Joe is UK King of The Mountains

Joe with fell legend Joss Naylor

Joe with fell legend Joss Naylor

It was a quiet weekend’s fell racing for Calder Valley’s thriving membership, although it did still bring a national trophy to one of the club’s newish recruits: Joe Washington, a physiotherapist based in Ripponden goes about his profession in a quiet, but confident and determined manner and he has brought those attributes to his burgeoning fell running career with the national King of the Mountains trophy. The trophy is awarded for the highest placed aggregate position in the three countries of Great Britain’s highest mountain races: Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike. 
With ‘The Ben’ and Snowdon attracting international mountain runners, Joe’s 33rd placing in Scotland, 31st in Wales and a very fine second placed position in England’s Scafell Pike race on Saturday earned Washington the coveted trophy. Lindsay Brindle from Horwich has had a fine year on the fells and she collected the equivalent trophy for the women.
Joe, a former footballer of some pedigree, was beaten by a resurgent George Crayston. The Cumbria farmer was one of fell running’s brightest talents ten years ago, but he sacrificed his fell running talent for rugby league, playing for Egremont.  Crayston, is an unusual sight in fell running because unlike most of his skeletal rivals, he’s all beef and brawn from his rugby days, but this doesn’t seem to hold him back, even on the climbs. Joe received his second place prize with a warm handshake from another farming and fell running legend, iron man Joss Naylor.

Sally N

photo courtesy of

If Sally Newman continues for a few more decades she’ll no doubt be referred to in the same hallowed terms as Joss himself. The indefatigable Newman won yet another race outright taking first women’s place at Lantern Pike. Not bad for a V50.  For the men Simon Bailey outkicked Rob Little and Lloyd Taggart to take the win.  Brian Horsley and Trevor Murgatroyd also ran for Calder Valley in this short peak district race.

Mounsey’s Magical Marathon and more

Mounsey if full flight descending at Hodder

Mounsey in full flight descending at Hodder

Yet another busy weekend of fell running involved two key events, namely the final English Championship counter of the season at Hodder Valley near Clitheroe, and the very popular Yorkshireman Off Road marathon out of Howarth.

Both attracted large fields, with the Hodder race being particularly blessed with elite runners as the cream of UK fell running lined up to do battle. Yet again, Karl Gray, for whom superlatives run short, put in a splendid run, finishing 7th overall, one place behind his main rival for the Vets 40 title, Bingley’s Ian Holmes, perhaps the finest fell runner of recent times. No shame them for Karl to agonisingly miss out on a medal by ten seconds. Gav Mulholland & Ben Mounsey, Calder’s Teaching Chuckle Brothers were 9th & 10th, star signing and looking like a barber’s shop pole in his matching red and white gear was Darren Kay in an impressive 12th, and super Dave Culpan ran superbly to hold off a clutch of Clayton and Bowland runners lower down the field. “Confirmation just in yesterday that the lads have won a open team bronze”.

The aforementioned Ben Mounsey was right back on it the day after with a blistering run to win the Yorkshireman half marathon. He romped home over six minutes ahead of his nearest rival and broke his own record in the process, and demonstrated that dedication, mileage and hard work is the way to the top. Roy Castle would have been proud.

In the ladies’ race, the bolt of lightning that is Gayle Sugden made light work of the moorland route with a brilliant sub 2 hour time and 12th overall. Gayle has been in prime form of late and this crowned some excellent performances in the second half of this year, plus it gives her full bragging rights in the Sugden household over husband Darren who finished 55th.

Just behind was leading Stravarian, Michael Dean, who is another exemplar of mileage and hard work, his 65th place and excellent 2:16 time further reward for his punishing schedule of late.

Lower down the field, the Three Amigos Graham Davy, Carolyn Shimwell and debutant Liz Lloyd can be delighted with their respective runs, with Liz in particular taking great credit from her sub-three hour time, scraping in under that marker by three seconds.

Richard P and team mate

Richard looking happy in Yorkshireman Marathon

In the full marathon event itself, King of the Kilometres, Kevin Hoult carded a superb 7th place in the solo category. A marathon is a mere soupcon for Kevin, who is part human, part machine and part dynamo, his Krypton Core rarely needing recharging. Recent signing Richard “Postie” Pattinson, another man who like the miles, ran a superb race with his partner as they took the honours as first pair home over the finishing line.

Overseas, and Heptonstall’s young star Max Wharton was part of the Under 20s GB team who took Bronze in World Mountain Running Championships in Italy. Max ran a good race himself, coming in 28th overall but you know you’re in a strong field when there’s some Kenyans in there, and it was Phillip Kipyeko who took gold. Max can take great heart from his season so far as he continues to make excellent progress.

It’s all happening up north

Loving known as “The Ben” and described as the oldest, toughest, most iconic race & a supreme “test” of fitness Britain’s highest mountain lures runners from all over the country on the first weekend of September. With the “scirle” of the pipes resounding in the misty Scottish air the runners set off round Town Park, along a mile of “flattish” road then its up for 4400 feet and almost 4 miles to the summit of the mountain. The runners retrace their steps down the steep rocky descent. With very tired legs that “flattish” road mile doesn’t seem very flat anymore. It’s a welcome site to all to re-enter the park and see that finish funnel.  Seven Calder Valley members travelled across the border and passed “the test”. Some people will do anything for a free drink of whisky!! On his debut “Ben” Joe Washington ran very well to place 33rd in a time of 1hr 51 mins. He was followed five minute later by veteran Steve Smithies who is finding some form after a steady come back from knee surgery. Mark O’Connor just sneaked in the top third of the field in a time of 2hr 10mins followed by his team mates Ben Frechette (2hr 18mins), Dave Hammond (2hr 34mins), Trevor Murgatroyd (2hr 51mins) and Dave Culpan (2hr 52mins). CVFR hope to put this iconic race in their club championships next year … watch our Fort Bill “The Where’s Walley” are invading!!!!

Sally climbing strongly at Shelf Moor

With her recent permanent move up north Sally Newman has wasted no time in getting on those fells racing most weekends. In her recent outing to Shelf Moor near Glossop the veteran super star placed a great second only 3 minutes adrift of international mountain runner Sarah Turnstall of Kendal AC. Jon Smith also ran very well indeed to place 10th overall in a time of 50 mins 24 sec less than 5 minutes adrift of the winner Mike Fanning of Borrowdale Fell Runners. Karon Foster, Michael Dean and Andy Thorpe were the only other CVFR racing that day and they placed 49th, 55th and 75th respectively.

Helen romping through the heather

Helen romping through the heather

On the same day club captain Helen Buchan and young fell star Joe Crossfield took on the Totley Exterminator. This race is approximately 26k but with your own route choice this can be slightly longer or shorter. Joe was in the leading group but lost sight of the first runner in the man eating 7 foot ferns and unfortunatey went left when he should have taken a right turn. He had to regain a lot of height that he lost but ran well over the longer distance to take 7th place in 2hrs 27mins. Helen was on for a win on this one of her favourite races but with local knowledge runners from Totley taking a different faster line to her she eventually finished in 3rd place in a time just over 3 hours but less than 2 minutes behind the 1st lady home.

Bronze Mudle for Gray, Gala Galore & Pendle win for Pattinson

Karl working hard for his 5th place and bronze medal

Karl working hard for his 5th place and bronze medal

The final medium counting race in the 2014 British Fellrunning Championships took place at the Maesgwm Mudddle on Saturday and Pudsey and Bramley’s Rob Hope and Bingley Harrier’s Victoria Wilkinson confirmed their champion status in the most emphatic way possible with both of them winning this testing race in Wales.  Calder Valley’s Karl Gray took fifth place at the Muddle and he continues to perplex his clubmates with his age defying performances as he picked up another V40 medal in the overall series. The silver medal was tantalisingly within reach at the start of the race for Gray, but Morgan Donnelly of Borrowdale grinned all the way to the finish line as he came second in the race to close out on second place in the series.  Usual suspect Simon Bailey of Mercia flexed his considerable quadriceps to finish in third place on the day.  In the Women’s race, Carnethy’s Jasmin Paris finished the race and the championship strongly and nearly local lady Helen Berry of Holmfirth capped off a wonderful season with second and third places respectively.

There was a notable run from Calders’s man of mischief Gavin Mulholland who just managed to squeeze into the top ten. Mulholland is one of fell running’s fastest climbers and the brutal 2,200 feet that made up the first climb put the elf-framed Calder man into one of the leading positions, from which he gave no quarter. There were some fine performances throughout the field from Calder Valley: Three men who made their ‘mark’ were Mark Goldie, Mark O’Connor and Mark Wharton and for the women Captain Fantastic Helen Buchan and her clubmate Karon Forster also had fine runs.

Gayle cruising to take 1st place.

Gayle cruising to take 1st place.

At the Blackshaw Head Fell Race Calder Valley were out in force and they took bragging rights over their neighbours down the valley, Todmorden Harriers. Calder held the first three men’s positions with Alex Whittem just overtaking Max Wharton on the climb back into the Fete show field to successfully defend last year’s title. Joe Crossfield eased into the finish field, just glancing over his shoulder to make sure he’d outkicked Tod’s Nick Barber to make the final podium place. There were also top ten finishes for Calder Valley’s Adam Breaks, Ian Symington and James Williams. In the V60 category Calder’s Brian Horsley was just beaten by Harry Atkinson of Bingley, by less than the length of the Fete’s tug of war rope.

In the blustery conditions the resurgent force that is Gayle Sugden blew away the rest of the field in the Women’s race, but it’s been a tremendous first season for second placed Lindsay Oldfield running for the mighty rams. Unattached Molly Heitz was the only podium placed runner outwith the Calder club.

Richard on his way to victory with Joe running well for 3rd

Richard on his way to victory with Joe running well for 3rd

One of Calder Valley’s members, John Lloyd, has recently taken the bold step of organising races as a full time job and a healthy number of runners turned out at the inaugural running of his Pendle Three Peaks Fell Race.  The route is a clockwise jaunt around three of the biggest hills in the area, including Pendle Hill of course, and it features fast Pennine running over nine miles, with nearly 3000 feet of rise and fall.

The area is famous for witches whose favoured mode of transport is the broomstick, and it was Pudsey Postman (A recent Calder signing!!!) Richard Pattinson who swept to victory holding off Chris Holdsworth from Clayton le Moors. Calder’s Joe Washington was the sole Calder representative and he was once again in fine fettle with another podium finish in third place. The evergreen Lynne Clough of Chorley was the first woman.