Nearly a path paved with gold for Silver Bullet in British Champs race

A barnstorming British championship fell race, held at Moelwyn near Blaenau Ffestiniog in north Wales saw Calder Valley’s men once again bag the team prize. Over the 10.5 mile 2799ft ascent mountainous course, it was no surprise that Calder’s silver bullet Ben Mounsey was again to the fore with another superb showing in 5th place.

However things could have been so much different had Ben been able to hold onto his lead after topping out after the first big climb in a stunning first place. But some poor route choices coming down and a lack of local knowledge cost him dear, hesitation proving costly among such a gilded field. It was Scottish ace, Findlay Wild who took advantage of Ben’s indecision to bag the win. Ben says, “I set off comfortably and worked my way the front and felt great. I started to push on the first climb and couldn’t believe it when I’d opened up a huge gap on the rest of the field. I kept the pace going all the way to the top of the first big climb and still had a good lead over Finlay Wild (winner) and Morgan Donnelly. Unfortunately I had no idea where the hell I was going off the top of the first climb and I started to lose chunks of time faffing over route choice.”

With several other of the top runners also struggling for their bearings (an occupational hazard of life at the head of the pack) Ben and a few others clubbed together to get themselves down the mountain, and then it was an every man for himself burst to the finish, a grandstand sprint ensued with a mere 80 seconds separating 2nd – 10th. Completing the placings for the victorious senior men were new signing and local Welsh maestro Math Roberts who came third, using local knowledge on these familiar hills, with the diminutive Tim Ellis in 7th. Gav Mulholland in 10th was the next team counter and in the form of his life took 3rd veteran 40 spot too. Darren Kay was the final counter for the seniors and with Mulholland, Shaun Godsman and Jason Williams they also took top spot for the vets.

First Calder lady home was Gayle Sugden, with captain Helen Buchan and Karon Foster not too far behind.

Ian runs further to take top “Hike” spot

Ian in action

Ian in action

Calder Valley’s Ian Symington followed up his fourth place in last month’s Haworth Hobble with a magnificent win at the 37 mile Calderdale Hike. The longest and toughest of local fell races has been run by the 24th St Paul’s Scout Group since 1979 and they offer fantastic hospitality and catering at an extremely well run event. The 37 mile “long” route is a particular favourite of that rare breed of masochist, the ultra-distance fell runner.

The race now features as the second event, after the Hobble, in the prestigious “Run Further” series. Runners have to find their own way between check points without the aid of flags. This year’s competitors faced a new route in addition to gale force winds, hale, and rain as they lined up at dawn, for the 7am start at Sowerby Cricket Club.As storm clouds gathered the 200 runners began a gruelling tour of Rishworth Moor, Windy Hill, Blackstone Edge and Turnslack Moor, before trekking along part of the Rossendale Way to Todmorden Moor, and onto Cornholme, Mount Cross and Lumbutts. They passed below Stoodley Pike to Erringden Grange, Mytholmroyd, Nab End Quarries, and back to the cricket club. Nothing was going to come between the reigning Run Further champion and his goal and Symington seized maximum series points  in a staggering 5 hours and 31 minutes. Valley’s Mark O’Connor had a storming run in this longer distance with a great third place whilst Calders Linda Murgatroyd and Tod’s Elise Milnes were joint third women.

photo courtesy of Rochdale Harriers

Calder Valley FR had three runners in the top nine at the Wardle Skyline race organised by Rochdale Harriers. The race over moorland terrain from Wardle, north of Rochdale, attracted 186 runners. Pudsey and Bramley’s Neal Crampton won in 48:10. Jon Smith was first Valley runner in sixth in 51:29. Steve Smithies was eighth in 51:39 with Iain Glendenning next 16 seconds behind in an event which was part of the Calder Valley club championship. Jo Buckley was second senior woman in 37th in 55:29.

Other CV results: 20, Mark Wharton 53:44; 21, Ben Frenchette 53:47; 30, John Killerby 54:55; 37, 48, Jake Ackroyd 56:36; 58, Richard Ingram 57:00; 73, Mike Dean 58:30; 84, Daren Sargent 60:07; 87, Tim Brooks 61:06; 100, Andrew Wright 62:25; 104, Andy Thorpe 62:37; 108, Helen Buchan 63:17;  112, Dave Culpan 63:42; 114, Graham Lloyd 63:56;  115, Mike Wardle 64:02; 121, Toby Sydes 64:47; 124, Craig Hall 65:10; 133, Rachael Crossland 65:48; 135, Brian Horsley 65:56; 142, Andrew Meek 66:51; 145, Gillian Wisbey 67:07; 147, John Nynn 67:12; 157, Helen Lambert 70:14; 164, Andrew O’Donnell 71:52; 170, Rod Sutcliffe 73:33; 173, Carolyn Shimwell 73:36; 175, Graham Davy 74:04.

Ellis seals county title after spellbinding run

Alex Aces at Liver Hill

The fell running season is well underway, and with the clocks going forwards the mid-week evening races have started.  The first one is The Pete Hartley Memorial Race which was held at Liver Hill on Tuesday 31st March.  Pete Hartley was a mountaineer, climber, navigator and successful fell runner, who died of cancer at the end of last year. Some of his achievements were winning the Haworth Hobble, Fellsman, High Peak Marathon and the Karrimor Mountain Marathon.  More recently he became well known for his photographs of fell and mountain runners around the world.

Alex Whittem was Calder Valley’s only representative, but despite the terrible weather, he needed no team support to win the 4.3 mile race by over a minute in 34 minutes and 13 seconds. Pete Hartley’s partner Denise started the race and presented the prizes.

Ellis crowned Lancashire Champion at Pendle

Ben working working hard climbing Pendle.

Ben working working hard climbing Pendle.

Ben Mounsey finished second and Tim Ellis’s fourth place earned him the Lancashire title in Saturday’s Pendle Fell Race. The 4 mile contest took place from Barley in more benign conditions. In a close fought race Calder’s top man Ben Mounsey was narrowly beaten by the current English Fell Running Champion, Tom Addison of the Lakeland Club Helm Hill.

Mounsey and Addison were neck and neck on the first climb but Mounsey lost a bit of ground recovering at the top and was punished for it. Despite closing in on the long track towards the finish, Ben couldn’t reel Addison in, the race had been won on the steep climb to the Big End Trig point.

Tim on his way to Red Rose Crown.

Tim on his way to Red Rose Crown.

Ellis was the first Lancastrian back to win the Red Rose Title. Sally Newman, running well to take 4th lady overall and 1st LV 50, Katie Walshaw of Holmfirth Harriers was first woman.

Calder Valley Results (291 runners)

1 Tom Addison (Helm Hill Runners) 32.40
2 Ben Mounsey 33.14
4 Tim Ellis 34.33
73 Sally Newman 43.28
91 John Killerby 44.41
181 Craig Hall 51.04


Sally being chased hard by John.