Lee Mill Relay
All smiles pre-Lee mill relay (storm)
Following the limited numbers of teams allowed to enter the recent British Fell Relays, Calder Valley Fell Runners were keen to look for a challenge where all members could take part. The Lee Mill Relays, held last Sunday in Rossendale, seemed to fit the bill. From an entry of 25 teams last year, 109 teams entered this year with 14 of them from Calder Valley. The race seems to be a good seasonal replacement for the Calderdale Relay which is now run in the summer. The route is a 6.2 mile loop around Britannia Quarry and up on to Rooley Moor, run once by each member of a four person team.
The teams were self chosen which provided some serious ‘in club’ competition. The Golden Oldies v the Youth Team (i.e. under 40!), a three way tie between the Shimmy Shakers, The Herbivores and The Gladiators; The Craggies (not sure if the name was because they are all over 50 or they all live in Cragg Vale), Red RO’s and the Taps; The Ladies v Generation X; Meet the New Flockers, The Deckchairs and The New Kids on the Flock.
From the left-Mark G, Gavin M, Richard S, Iain G, Lee S
Never mind the competition though; the weather was the real challenge, especially for people running the last leg. The wind and rain had been noticeable for the first couple of legs but as the later runners set off, the wind increased and heavy rain and hail battered the runners. It became a battle for survival; Phil Beecroft (CVFR Mud Socks) fell and gashed his arm, Manhar Patel (CVRF Deckchairs) ended up in A&E needing stitches for a gash to his head. International star, Ben Mounsey returned with early stage hypothermia and had to be re-warmed, sandwiched between club mate Gavin Mulholland and Todmorden’s Claire Harris.
The hero of the day was Nathan Kennaugh (CVRF Gladiators) who grabbed the hand of a runner who was about to be blown into a barbed wire fence and then helped her down to safer ground.
In those conditions fell runners will always help each other even if it means losing time. This race will surely go down with the Edale Skline 2007 and the Great Lakes 2012 as one with the toughest conditions of recent years.
Back to the race, the main opposition to a CVFR win came from the Green Head Monsters, a crack team of Jack Smith, Ian Holmes, Sam Watson and Tom Addams.
After the first leg Math Roberts (CVFR Youth Team) came in a second ahead of Jack Smith in the fastest leg of the day 50:48. However by the end of the second leg Ian Holmes had given the Green Head Monsters a seven minute lead, which remained unassailable to the finish. Tim Ellis (CVFR Youth Team) recorded the fastest Leg 3 time but the lead was too much to pull back. CVRF Golden Oldies were within 20 seconds of the youth team but Karl Grey couldn’t reel in a rapidly fading Ben Mounsey.
Karl Grey chasing Ben Mounsey on leg 4
So a 2nd and a 3rd for the men was backed up by 4th place in the womens competition for the CVFR Ladies. Lucy Collins got the second fastest women’s time of the day just behind Emma Gould of Mercia. Amanda Altman ran the second leg in her second fell race, surely a memorable experience.
Further down the field the hot competition between the Shimmy Shakers, The Herbivores and The Gladiators came out with the Shimmy Shakers on top with strong runs from Lee Shimwell, Mark O’Connor, Richard Ingram and Jim Mosley who returned to racing after nearly a year off with injury. The Gladiators trailed the Herbivores by less than two minutes.
Shimwell to Mosley #Shackers
||Green Head Monsters
||CVFR Youth Team
||CVFR Golden Oldies
||CVFR Shimmy Shakers
||York Knavesmire – Ladies
||CVFR The Red RO’s
||CVFR Generation X
||CVFR Meet the New Flockers
||CVFR New Kids on the Flock
||CVFR Mud Socks x3
Tim Brooks 1st V40
Saddleworth Mini Mountain Marathon
The fourth race in the RAB Mini Mountain Marathon Series was also held on Sunday. Running from Greenfield the course covered the featureless moorland east of Dovestones Reservoir to Black Hill and the Moors above Longendale.
The 191 runners were given a map at the start of the race and had to plan their own course to find as many controls as possible in a four hour limit. The weather was a major factor here too, with no sheltered control available, harsh exposure was inevitable. Stream crossings were also interesting.
Tim Brooks was 3rd overall and first veteran. In the four race series the best three results count towards final positions. Linda Hayles result meant she won the womens V60. Gerry Symes who was leading the mens V60 before the race came in third in the end. Tim Brooks was 2nd in the mens V40.