The first round of the British Fell Running Championship 2016 was held in Northern Ireland last Saturday and saw some of Calder Valley’s elite runners head over the Irish Sea. The Donard Commedagh Horseshoe starts from Newcastle in County Down. A fourteen kilometre race with 1200 metres of climbing visiting the two highest peaks in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard (850m) and Slieve Commedagh (767m).
Sam Tosh of Rossendale was first to the summit of Donard with Rob Hope of Pudsey and Bramley only two seconds behind him. By then the first four runners had pulled away from the rest of the pack. Sam and Rob battled all the way round with only a couple of seconds separating them at most checkpoints but Hope eventually triumphed by six second in 1:17:21.
Calder’s Karl Gray and Tim Ellis were 6th and 7th respectively just less than two minutes behind the winner. Gray was 2nd V40. With Math Robers, Darren Kay and James Louge all in the top 50, the men have made a solid start to the season taking second team on the day.
In the women’s race, won by Heidi Dent of Howgill Harriers, Holly Page equalled Karl Gray by finishing 6th despite suffering from a bad cold.
6 Karl Gray 1:19:05
7 Tim Ellis 1:19:08
12 Math Roberts 1:23:15
17 Darren Kay 1:25:05
41 James Logue 1:30:58
71 Holly Page 1:36:18
199 Helen Buchan 2:08:41
Closer to home the Calderdale Hike is a regular fixture in the Ultra Running scene. Starting from Sowerby Cricket Club, competitors can chose either the short (26 miles) or long (37 miles) course. Ben Frechette scored an excellent victory in the short race, with Kevin Hoult coming 3rd in the long race. Club Chairman, Bill Johnson, also competed in the long race.
Calder Valley members were also in action at several other races this weekend. Calvin Ferguson ran at the Coledale Horseshoe (8 miles and 3000ft) from Braithwaite in the Lake District. Andrew Davis and Graham Davey were seen at the Wardle Skyline (7 miles and 1250ft) around the Watergrove valley north of Rochdale. Adventure Racers Phil and Jackie Scarf completed a 6 day adventure race in New Zealand.