The 30th running of Halifax Harrier’s excellent Calderdale Way Relay took place on Sunday and perfectly inclement May weather greeted the ninety teams that had travelled far and wide to compete.
The race covers the whole of the 50 miles of the Calderdale Way in six separate legs, starting from Heath RUFC at Greetland and taking in all the world famous delights the Calder valley has to offer. As such, it was fitting that local fell club Calder Valley fell runners supplied six teams of runners (72 club runners in all!!!), with the men’s A team sweeping all before them with a brilliant overall win in 5:57:12, a whopping eighteen minutes or so ahead of their closest rivals from Wharfedale.
The tone for Calder Valley was set by last year’s captain Ben Mounsey and partner Gav Mulholland. After a slight delay while the field waited for Gav to extricate himself from a nearby bush, Ben blasted out of the blocks like a scolded cat and tore off toward Norland Moor with Gav in close attendance. From there Calder A were never other than miles ahead, and with juniors Brad Traviss and Max Wharton, Calder’s young Coe & Ovett, dismantling leg 3 in an outrageous time of 34:12, it was left to the steady hand of Karl Gray and Tim Ellis to tame the exposed leg 4 which they did with their customary panache. John Lloyd/Andy Thorpe and Joe Crossfield/ Jonny Helliwell ensured no drama ensued and cruised back to Heath RUFC for a comfy win in one of the fastest times of recent years.
Calder B team, a collection of runners that wouldn’t disgrace most A teams, were similarly on fire as they came in 7th overall. Returning maverick Adam Breaks compared notes with Scottish international Ian Symington who got things off to a fine start on leg one, but one of the runs of the day came from Mytholmroyd duo Ben Frechette and Mark O’Connor who ran a herculean leg 4 to stave off the threat of Todmorden A aces John Wright and Andrew Wrench. This they did, just, and both collapsed over the line like shipwrecked mariners finding shore, with the Tod duo hard on their heel a few seconds behind.
Calder Valley Ladies were also in dominant form and came in a superb 43rd overall and 3rd ladies team. Captain Helen Buchan clearly had her Weetabix as her and young star Issy Wharton were a whisker off the course record for leg 3, returning a brilliant 46:57; Helen was enjoying herself so much that she had a quick brew and helped out and did leg 6 too, keeping Naomi Sharratt company for a sparkling 1:32:59. Captain fantastic indeed.
Well done to all who took part and a big thank you to Halifax Harriers and all the marshalls for such a splendid event.