Held in Patterdale every year the Hodgson Brothers Relay is one of the most prestigious relays in the Fell Running year. As it is also a couple of weeks before the British Fell and Hill Running relays, it’s a good preview to see which teams are running well and gives the captains a chance to fine tune their teams. In the run up to this years Hodgson Brothers relay, all the talk was could Borrowdale win the event for the 20th year in a row. Borrowdale, although they know all the best routes were thought to be getting past their best and some of the other teams were looking strong. The obvious contenders were Keswick, Calder Valley and favourites Dark Peak.
A four leg, paired relay over 24 miles of steep Lakeland mountains the first Calder pair off were Shaun Godsman and Jason “Wilf” Williams. They came into the changeover in 3rd place behind Borrowdale in 1st and Dark Peak 2nd, helped by Jason sliding down the last steep, grassy descent in an attempt to keep up with Godsman and Borrowdale.
Matty Roberts and Gav Mulholland dropped a place on the 2nd leg to Keswick but the Borrowdale/Dark Peak 1,2 remained the same. The positions did not change on leg 3 over Red Screes from Kirkstone Pass. So with less than 4 minutes separating the four teams it was all to run for on the final leg. However Rhys Findlay-Robinson and Kris Jones of Dark Peak set a blistering pace and completed the leg five minutes faster than any one else to take victory, and the trophy, from Borrowdale. Karl Gray and Ben Mounsey brought Calder back in 4th place. It looks like a tough challenge to beat Dark Peak at the British Relays on the shores of Loch Lomand in two weeks time. Dark Peak also won the ladies and veterans races.
Calder also entered a mixed team on the Hodgson Brother’s relay, they came in 5th mixed team with good performances from Gayle Sugden and Lucy Collins on leg 1 (despite Lucy twisting her ankle) and Mark Wharton and Lee Shimmwell having a stormer on Leg 2.
– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks –