Johnson’s win the Vocation Brewery Mytholmroyd Fell Race

This Sunday saw a record 180 fell runners compete in the 33rd Mytholmroyd fell race.

Despite the cold, windy conditions and greasy, boggy Pennine mud, the runners were not deterred. The fact that Vocation Brewery (Cragg Vale) sponsored the event and provided a can of ‘Heart and Soul’ to each runner may have had something to do with the high turnout though… Calder Valley Fell Runners took over the race this year from Halifax Harriers and ensured that is was a massive success all round – including top prizes for their own runners!

The tough 6 mile race starts at the base of Red Acre wood and tours the terrain on and around Midgley moor – calling past Churn Milk Joan, Crow Hill, Luddenden Dean and the Calderdale Way, before dropping steeply again through Red Acre woods to finish. Of the 1,650 ft of the ascent, 1,000ft is in the first mile alone.

On the start line there was some serious talent, with Calder Valley’s Karl Gray being one of the several favourites. In the end, the race was one by Chris Holdsworth of Clayton-Le-Moors in a time of 0:45:54 and first home for Calder Valley was Gray in 0:46:50.

Bill Johnson finished 1st V50 and Anne Johnson 1st Lady. Calder Valley also took 1st Ladies prize (Johnson, Jackie Scarf and Ruth Thompson-Davies); congratulations to Ruth here, who has progressed tremendously since joining the club in April.

Mytholmroyd Ladies Team Winners

There were a few Calder Valley skirmishes throughout the race, in particular between Bill Johnson and Mark O’Connor and between Stephen Smithies and Paul Gilbert – with Paul catching and passing Stephen along the Calderdale Way before faceplanting the mud on the steep descent to Heights road and losing his stride subsequently.

Paul and Smithied battling it out.

Royd local Mark had this to say “Half way up the first ascent, que, part man part machine, Calder valley’s very own mountain man Bill Johnson gliding past me. I started thinking I should run faster but was un-able to, but the pain of Bill going past so early on was eased by the fact that I know he’s an all-round class runner and currently in fine form, so I got it together and kept him in sight.

The first decent from Crow Hill was where I had hoped to gain a place or two but ended up getting held up and lost sight of Bill for the first time in the race. Luckily around the next corner Bill had stopped to tie his lace (school boy error), so I closed the gap, but even luckier he stopped again to tie his other lace, so I comfortably glided past!! To my frustration Bill then glided past me again within a few minutes just before the steep steps back up to Midgley moor by Castle Carr. I dug deep and used the heather and ferns to pull myself up. Coming back over the moors on the return I started to settle into the race and sat on Bill’s heels but he clearly was not about to roll over and started pulling away again along the boggy terrain of Dimmin Dale.

At the top of Wicken Hill I scampered over the rough heather to overtake Bill and the other two runners but lost my footing and somersaulted through the air landing on my back, blocking the path and facing the oncoming runners. Down Wicken Hill was seriously muddy and slippery and I was doing my best to keep up with Bill’s quick feet; it wasn’t until the final track I managed to out stride him to steal the victory by only a few seconds.”

Mark and Bill duel for 6 miles but Bills 1st Vet

Ultra vet runner Dick Spendlove of Norland finally got his hands this week on the English Championship M70 fell running trophy, which he had battled hard for earlier this year. Dick, who runs for Calder Valley on the fells and for Stainland Lions in other disciplines, was away on holiday and missed the presentation in mid-November at the Fell Runners’ Association annual dinner.

The championship was decided over 4 races, with the best 3 results to count. Two wins in his category, at Glossop and Sedbergh, and a second place at Pendle gave him the trophy and the gold medal, beating last year’s champion, Kieran Carr, and fell running legend Jeff Norman into the runners up positions. It has been a successful year for Dick off the fells as well since he turned 70, winning the Yorkshire Vets’ M70 5km title in July, taking 2nd M70 spot in the prestigious Great South Run over 10 miles in October and currently having the fastest M70 time at 5 different Parkrun venues, with a best 5km time of 20m 38s. Well done Dick!

Dick Spendlove winning the championship

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Paul Gilbert –

Hoult’s RunFurther Champ. 52 Hit Leemill

Runfurther Champion is Calder Runner for second year in a row.

Congratulations to Kevin Hoult on winning the Men’s RunFurther UK Ultra Running series, won last year by Calder’s Ian Symington.

Kevin Hoult receiving is RunFurther Trophy from the Previous Winner Ian Symington

Kevin Hoult receiving his RunFurther Trophy from the previous winner Ian Symington

To enter this series runners have to complete four of twelve races at over 26.2 miles long. The highest cumulative score wins. Kev completed the Howarth Hobble (33 miles) 3rd place, the Long Tour of Bradwell (33 miles) in 2nd, the Calderdale Hike (36 miles) 3rd and the Round Rotherham (50 miles).

Kev won the Round Rotherham averaging out at 7:43min/mile and then was 2nd on the White Rose Ultra, which clocks in at 100 miles, less than a month later. Proper legend

Lee Mill Relay

A great end of season local race, the Lee Mill Relay is for teams of four runners who all do a lap of the 6 mile course. Starting from Bacup, the race heads for the Top Of Leach at 474m high before descending Walstead Clough then climbing again to skirt round abandoned quarries and heading back to Bacup.

Lee Mill Relays Paul Cooke

Lee Mill Relays James Cooke – Mannequin Challenge

In true Calder Valley style they didn’t enter their most competitive team, but runners teamed up for a bit of intraclub rivalry, with 13 teams in the race. Even, with 104 teams entered, Calder still had 5 teams in the top 20.

In nearly four hours of racing less than one minute separated Warts An’ All, The Calder Valley Cannibals and Red Neck White Trash in 17th, 18th and 19th places. Quads of Fury were the first Calder Team back in 9th place although the fastest Calder runner was Mark O’Connor from the Sowerby Bridge Sheep Scarers who completed the course in 52 mins and 13 seconds.

The Leemill Relay Handicap Winners. Powell then Ingram, Ackroyd and Wharton.

The Leemill Relay Handicap Winners. Powell then Ingram, Ackroyd and Wharton.

The best performing Calder teams looked like One Good Un Two Bad Uns And Rachael (Anne Johnson, Garry Hodkinson, Rachael Crossland and Simon Fisher) and Warts An’ All (Mark Wharton, Jake Ackroyd, Richard Ingram and Iain Powell)

Calders Lee Mill Relay Winning Team

Calders Lee Mill Relay Winning Team

There were other good individual results too with Doug Zinis, Nathan Kennaugh, Richard Ingram, Paul Gilbert, Roman Sustovas, Iain Glendinning, Simon Fisher, Anthony Costello, Tamsin Cooke and James Cooke all recording improved results.

Lee Mill Relays, The run in

Lee Mill Relays, The run in

York Knavesmire Harriers had a convincing win running all four legs in just 3 hours 18 minutes and 48 seconds. The race also raised £800 for Charity and good causes.

9 Quads of Fury 03:43:31
11 Sowerby Bridge Sheep Scarers 03:47:25
17 Warts An’ All 03:53:04
18 The Calder Valley Cannibals 03:53:30
19 Red Neck White Trash 03:53:40
22 Flowerpots 03:54:19
28 Smithied 04:01:03
41 Hebden Horse Botherers 04:13:44
47 One Good Un Two Bad Uns and Rachael 04:18:09
74 Jaguars 04:45:16
90 Deckchairs 05:36:32
92 Millards Well ‘ards 05:45:10
93 The Bog Trotters 05:56:45
Lee Mill Relays Anne Johnson

Lee Mill Relays Anne Johnson

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks –