list reading like the Harlem Globe Trotters of fell running, knowledgeable observers reckoned the field was the strongest they’d seen, with some seriously able runners descending on the quaint village of Barley.

Calder sent over a boat load of runners and in the men’s race, it was Tim Ellis who showed strongest with an excellent 9th place. Brighouse maestro Karl Gray came in 13th after an intense duel with club mates Gav Mulholland and Alex Whittem, both proven winners on the circuit. Tom Addison of Helm Hill won the men’s race in a fantastic time of 32:55.

Performance of the day however was saved for the ladies race, run separately to the mens’, where Heptonstall’s Holly Page smoked round in 40:40 to claim a stunning second place, beating a host of other luminaries, and being beaten only by England runner Victoria Wilkinson. Sally Newman again made a mockery of many younger athletes by blazing round in 14th place and must be a favourite to win the V50 title this year. Third Calder lady home was Gayle Sugden in 25th to cement Calder’s second place overall in the ladies trophy.

For those of you who like your fell races longer, in fact much, much longer, and with a bit of climb thrown in too, then the Lakeland 42 challenge should do you. The 42 denotes the mileage and this brutal event, held out of Askham was chance for Calder’s Ian Symington to showcase his enduring skill once more with a very impressive 2nd place in 8hrs 56mins. Also worthy of equal mention is Bill Johnson’s brilliant 10th place. Steady drizzle and low mist made conditions extra tough and navigation tricky.

10247405_10154017877055503_894648707_nIn the Haglofs Open 5 Adventure Series, the latest event out of Coniston saw Barbara Lonsdale and James Williams claim victory in the mixed pairs event, further demonstrating how hard they are to beat at this level. In the same event Cragg Vale pairing Phil & Jackie Scarf claimed yet more silverware with a resolute 3rd place, and it is rare these days that either of these pairs return empty handed.

Back to the fells – 6th May

imageTime to get off the sofa and get back to the fells! 

We all lose fitness over the winter when the cold, dark nights put us off. So this year we’re holding a six week ‘Back to the Fells’ group for CVFR members who’ve slacked off or been injured over the winter or for anyone who would like to try fell running.

Guaranteed group run for slower runners. Suitable for those who came to the Have a Go group last year.

Bring your sofa-loving mates, all welcome.

6:45pm – Mytholmroyd Community Centre

first week: Tuesday 6th May (you can come before then obviously!) If you want anymore information email me Charlotte Wetton: oxygenplease@hotmail.com

Hurrying Jo and Leaping Sally take excellent wins

left photo courtesy of woodheads.

left photo courtesy of woodheads.

23 Calder Valley Runners were amongst a big field of 210 runners gathering on Heptonstall’s cobbles to take on 15 miles and 3200 feet of ascent over the hills and valleys of Colden Clough, Heptonstall Moor, Hebden Dale, Greave Height, Hardcastle Crags, and Crimsworth Dean.

Now in its 4th year, the race began with runners receiving their traditional start-line blessing from the Rev Howard Pask in what has become a memorable feature of this community organised event.

The race’s growing reputation encouraged an influx of potential race winners from clubs of the calibre of Dark Peak, Pudsey & Bramley,and Borrowdale, joined by a formidable force of men from the much vaunted Horwich RMI running club, intent on stealing the day for Lancashire.

Faced by this classy field of top runners, Valley’s Greame Brown was the only local representative to make the top 10. Heptonstall-based Brown finished ninth behind runaway winner Adam Osborne from Leeds City AC. Osbourne beat-off the Horwich men to take home the Heptonstall trophy for the second year running.

Osborne led all the way to win in a new course record of 1:54:10, whilst thwarting the Horwich duo of Joe Mercer (2.00.27) , and Chris Farrell (2.00.55). The Horwich pair had been hot on Osbourne’s heels until the half-way point, but, as Osbourne pulled away in the last 5 miles, his pursuers lost sight of the leader, as well as the route-flags. Lacking local knowledge, Mercer and Farrel took a wrong turning in Crimsworth Dean, scuppering any hopes of catching the reigning Heptonstall champion. The Horwich men had to be content with the team prize, secured by clubmate David Jackson finishing in 7th place.

Calder Valley managed one more place in the top 20, with a strong run from Kevin Hoult in 16th place (2:15:03) whilst Ben Crowther (2:20:03) shone for Todmorden Harriers in 23rd place.

The event was organised by runners from Calder Valley and Todmorden Harriers, based in and around Heptonstall, with tremendous support from village residents. Heptonstall Hurriers, as they are otherwise known, came up with the idea of the race as means to showcase the village, support local businesses, and raise funds for local causes.

The event has gone from strength to strength, whilst helping to create a greater sense of community spirit in the village; seventy volunteers helped to marshal, provided free refreshments, and organised parking, while the Cross Inn took over as race HQ to provide registration facilities as well as a keg of ale and bottled beer as prizes. The event raised more than £1000 for St Thomas’s Church, Mytholmroyd Scouts, and Calder Valley Search and Rescue.

With the first English championship race the following weekend Sundays Lads Leap race near Crowden was used as a race sharpener by CVFR ace super vet Sally Newman who came out as the clear ladies winner. This was the first of the Derbyshire Fell championships and with Newman being Derbyshire resident will have got herself some excellent points. All bodes well for Sally for the English championships with the first race being at Pendle Hill next Saturday.