GB Team Mountain Man Mounsey

Mountain Man Reaches New Heights to help British Team to world medals

The picturesque village of Betws-Y-Coed in North Wales was the setting for the 31st running of the World Mountain Running Championships.  32 countries took to the start line in the main event on Saturday afternoon with Calder Valley’s Ben Mounsey lining up for the club’s first ever Great Britain cap . The course involved 3 laps of the course covering a total of 13km with three steep climbs. The competition is really is the really is as good as gets in the world as fell running, as the then planet’s hardest, fittest, fastest, and most technically gifted, come together to fight it out on the international stage.

This was the 3rd time in the 31 year history of the competition that it had been held in the UK and the first time in Wales. The route for the senior men was 14km, run over 3 laps, from the centre of Betws-y-coed to Llyn Elsi lake with a total of 2700 feet of climbing. Snowdonia’s mountains basked in warm summer sunshine, perhaps allowing those used to running in Africa, America, and continental Europe to feel more at home. For once the GB guys must have been wishing for some classic clag to help their cause. The senior men had never won a team medal in the history of the competition and this was their best chance, with an extremely strong team with Scotland’s Robbie Simpson leading the charge backed up by Andy Douglas, Chris Smith, Tom Adams, Tom Addison and Valley’s very own Ben Mounsey.

The race started in almighty battle to win an early advantage, Mounsey had to work his way from the back, amidst elbowing and jostling as runners fought to get a good position near the front of the race. Ignoring the setback of picking up a cold the week before the race, Mounsey’s plan was to take the first lap steady, pace himself, and work his way through the field. Settling in to a good rhythm Ben was in the top 40 after lap 1,  before putting the hammer down in lap 2, to show a host of the world’s finest mountain runners a clean pair of Calder Valley heels. Mounsey’s devastating pace on this second ascent saw him climb to a dizzying 26th place by the time he reached Llyn Elsi lake. At this point he had managed to drop current English champion Tom Addison, and nudge in front of Tom Adams into 4th position for the British team. Despite this display of truly world class running, the strength of the field meant that there was no let up as the race entered its third and final lap.

At the front end of the race the Ugandans and Italians were battling out for 1st position with GB superstars Robbie Simpson, Andy Douglas and Chris Smith all in the top 10.  Mounsey was now working his socks off to try and help the team to medal, but sustaining the effort was a tough ask, and he admitted later to struggling through the last climb, tired and exhausted. Nevertheless Mounsey limited the damage, dropping only a few places at the top of the final climb, before getting the wind back in his sail’s to hold his position on the descent and traditional bullet-like sprint to the finish to take a fantastic 31st place,  proving his international credentials on the world stage on his debut performance. This is a remarkable achievement given the fact most competitors are professional sponsored athletes and can run a 10K in 27 minutes or less.

Ben Mounsey Team GB

Tom Adams was just 12 secs in front in 27th position and Tom Addison finished 42nd. At the head of the race the Ugandan Fred Musobo took the win for the 2nd year running ahead of Italian Bernard Dematteus. Remarkably GB’s Robbie Simpson (Salomon running pro) based in Germany had managed to hold onto 3rd place and claim the bronze medal ahead of Bernard’s brother Martin. GB’s Andy Douglas was 6th and Chris Smith 10th, which combined with mine and Tom’s result meant we beat USA to team bronze behind Uganda in 2nd and Italy in 1st. The medalling success didn’t stop there with the GB junior girls claiming silver, the junior boys claiming bronze and the GB women proving they are easily the best in the world by winning gold. Debutant Emmie Collinge won the silver medal with Salomon’s GB poster girl Emma Clayton taking the bronze. Sarah Tunstall took 4th place with Vic Wilkinson finishing in 15th. The GB medal haul meant that they were the most successful team in the entire competition and therefore the best in the world. This was a historic moment for team GB. The Betws-Y-Coed event saw them earn the title of the most successful GB mountain running team ever.

A delighted Mounsey said “It’s been an amazing weekend, truly the best experience of my life! Earning selection into the GB squad was a massive achievement and I really wanted to prove to everyone I was good enough to compete on the world stage. Nothing quite prepared me for the standard of competition, like nothing I’ve ever faced. It seriously makes the English Championship races seem pedestrian. I’ve trained extremely hard for the event, clocking 75 miles and over 10,000ft of climbing per week and I knew I would have to be in 100% form for a top 50 finish. Last week however I rested up ready for the big day and 2 days before the event I came down with a cold!!! I couldn’t believe it! I knew I’d have to dig deep in the race and just do my best, top 50 the aim.”

CVFR Joe Washington retained his King of the Mountains crown at the weekend.  He competed in all of Britain’s highest mountains with Snowdon in July, Ben Nevis in September and Scafell just this weekend gone. His cumulative placings for all three races made him the highest placed runner and the crown was his once more.

Joe Washington descending Ben to retain the 2015 KOM

Joe Washington Descending Ben to Retain the 2015 KOM

A beautiful day greeted the runners at the start line of the 13 miles Good Shepherd Fell Race. Oliver Barnes who runs unattached was out to defend his win from last year and this he duly did. The race heads up from a Dauber Bridge start to Stoodley Pike then all height gained is lost on the descent to Withens Clough Reservoir. The runners pay a visit to Cloven Stone before traversing their way around rough moor before crossing the Calderdale Way down to a checkpoint near Mankinholes on London Road. It was here that Barnes had the company of Stainlands Ed Hyland and the 2 runners had a commanding lead over the rest of the field. It became obvious that some of the front runners must have taken a longer route to this checkpoint as they approached it from a different longer path than the shorter obvious route hence losing them time including Sophie Horrocks who had been the lead female runner . Another hard climb back to revisit Stoodley Pike the ladies race became a close fought contest with Calder’s Lucy Collins reaching the Pike in 1st place. This lead was to change a few times on the return route via Cragg Road and Robin Hood Rocks with flags being missed and as the girls reached the finish Lucy sneaked to take the win with only 2 seconds to spare in a time of 2 hours * mins 55 seconds from Horrocks. A strong run home from Barnes saw him pull away from Hyland to win by 7 minutes with Stewart Gregory from Hulme Pierre taking the other podium spot. Calder’s Lindsey Oldfield getting back to some good form to take 3rd female on the day in a time of  2hours 14 mins 29 secs.

Lucy Collins Good Shepherd

Yorkshireman – All hail the (long race) King

Sunday saw the running of the popular ‘Yorkshireman’ off road marathon and half marathon, always a highlight of the running year and always well attended by Calder Valley members. The route which sets out from Howarth and loops around Ovenden Moor, Ogden Water, then back round through Oxenhope and to Howarth, is a picturesque and demanding assignment.

Long Race King Jake Ackroyd

In the full route, Calder Valley’s very own Dr. Kildare, John Smith, carded a fantastic run to finish 6th overall, and demonstrated he’s as dextrous with his feet as he is with his hands. After a fine season he is in with a very strong shout of being crowned club champion with one race to go.

Not far behind was Sport Billy himself, Iain Powell in 11th.

Jake Ackroyd, the Pudsey fireman, also too the chance to claim the club’s long race crown by virtue of his excellent 26th place and can look back on an impressive first full season.


One of the runs of the day came from Toby Sydes who continues to ratchet up the field, with a superb run in 41st place, closely followed by lady captain Helen Buchan and big John Minta. Slightly further back were distance guru Linda Murgatroyd, and Rachael Crossland, who continues to improve with every race.

The valley line up, Mike, Toby, Rachael, Gav and Nathan

The valley line up, Mike, Toby, Rachael, Gav and Nathan

Maximum points for Jon Smith








In the half marathon race, John Lloyd in a rare recent outing on the grass, was highest placed Calder in 11th. Perhaps the stand out run of the day though came from new signing Lucy Collins, who blazed round to finish in a brilliant 14th place, and I’m sure we’re going to be hearing plenty more of her in future race.

Further down the field, excellent runs came from Gill Dickson, Charlotte Wetton, Clare Clarke, Susan Bladon, Liz Norman and the evergreen Jane Frechette. A splendid event superbly staged by Keighley & Craven AC and thanks go to all who helped marshal and provide refreshments before and after.

Karl Gray … the V45 World Champion

Karl The World Champ

In a season full of achievement for Calder Valley fell runners, they can now boast a bona fide World Champion among their ranks. Brighouse’s Karl Gray, for many years the club’s leading light, claimed the crown last weekend at the World Mountain Running Championships in Betys –y Coed in Snowdonia.

Gray, widely regarded as one of the country’s leading all round fell runners, being expert over multiple distances, showed that even at the ripe old age of 46, he is still a runner of fabulous ability. This he demonstrated fully over the demanding six mile route.

Gray said “It feels amazing being a world champion. I’d had an eye on this race for most of the year and started to do shorter, intense training sessions through the summer to prepare me for the fast six mile course. I’m much more suited to races over 15 miles now and usually only start getting warmed up at the six mile mark.”

Pre-race, Karl’s ambition was to be among the medals, but was wary of the strong field and knew he had a job on his hands. “I felt great and led the field up the first climb,” he said.

“Near the top, and as the terrain started to level out, Salford Harriers’ former British and English international mountain runner, Martin Cox, took up the running and pushed the pace.  I noticed that we were away on our own at this point and I was on my limit following him. I hung in there and managed to open up a gap on the descent, and with the recent overnight rain making for a wet course, this suited my fell running style especially on the descents and tight twisty terrain. I managed to maintain this gap on the very tough second climb and opened it up a bit more on the descent into the finish, allowing me time to saver the moment during the last 100 metres to the line.”

Karl Gray WMRC

Karl, who has had to live with star team mate Ben Mounsey hogging the headlines of late, was understandably thrilled with his success. “This is without doubt the proudest achievement so far.”  Gray said it had been a great year so far for himself and Calder Valley Fell Runners.

“The club has won both the men’s English and British open and veteran 40 fell titles. The female v40 team has secured an English bronze and I’m the 2015 vet 45 joint English champion.  “The amazing team spirit has kept me focused and motivated all year.”

Quadruple Gold

CVFR 2015 British and English Champions

CVFR 2015 British and English Champions

Calder Valley Fell Runners Men’s team have just had their best ever season.  Not content with winning the British Fell Running Championship in the open and V40 categories, they have just won the English Championship in the same categories.

Having said that the final race held last Sunday, the Guisborough Three Tops, was not plain sailing.  Due to a last minute route change some of the front runners missed the fourth checkpoint at Hanging Stone and were disqualified.  They included Calder’s Math Roberts who was leading for much of the race.

However as the Calder team is so strong at present, Tim Ellis, Darren Kay and Karl Gray took 4th 5th and 6th place.  With James Logue in 18th they were comfortably the first team in the race and sealed gold medal in the Championship.

Champs James Logue, Jason Williams and Matthew Roberts

Champs James Logue, Jason Williams and Matthew Roberts

The race was 15km with 744 metres of climb from Guisborough to Roseberry Topping, the Matterhorn of Cleveland.  It goes to show how fierce the competition was as the first 8 runners were all within 44 seconds of each other.  The Race was won by Pete Vale of Mercia

Success for the women too as they look to have won bronze medal in the women’s English Championship, and Sally Newman has won the V50 women’s championship.

Next target, the British Relays in October.

Full Calder Results: 112 Sally Newman 90.49
4 Tim Ellis 71.57 125 Lindsey Oldfield 92.15
5 Darren Kay 72.00 152 Helen Buchan 98.10
6 Karl Gray 72.13 172 Jackie Scarf 102.08
18 James Logue 74.10 179 Brian Horsley 103.24
36 Jason Williams 77.22 228 Philip Jones 123.24
82 Gayle Sugden 85.49 96 Lucy Collins 87.26

Max takes the record at Blackshaw Head.

Max Wharton back on the fells setting records

Max Wharton back on the fells setting records

Closer to home Blackshaw Head fell race was held as part of the Blackshaw Head Fete on Saturday. A fast little 5 mile race through the upper reaches of Cloden Cough to Standing Stone Hill and following the Pennine Way back to the Fete Field.  First back was Calder’s Max Wharton in a shade over 36 minutes.  Despite recently concentrating on 800m track racing, he showed he is a force to be reckoned with on the fells by breaking Alex Whittam’s course record.

Other notable Calder Valley results were Molly Heitz, first woman V40 and Rachel Johnston first Woman V50.

1 36.10 Max Wharton 36 48.55 Molly Heitz
8 41.07 Iain Powell 38 49.23 Johnnie Watson
9 41.12 Tristan Sheard 40 49.37 Rachel Crossland
12 41.31 Mark Goldie 41 49.38 Paul Haigh
14 41.58 Mark O’Connor 43 49.51 Toby Sydes
19 43.43 Simon Bourne 48 52.22 Rachel Johnston
20 44.00 Mark Wharton 51 53.20 James Cooke
22 44.28 Phil Wells 53 53.53 Gillian Wisbey
23 44.37 Graham Hill 69 58.43 Gloria Ayuso
24 44.44 Ben Frechette 70 1.01.27 Harley Beecroft
26 45.17 Richard Ingram 73 1.03.08 Eileen McDonach
28 45.47 Mathew Murray 74 1.03.09 Elina Nhinda-Latvio
30 46.41 Mike Dean 80 1.07.04 Liz Gunn

Blackshaw Head Tristan SheardBlackshaw Head Rachael Johnston

Blackshaw Head Mike Dean



Blackshaw Head Gloria Ayuso