Hats off to the Shimmers for their hospitality and a “souper” run

Saturday morning saw members of the club meeting at Todmorden to do a recce of the first English Championship race Flowerscar. The weather was brilliant … All four seasons in the space of two hours! Jason drove in with sunshine, started the run in rain, got pinged by sleet at the top and drove home in more sunshine. Karl gave everyone a jaw dropping master class on how to descend … he was actually in a rush to get back to make sure he got some food just incase Shaun “Fatboy” Godsman had turned up just for the social side!!!! Everyone enjoyed soup and cake back at Carolyn and Lee Shimwells. “Great run in great company followed by fantastic food”.  The bars been set very high for the next soup run on 28th March. Details to follow from Jim Mosley.

“Bouncey” Mounsey takes the win with “Skippy” Mulholland a fine second

photos courtesy of Woodentops

photos courtesy of Woodentops

Saturday saw the second running of the Windy Hill Fell Race from Rakewood near Littleborough.  Calder Valley Fell Runners were out in force on this speedy nine mile leg burner. 

 
Well organised by Cannonball events and the enthusiastic John Lloyd, the race goes under the Rakewood viaduct, takes a fast level(ish) route to the bottom of the ‘Roman’ Road, a march up to the airy heights of the Blackstone Edge escarpment before crossing the M62 (by footbridge). There then follows a rapid undulating descent, past the Windy Hill Transmitter back to Rakewood.  All in all, a very runnable route.
 
In a large field of 215 runners, new course records were set by Calder’s Ben Mounsey in 54 mins and 22 seconds and by Heidi Dent of Howgill Harriers in 1:05:47.  Ben, as usual, led from the outset and vaulted the first cattle grid.  Second man back was Calder’s Gavin Mulholand who appeared to skip round the course.  With Jo Washington in 5th place Calder’s men easily took the men’s team prize.
 
Lindsay Oldfield was Calder’s first woman home followed by Rachel Johnston who was also first LV50.  However the closest Calder battle was between Nathan Kennaugh and Philip Beecroft with only six seconds separating them. 

Full Calder Valley results

1 Ben Mounsey 54:22 : 2 Gavin Mulholand 56:13 : 5 Jo Washington 1:00:36 :
11 Mark O’Connor 1:02:54 : 16 Steve Smithies1:05:27 : 43 Richard Sunderland 1:10:39 : 53 John Killerby 1:12:04 : 61 Jake Ackroyd 1:13:54 : 66 Mike Dean 1:14:27 :
72 John Minta 1:15:10 : 79 Lindsay Oldfield 1:15:35 : 116 Nathan Kennaugh 1:21:10 : 117 Philip Beecroft 1:21:16 : 124 Rachel Johnston 1:21:55 : 132 Dave Culpan 1:22:44 : 138 Toby Sydes 1:24:14 : 166 Helen Buchan 1:28:18 : 184 Trevor Murgatroyd 1:31:46 : 190 Craig Hall 1:34:09

Karl tames the “New” Beast in record fashion

One happy "Earl"Gray on his way to a great win

One happy “Earl”Gray on his way to a great win. www.woodentops.org.uk

It was all change at the Wadsworth Trog as Calder Valley’s Simon Fisher swapped his running vest for a hi viz bib and timer, to take over as the new race organiser of the club’s most prestigious event. In a baptism of fire, Fisher’s first challenge was to save the event from an untimely demise, having discovered that moorland conservation projects meant that the traditional route was no longer accessible in certain sensitive areas

Having studied the OS Maps for a myriad of alternative routes, Fisher worked with landowners and runners to agree a new route, protecting the event for the future years, whilst preserving the Trog’s reputation as the “Beast of the South Pennines”. 19 miles and 3600 feet of climbing across some of the areas bleakest and wildest hills awaited.

And so it was that 156 runners lined up once again at Old Town Cricket Club, before setting off onto the snow covered tussocks with the Calder Valley duo of Joe Crossfield and Karl Gray setting the pace across Midgely Moor, High Brown Knoll, Dean Head Dam and Cock Hill.

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Jackie Scarf (1st LV50) with Trog newbie Richard Sunderland. www.woodentops.org.uk

In unusually benign conditions the Trog then ascended the steep, and aptly named, Top of the Stairs, before descending further North onto a new section around Haworth Moor, to pick up the old route at the Bronte ruins of Top Withens, to a backdrop of blue skies and sunshine.

Cheered on by a coach party of American tourists, Gray began to edge out his youthful Calder Valley team mate and pulled ahead through Walshaw Dean, before the fatiguing climbs first over Wadsworth Moor, then Shackleton Knoll.

After the brief respite of the descent to Lumb Falls, Crossfield was still clinging on to 2nd place as this new section of route climbed relentlessly back to High Brown Knoll via Limers Gate, before the tricky business of navigating over to Sheepstones Edge on the way back to the Old Town finish line.

1st placed Gray extended his lead to end up 8 minutes ahead of his pursuers, finishing in 2.27.24, setting a high bar for the new-look Trog course. Gray’s name will also be permanently etched to the trophy as his 2008 record will never be beaten across the old route.

Top 3 with Karl looking vertically challenged beside these young guns!!! www.woodentops.org.uk

Top 3 with Karl looking vertically challenged beside these young guns!!! www.woodentops.org.uk

Crossfield can take some pride in an excellent 2nd place in 2.35, and at 20 years his junior, young Joe will surely hold out hope of turning the tables on vetran Gray at some point in the future.

In the battle for 3rd place Calder Valley’s James Logue (2.40.55) was pipped at the post by Ilkley Harrier’s Jack Wood (2.39.35), but still helped the Calder Men to secure the team prize. The women’s trophies went to more distant homes as Emma Bain of Northumberland Fell Runners dominated to finish first lady in 3.09.15, whilst Dark Peak Ladies took the women’s team prize. Calder ladies secured 2nd team with Helen Buchan, Jackie Scarf (1st FV50) and Rachel Johnson completing the team.