Summer Handicap with Rain at Snowdon

Snowdon Race

The International Snowdon Race is a fiercely fought fell race with elite mountain runners from around the world coming to do battle – and among the 548 competitors were seven Calder Valley Fell Runners.

Leading the way was the in-form Ben Mounsey who was wearing an England vest for the race and among the favourites. The route takes the runners up 1,000 metres of climbing to the summit of Wales’ highest mountain and straight back down, requiring a tough mix of stamina and speed. The wind, rain and thick cloud only added to the challenge.

Ben Mounsey and the Snowdon Team

Ben Mounsey does it again with the Snowdon England Team

England took the team gold, beating the high quality Italian and Scotland squads, with Mounsey finishing in an impressive 7th place in just under 69 minutes. Despite saying he The next Calder Valley runner was the legendary Karl Gray just a few places behind in 12th overall and first in the V45 category. Next back for Calder was Jason Williams in 26th, followed by Matt Roberts, Richard Sunderland, Calvin Ferguson, Blair Garrett and Helen Buchan.

Summer handicap

Closer to home, Calder Valley’s summer handicap, a key fixture in the club calendar, gives everyone the opportunity to take the top spot.

Summer Handicap

Ladies Summer Handicap – Great Atmospere

Runners set off at different times based on their speeds over the last year, with the fastest going last. If everyone runs at their expected time all the competitors would cross the finishing line at exactly the same time. At 7 miles, 1,500 feet of climbing, and a combination of a steep descent, a brutal climb, a long fast flat section and an end through waist deep bogs and tussocks, it’s a classic local race.

There was fierce competition among the 48 runners taking part and, though they didn’t finish together, most were wading through the final bogs en masse, like a scene from a zombie movie. The race winner was young Erik Powell, showing that he is getting faster and faster. Impressively, he had already run the 1,500 meters at school sports day earlier in the afternoon. He completed the course in 1 hour 7 minutes. Second was Tony Stewart and Erik’s Dad, Iain, finished in 3rd – clearly a fell running dynasty in the making.


Team POW’ell. Senior 3rd with Junior 1st (Well done Erik)

The fastest runners on the route were James Logue who completed the route in a few seconds over 50 minutes and, for the women, Holly Page who ran it in just over 57 minutes.

Summer Handicap Juniors

Juniors joining in the fun on a perfect summers evening

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon –

Over fells and over seas

Ben Mounsey extended his lead at the top of the national championship

CVFR Ben Mounsey at Sedbergh 2016

CVFR Ben Mounsey at Sedbergh 2016

standings with a fine fifth place at Sedbergh last week. Brooksbank School teacher Mounsey is bidding to become the first man in the history of the Calder Valley club to ever win an individual medal in the open category. However, the timing of the race in Cumbria, which was the third counter in the English Fell Running Championship and and second in the British, came at a bad time for Mounsey, sandwiched between international fixtures.

Last week he competed for Great Britain in the European Championships and next week he’ll compete for England in the Snowdon International mountain race – a hectic fixture list even for a for a full time athlete.


Calder Valley’s Karl Gray was also keen to test his racing legs after also competing for Great Britain in Slovenia a few weeks ago and is clearly in the form of his life.

The weather in Sedbergh was typically wet and miserable and the summit was covered in mist. Thankfully the 3.5 mile route was well flagged so navigation was never going to be a problem for those competing.

The pace at the start of the men’s race was incredible and immediately the favourites hit the front to try and open up a lead on the flat track to the start of the main climb.

However, the Calder Valley team used all of their experience to sensibly sit in the middle of the pack and conserve their energy so they could attack on the ascent.

It was a tactic that paid dividends, especially for Mounsey who worked his way into the top 15 from 30th within a matter of minutes as the gradient began to climb sharply.

By the summit he was in 10th and all that was left was the steep descent to the finish.

It was here that he made his move and flew into the top five, finishing just 26 seconds behind eventual winner and current English champion Simon Bailey. “I’m really happy with this result and it puts me in a very strong position in the Championships,” he said.“What I’m most happy about is the fact I’ve really trained hard this week in preparation for Snowdon so to get a top five and be so close to the win shows I’m in great form.”

Gray also had a good run to finish 32nd with club mate Tim Ellis in 38th, Shaun Godsman in 42nd, Gav Mulholland in 45th and James Logue in 77th.

Dick Spendlove won in the V70 category and looks favourite to be crowned English champion at the end of the season with only one race to count towards his category in the championships.

Dick Spendlove

Dick Spendlove Sedbergh 2016

In the women’s race Gayle Sugden demonstrated what amazing form she is in by finishing 11th, and 3rd lady vet. She;’s still in the mix for a medal. She was followed by Lucy Collins in 13th, with Lindsey Oldfield in 26th, Jo Buckley in 28th, Womens’ captain Hlen Buchan in 60th and under 23 Rachael Crossland a further 5 places behind.The ladies team placed 3rd on the day and again they are in with a good shout of a team medal.

Calder Valley’s Holly Page was quickly back into her stride after a spell in South Africa.

The 26-year-old Calder Valley Fell Runners ace has been working in Pretoria and dashed from the airport before sweeping aside the female opposition at last Saturday’s Baildon Canter. The 5km contest included 500 feet of climbing and attracted a field of 60 runners.

Holy Page - Baildon Canter 2016

Holy Page – Baildon Canter 2016

Page was fifth to finish in 21 minutes 36 seconds. The winner, host club Baildon Harriers’ Michael Malyon, clocked 19:20. The second woman to finish, Linda Farley of Bradford Airedale, 96 seconds behind Page.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Thirza Hyde –

Local fun and just the Job in Italy

Cragg Vale

D.Culpan 2015 returns for the 2016 Cragg vale race

D.Culpan 2015 returns for the 2016 Cragg vale race

Last Wednesday saw the annual running of the Cragg Vale Fell Race, organized by local teacher and adventure racer, Jackie Scarf. Guest CVFR junior 12 year old Ruby McFie started the race, which heads anticlockwise down beside Cragg Brook.
There was a big turnout with 104 runners and a new race winner this year: 19 year old Callum Davidson from Rossendale in 28.30. He finished with a lead of 1min 14 secs over 2nd placed Andrew Worster from Todmorden Harriers. Youngster Watson Peel from Halifax Harriers came in 8th with a brilliant run.

First lady was 23-year-old Nichola Jackson of Preston Harriers, in a storming 32.45, which was over 4 mins in front of 2nd placed CVFR Lindsey Oldfield. Team prizes went to Todmorden men and Calder Valley ladies.

All in all another Cragg Vale success: £800 raised for church funds, lots of locals marshalling and plenty of delicious refreshments for after the race. Many thanks to Little Valley Brewery for donating all the prizes and 2 polypins of beer for the runners to quench their thirst. We had fantastic weather for the race but a few hours earlier, when Nick Murphy flagged the course, the rain was torrential, hence the boggy conditions underfoot.

6 Mark O’connor 31.23 53 Brian Horsley 40.31
11 Alasdair Pedley 32.32 60 Nick Murphy 41.13
12 Tristan Sheard 32.36 63 Toby Sydes 41.29
15 Richard Sunderland 32.55 65 Rachel Johnston 42.06
16 Gareth Clarke 33.15 70 Gillian Wibsey 43.58
18 Dan Marsden 33.54 72 Gavin Wilkinson 44.44
19 Mark Wharton 33.57 74 Gill Dickson 44.55
21 Giles Simon 34.25 75 Gloria Ayuso 44.56
29 Roman Sustous 35.32 76 Antony Mcmanus 45.14
32 Lindsey Oldfield 36.49 81 Dave Culpan 46.08
33 Jonathan Emberton 36.54 83 Steven Cavell 46.24
36 Richard Ingram 37.29 90 Kath Pope 50.07
37 Molly Heitz 37.57 91 Jocasta Fletcher 50.13
40 Andy Davies 38.20 95 Charlotte Wetton 51.43
42 Matthew Murray 38.28 98 Eileen Mcdonach 54.17
49 Dick Spendlove 39.55 102 Ruth Thompson-Davies 58.43
51 Rachael Crossland 40.18 104 Danielle Williams 61.10

Heptonstall Festival Fell Race

Closer to home the Heptonstall Festival Fell Race kicked off the annual Festival last Saturday with 106 runners joining hundreds of festival goers heading to the hill-top village’s annual music festival. The race follows a double-descent format, featuring a 500 foot descent to the Blue Pig, followed by a 1000 foot ascent to High Brown Knoll, where runners loop round the moor and head back to the Heptonstall the way they came, enjoying the exhilarating 1000 foot descent back to the Blue Pig, before the torturous 500 feet of ascent to the finish line.

As the race was a counter in this year’s Calder Valley Club Championship there was a good turn out of the red and white hoops. Alex Whitam was first back for the club in 5th place and 52 mins and 29 seconds, the race was won by Chris Holdsworth of Clayton-le-Moors in 5-0 mins and 8 seconds. First woman was Rachel Pilling of Pudsey and Bramley with Rachel Crossalnd first woman back for Calder in 6th place.

Race organiser Stephen Grimley

Race Organiser Stephen Grimley

The battle between Paul Haigh and James Cook in the handicap championship continues with Paul just gaining the upper-hand at Heptonstall. Gloria Ayuso ran well also scoring highly in the handicap results.

Hebden Bridge Picture House donated 6 pairs of cinema tickets as prizes along with copies of Chris Goddard’s new book and maps (invaluable for all runners and walkers), Vouchers from Sportsshoes and a keg of beer supplied by Slightly Foxed.

Race organiaer Stephen Grimley Is now preparing to embark on his own fund raising event cycling from Hebden Bridge to Rome!!!!!  Read his story here:  Baby Teds Story

5 Alex Whittem 00:52:29 65 (F6) Rachael Crossland 01:09:19
8 Mark O’Connor 00:54:15 67 Toby Sydes 01:09:48
15 Giles Simon 00:56:27 68 James Cooke 01:09:59
18 Tristan Sheard 00:57:34 70 Nick Murphy 01:10:19
19 Iain Illstone 00:58:14 75 Brian Horsley 01:10:44
20 Simon Bourne 00:58:26 76 Andrew Meek 01:10:46
21 Mark Wharton 00:58:27 77 (F8) Helen Buchan 01:11:48
23 Dan Marsden 00:58:41 80 Nathan Kennaugh 01:12:54
28 Rich Sunderland 01:01:16 86 (F13) Gloria Ayuso 01:16:03
32 Iain Powell 01:02:32 87 (F14) Stella Christanthou 01:16:11
37 Paul Haigh 01:04:06 91 Dave Culpan 01:18:45
40 John Killerby 01:04:35 92 (F17) Nicki Latham 01:19:04
45 Andy Davies 01:05:38 93 (F18) Gill Dickson 01:19:09
46 Jake Ackroyd 01:05:48 96 (F20) Helen Flage 01:23:05
47 Jon Underwood 01:05:57 99 (F21) Sue Martin 01:26:24
48 Richard Ingram 01:06:09 100 (F22) Carolyn Shimwell 01:27:10
54 Daniel Pope 01:07:21 101 (F23) Eileen McDonagh 01:27:11
57 Gavin Roper 01:07:41

European Mountain Running Championship

Arco, at the northern end of Lake Garda, was the host for the European Mountain Running Championship last Saturday. Calder Valley’s Ben Mounsey represented GB. Coming 26th place on the 12.3km course, he helped his team mates Andrew Douglas, Chris Smith and Tom Adams to a team bronze medal. GB’s Emily Collinge won the women’s race. Ben mounseys blog has the step by step account on the Italian Job

Ben Mounsey Arco 2016

Ben Mounsey Arco 2016

Flying Symington tops 10 Peaks and the podium

Bridestones fell race

Bridestones Fell Race 2016

Bride Stones Fell Race 2016 (Credits Stuart Wolstenholme)

Now in its third year, Bridestones Fell Race is a local evening race organised by Todmorden Harriers’s Dan Taylor. With its biggest turnout to date, the race saw 74 people line up at the start of a 4.7 mile dash up the steep Todmorden hillside to Orchan Rocks and Bridestones and back down again along thin winding paths through heather.

Local teams, Calder Valley and Todmorden Harriers, dominated. First back was Tod’s John Wright in 37: 18. Calder Valley’s Mark O’ Connor was just 13 seconds behind in second place, and Calder’s Andy Thorpe took 5th place, in what was his first fell race since he was injured in the 2015 Bridestones race.

Gayle Sugden from Calder Valley has spent the season so far smashing local race records – and true to form, she came in first lady, eighth overall and took an extremely impressive 4 minutes off the women’s record, finishing in 40:16.

Gale Sugden sets new CR at BrideStones 2016

Gale Sugden sets new CR (Credits Stuart Wolstenholme)

“I set off steady and went well up the first climb, passing some of the Calder Valley boys” said Gayle, who is known for her very strong ascending. “I wanted the last climb to go on further because I knew I’d get caught on the descent, which I did by Giles and Ian. Damn! I managed to pull Ian back, but not Giles. Finished first lady – super chuffed.”

Calder Valley took the team prizes for the men (Mark O’Connnor, Andy Thorpe, Tristan Sheard) and women Gayle Sugden, Lindsay Oldfield, Molly Heitz), as well as the V50 wins for Mark Wharton and Jackie Scarf.

Mark Wharton 1st V50

Mark Wharton 1st V50 (Credits Stuart Wolstenholme)


10 Peaks

One of the toughest ultras out there, the 10 Peaks takes runners over the tallest and toughest fells in the Lake District. Ian Symington, Calder Valley’s ultra supremo, competed in the race, winning the 73km race in 12 hours 47 minutes – with over 16,000 feet of climbing over the likes of Hellvelyn, Scafell Pike and Skidaw this is no mean feat.

Ian said:

“This is a big run and I was a little bit worried, it wasn’t the distance, more the climb that was concerning me. I let everyone go off at the start knowing that I knew my way around the central fells. My line off Helvelyn was if anything a little too good and I made about 5 minutes up on the leaders and came out at Checkpoint 1 in 2nd.

“I nipped up the east face of Bowfell; this broke the chain and I was on my own for most of the rest of the race. It went really well until I came to Gable. There were only 2 significant climbs left by this point and I suddenly felt shattered.

“I crawled up the last climb. It took me over an hour and a half to get to the top (a decent fell runner would do it in 45 minutes fresh). On the out and back to the Skiddaw trip I saw Jason Milward in 2nd approach. He was about 2 minutes down. Thankfully I had better descending legs than climbing and managed to hold him off.”

Ian won by the race 13 minutes.

Ian Symington wins the 10 Peaks race 2016

Ian Symington wins the 10 Peaks race 2016

Snowden Twilight Uphill

A month before the Snowdon race, attended by some of the biggest names in international mountain running, is Snowdon Twilight – an uphill only race to the top of Wales’s largest mountain. A number of Calder Valley runners headed over to the Friday evening race, with the club’s Jason Williams leading the way on the night. He finished 5th overall and 1st V40, reaching the summit in just over 47 minutes.


A relatively new race, the Buttermere Horseshoe is fast becoming one of the classic Lakeland fell races – 22 miles and over 8,000 feet of climbing over sone tough mountain terrain, it’s a long hard race.

Three hardy Calder Valley runners headed up to Cumbria, putting in strong performances. The ever faster Mark O’Connor was first back for club finishing in 26th place in 5 hours 18 minutes. Bill Johnson was 34th overall and the third V50 in race. Jake Ackroyd, back racing after breaking his finger at Cader Idris, in 69th.

Jake Ackroyd, Bill Johnson & Mark O'Connor at Buttermere 2016

Jake Ackroyd, Bill Johnson & Mark O’Connor at Buttermere 2016