Merrick British Champs


The Merrick Hill Race was held last Saturday, the last race in the 2016 British Fell Running Championship. A solitary hill as viewed across the Solway Firth from the Northern Lake District, it is the highest hill in the Southern Uplands. The summit is at 750m climbed to from sea level with a total race distance of 7.7miles. The route has a proper steep start, short fast section then a grind out climb to the top of the first hill, jelly legs along the ridge to another long runnable climb. Then it gets hard with tussocks and bog.

Several of Calder Valley’s ‘A’ Team headed north with their eyes on team prizes. They didn’t disappoint. Ben Mounsey was 7th in 1:20:22 behind winner Rhys Findlay Robinson of Dark Peak in 1:16:03. The win crowned Rhys this year’s British Champion. Karl Gray in 12th Shaun Godsman 27th, James Louge 33rd and Jason Williams 40th were all counters for the team. A proud club captain, Shaun Godsman said “ If I’m right with my calculations the men have secured a bronze medal in the open team competition and a silver in the veterans team placings. Not bad to say most of us have been absent due to injuries and international duties for a lot of the year.”


Ben Mounsey at Merrick in the British championships (Photos courtesy of Scottish Hill Runners)

7 Mounsey, Ben 01:20:22
12 Gray, Karl 01:24:14
27 Godsman, Shaun 01:31:29
33 Logue, James 01:35:41
40 Williams, Jason 01:37:25
196 Forster, Karon 03:06:32


The Embassy Fell Race is part of the BOFRA series. Held 2 miles east of Skipton, like all BOFRA races, it’s a lung blasting 2.75miles to the top of Embassy Crag and back. Excellent running came from Calder Valley’s women with Lucy Collins in 1st place in 23:19 and Jo Buckley 2nd in 24:32.

Utterly Butterley

Taking it’s name, not from the butter like vegetable oil spread, but from one of the five Reservoirs around which the race goes, the Utterly Butterley Fell Race was run from Marsden on Sunday. A five mile race with 850ft of climbing, it is billed as a good introduction to fell running. A third of the route is on tracks, a third on paved footpaths and a third on grassy or gravelly footpaths.


From the front left is Utterley Butterly winner, Tim Ellis, Gavin Mulholland and Helen Buchan. With Borrowdales Mike fanning and Ali Burns from Valley Striders finishing 4th and 5th.

More top results came Calder’s way as Tim Ellis won in 30:16, just 6 seconds outside the course record. Gavin Mulholland was 3rd in 31:47. It’s good to see Tim and Gav back racing after missing much of the year.

Women’s Captain, Helen Buchan was 2nd in a fiercely fought race. She was annoyed not to win, being pipped by 5 seconds on the flat run in by Amy Shadbolt of Saddleworth.

Helen said “It was not my kind of race at all. Way too flat, runnable and short for me, but I’m trying to take myself out of my comfort zone to get some form back. I set off at quite a hard, but sustainable pace in front. Amy came screaming past me on the track in the 1st mile, but I was more than happy to let her go. I tucked in behind her, but she was slow on the climb, so I overtook her. I stayed in front until the last half mile where her speediness on the flat gave her the victory. Still, I am really happy with how I am running at the moment & absolutely over the moon with my 2nd place!”

1 Tim Ellis 30:16
3 Gavin Mulholland 31:47
32 Blair Garrett 43:09
35 Helen Buchan 43:23


– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks –

Calder Valley’s women lead the way

Yorkshireman full and half marathon

Lucy Collins with the Yorkshireman Marathon 2016

Lucy Collins with the Yorkshireman Marathon 2016

Calder Valley had a fantastic turn out at this year’s Yorkshireman full and half marathons, which take the competitors across the tracks and heather of the hills around Haworth in a race very different from the more conventional road runs associated with these distances.

The yorkshireman CVFR crew (by Angela Richards)

The yorkshireman CVFR crew (by Angela Richards)

In the full marathon route, which includes a kilometre of ascent, Lucy Collins had a storming run, finishing as first lady and seventh overall in a time of three hours and fifty four minutes – a very impressive run, particularly given the terrain, a field of 148 and the high calibre of runners the race attracts. Kevin Hoult, one of Calder’s best ultra runners, had an excellent run too, finishing in second place in a time of 3 hours and 32 minutes, just three and half minutes behind the race winner, Kevin Doyle from Kimberworth Striders.

Kevin Hoult Working through the field to finish 2nd on the Yorkshireman 2016

Kevin Hoult Working through the field to finish 2nd on the Yorkshireman 2016

Lucy’s win came despite not being at peak fitness. “I’ve been running on an injury since April,” she said, “and I could tell I hadn’t done my usually marathon training, hence my time was seven minutes slower than my previous effort on that course. But I was very pleased with how it went and a happy girl to be bringing that shield home for Calder!”

In the Yorkshireman half marathon – no small run given it takes place off-road and includes 650 metres of ascent – there were 23 runners from Calder Valley in the field of 279, many who are new to the club and ran the race for the first time.

Hodder Valley show

Part of Calder Valley’s club championships, 10 Calder runners were part of the 87 strong field at the Hodder Valley Show fell race, a tough six mile out-and-back race across some steep hills and rough moorland in the Trough of Bowland. It was the final ‘medium’ length race in the club’s championship, and so the competition was on.

Calder Valley’s women’s captain, Helen Buchan, was first lady, coming in over a minute ahead of the second lady. In the men’s race, meanwhile, Jon Smith finished in an excellent fourth place in just over 56 minutes. He has been vying with Mark O’Connor for the top spot in the club champs, and the win at Hodder Valley will be a welcome boon. Mark Wharton has been running well and was second Calder runner home, taking 18th place.

4 John Smith 00:56:06
18 Mark Wharton 01:01:36
24 Dan Marsden 01:04:58
28 Jake Ackroyd 01:06:22
41 Toby Sydes 01:10:42
46 (1st) Helen Buchan 01:11:19
50 James Cooke 01:12:46
73 Graham Lloyd 01:21:41
75 Charlotte Watton 01:24:54
85 Tasmin Cooke 01:37:53

“It was a really fast start,” said Helen following the race, “but I just tried to hold back as there was a steep, lung-busting climb after the first field. I could see two ladies ahead of me on the climb, so I just tapped it out, pulling into second by the top. I stayed behind until we hit the next climb, where I pulled in front. When we turned at the trig point, the second, third and fourth placed ladies were all together, about 20 seconds behind me, so I set off on the descent like a woman possessed. I needn’t have worried though as I won by over a minute.”

Lake District Mountain Trial

Four Calder Valley runners took part in the Lake District Mountain Trial. With it’s 64 year history, the race is among the most prestigious events in the fell running calendar, with an entry list that reads like a who’s who of long-distance mountain runners.

It is a true test of mountain running endurance, navigational ability and self reliance, with the runners setting off at 2 minute intervals and being given a map of the controls to visit as they start. This year’s route was 24 miles from the Duddon valley over the Coniston mountains and as far as the Pike of Blisco for more than 2500 metres of ascent and descent.

The full trial was won this year in 4 hours and 59 minutes by Neil Talbot, a young runner from Ambleside who looks set to be a dominating force in the ultra long fell races over the coming years.

That one was easy to find! Bill Johnson on the Lakeland mountain trial (BY Tim Goffe and David Rosen)

Bill Johnson on the Lake district mountain trial (By Tim Goffe and David Rosen)

Bill Johnson was first back from Calder Valley, finishing in 18th place, ahead of some very strong runners, in 6 hours, 12 minutes. Jon Underwood, who is making his way back to fitness, completed in 38th place. As well as the full trial, there are medium and short routes. Andy Thorpe, in his first Mountain Trial, was first vet and 6th overall on the medium route, and Jeremy Wilkinson was 12th on the short route

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon-

International success for Page and Symington

Calder Valley’s Ian Symington and Rod Sutcliffe took part in perhaps one of the toughest trail runs in the world over the course of last week, with Ian and his running partner securing an excellent position.


Ian Symington on the Transalpine 2016

The Transalpine-run is a seven day stage race for teams of two covering a distance 247km and climbing about 15km. Over 300 teams from around the world took part in this year’s route, which crossed the Alps from Germany to Italy. The terrain takes in a bit of everything trail, mountain and even a glacier..


Paired Ian Symington and Ken Sutor

Ian was competing in a pair with regular running partner Ken Sutor of Cheshire Hash House Harriers. “Although the height and distance are similar to a lot of the runs we normally do over the course of the week,” Ian said modestly, “you can’t tackle a 1.5km climb quite as hard as you hit a standard UK hill.”

“After getting overexcited and nearly killing ourselves on day one, we got steadily better as the week progressed and achieved our best stage position on the final day. The exception to this was day four when we lost around 30 minutes – we were running at the highest altitude and this was the stage a few UK runners struggled.

Ian and Ken finished the race in a very impressive 8th in their category and 28th overall, making them the first UK team “Looking back,” says Ian, who lives in Blackshaw Head, “we were pretty pleased but think we can do better next time. Amazingly after nearly 33 hours and 40 minutes of running we are fine with no injuries or serious blisters.”

Rod Sutcliffe and his running partner Tony Winbush also ran well, but unfortunately Rod experienced stomach problems on day four which meant he could only walk and would have missed the cutoffs. He dropped out but made all the other stages.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, Calder Valley’s Holly Page was first lady and sixth overall in the Mont aux Sources trail race, finishing the 50 kilometres in 4 hours, 59 minutes and taking an incredible 30 minutes off the record.


Holy Page 1st and new CR at Clemengold Wolkberg Skymarathon (By KZN Trial Running)

Holly began working in South Africa at the beginning of the summer and since then has been taking the trail running scene there by storm, with this win coming on top of her impressive victory at the Clemengold Wolkberg Skymarathon just a few weeks ago.

Holly said she was “pleased and surprised” to win the Mont aux Sources race, though perhaps not as surprised as the South African runners who she left behind on the course. “Conditions were pretty much akin to running in the Calder Valley – wet, windy and wild” she added.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon-

Clarke is 2nd at Blackshaw while Bill created a Monster

Ben Nevis

A handfull of Calder valley’s men headed to fort Williams on Saturday to race the UK’s highest mountain. “The Ben” stands at 4409ft which is scaled in a short but brutally painful 4 miles.  Touch the top and prepare for the death defiying descent with complete quadriceps destruction.  Succeed at this and it will put you in good stead for any future race in the calendar.

Findlay Wild produced another unbelievable win in 1:28:45 with Valley’s Karl Gray finishing in an outstanding 6th position clocking one of the quickest decent times.

Karl Gray Descending Ben Nevis 2016 (Photo by

Karl Gray Descending Ben Nevis 2016 (Photo by

6 Karl Gray 01:41:37
12 Alex Whittem 01:46:42
96 Lee Shimwell 02:05:58
295 Stephen Smithies 02:35:35
336 Calvin Ferguson 02:40:44

Blackshaw head

The annual Blackshawhead Fell Race went from the Blackshawhead Fete last Saturday, the wet weather making for a heavy course. A fast route out to Standing Stone Hill is followed by a speedy return along the Pennine Way before the sting in the tail – the climb from Jack Bridge back to the Fete ground.
The race was won by under 18 Watson Peel of Halifax Harriers in 41 minutes and 12 seconds. In second place, Gareth Clarke was first back for Calder Valley, he’s been putting some good training in recently and it’s paid off with this excellent result. Third was evergreen V50 Mark Wharton. Wharton and club mate Mark Goldie who had taken turns leading the race in the early stages.
The women’s race was won by Rebecca Patrick of Todmorden Harriers, with Gloria Ayuso first woman back for Calder in 56 minutes and 1 second. All the marshals got prizes because the weather was so bad.

2 Gareth Clarke 41.56 27 Johnnie Watson 50.01
3 Mark Wharton 42.10 37 Gloria Ayuso 56.01
4 Giles Simon 42.37 41 Steve Cavell 58.14
5 Mark Goldie 42.42 44 Gill Dickson 60.10
15 Jon Underwood 47.41 47 Charlotte Wetton 60.23
19 Toby Sydes 48.45 48 Eileen McDonach 64.40
20 James Cooke 49.15 53 Tamsin Cooke 67.56

Castle Carr

A new race for the fell running calendar, the Castle Carr Fell Race takes in ground usually out of bounds. Starting at the Hare and Hounds in Old Town, and with thanks to the landowners, the runners were allowed to run through the grounds of the Castle Carr estate, past the famous fountain and the ruins of the old hall. The route then circuits the moor via Whithens Stoop on High Brown Knoll before descending down to Redacre Woods, Mytholmroyd. The real challenge now lies ahead as the route climbs 1000ft in just over one mile back up to Sheeptones trig point, drops halfway down the valley again before heading up to Crow Hill above Midgley. Down into the Luddenden Valley and up to the Rocking Stone, the runners were delighted to then cross Castle Carr again before heading to the finish.
Ben Mounsey took the spoils in this inaugural race. After the race he said “Castle Carr is a proper fell race! Seriously tough. 15 miles with 4000ft of climb and navigation needed for about 12 miles of the route. I fell about 15 times, smashed my knee, ruined my hip, swore lots, hobbled in, lost about 3 minutes with a few poor lines, un-runnable in parts, pretty damn epic and a race only for the toughest and hardiest of them all. It chewed me up and spat me out but the good news is I’m still alive….just! Although now I’m a complete physical wreck.”

Ben Mounsey Winning the inaugural Castle Carr 2016 #Suunto

Ben Mounsey Winning the inaugural Castle Carr 2016 #Suunto (photo by Melvyn Ward)

Natalie Murphy of Rossendale Harriers won the womens race in 3 hours 26 minutes and 6 seconds. Helen Buchan was first woman back for Calder.

There was a fierce battle between Kevin Hoult and Mark O’Connor for fourth place with Kevin taking it by 13 seconds.

2 new club members completed the race Douglas Zinis and Emma Smyth. This was Emma’s first fell race. Quite an event to choose as your first, but she was still smiling afterwards.

Route choice was a key part of the day. Those who left their map and compass in their bag might have suffered a bit. Helen Buchan missed the entrance to Castle Carr Estate as she was worried about the cows on the moor – as did all those runners who trustingly followed her – costing them about 20 minutes right at the start.

Helen Buchan using her magical finger compass

Helen Buchan using her magical finger compass (Photo by Anne Johnson)

There was a report from the marshall at CP9 that Roman Sustovs had set off in the wrong direction from that checkpoint, looking like he was going for a second lap rather than back through the Estate. However he came in 11th place overall.
The race was organised by Bill Johnson, Calder Valley’s Chairman. After the race and talking to the finishers Bill said “I think I have created a monster”.

1 Ben Mounsey 02:18:45 23 Andy Wright 03:12:41
2 James Logue 02:21:58 25 Jake Ackroyd 03:18:04
4 Kevin Hoult 02:34:30 32 Tim Brooks 03:28:19
5 Mark O’Connor 02:34:43 35(3) Helen Buchan 03:35:17
11 Romans Sustovs 02:50:26 44 Simon Fisher 03:49:01
16 Iain Powell 02:54:27 46(6) Emma Smyth 04:00:58
18 Douglas Zinis 02:56:53 51 Andrew Meek 04:19:03

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks –