The 2014 British Fell and Hill Relay Championship took place on the seldom visited Middleton Fells between the Dales and the Howgills.
The area provided great, fast, grassy running, but with gale force winds, and long stretches of unmarked route, the seven Calder Valley teams needed all their accumulated race strategy acumen and mountain craft. More than 1200 runners gathered for this blue ribbon event, 200 teams of six battling it out with the best of British fell running. Calder Valley’s tactic was to capitalise on the club’s wealth of mature talent to enter the veteran category with team of seasoned race winners. Shaun Godsman, Karl Gray, Darren Kay, James Logue, Richard Pattinson, and Gavin Mullholland certainly stepped up to the mark, providing a dazzling combination of experience and speed.
Calder Valley were third behind Dark Peak and the legendary Borrowdale club after three of the four legs but Gavin Mulholland took the baton on the final leg to push the team into first among the veterans and second overall. It was the first time Calder Valley had made it into the top three and perhaps the first time an over 40s team had come second overall in the event. It is also believed to be the first time they have beaten their friends and great rivals Borrowdale at the British Relays.
Needless to say, vigorous celebrations ensued at a post-race party organised by host clubs Howgill Harriers and Dallam Running Club. Calder Valley other six teams were a second veterans over 40 side, two ladies teams, two teams in the open section and an over 50 team.
The open A team finished 15th aided by a fine run from Max Wharton, who had the seventh fastest time on the final leg.
Valley came seventh among the women’s teams in 90th position. They had two under 18s running the first leg and Molly Traviss nearly got blown off her feet. Gayle Sugden and Sally Newman had a storming run and posted the second fastest time on leg two, only three seconds slower than that clocked by the pair from the winning Ambleside team.
Other Calder Valley positions: 15: Calder Valley A 4.08.20 (Jason Williams, Ben Mounsey, Alex Whittem, Tim Ellis, Johnny Helliwell, Max Wharton); 67: Calder Valley Vets 40B 4.46.40 (Mark Goldie, Gary Hodgkinson, John Minta, Simon Bourne, Mark Wharton, Steve Smithies). 75: Calder Valley B 4.49.54 (John Lloyd, Richard Sunderland, Ben Frechette, Ian Glendenning, Ian Powell, Mark O’Connor); 90: Calder Valley Ladies A 4.56.47 (Issy Wharton, Gayle Sugden, Sally Newman, Jo Buckley, Lindsey Oldfield, Helen Buchan).130: Calder Valley Vets 50 5.26.06 (Dave Culpan, Mike Wardle, Rod Sutcliffe, Gary Travis, Phil Scarf, Tony Steward); 138: Calder Valley Ladies B 5.32.01 (Molly Traviss, Barbara Lonsdale, Trudi Entwistle, Jackie Scarf, Karon Foster, Sharon Godsman).