Winter Handicap and Hoofstones clash

Last Saturday saw Calder Valley fell runners take part in their annual Winter Handicap race from Stubbs field Mytholmroyd to Stoodley Pike and back. The race was 5.5 miles in length and had 1,000 foot of ascent. In a handicap race, staggered start times are crafted based on the performance of the runners in recent races, to ensure that everyone theoretically crosses the finish line together. Anyone who puts in an extra effort on the day would therefore finish before their club mates; except those club mates are doing the same. Whoever puts in the biggest effort on the day would walk away with the trophy!

Eric Powell just holding off ‘Young’ Mark Wharton

Marc Collet, the race organiser added “usual Winter Handicap weather – fog at the pike, intermittent rain at the start, wet and boggy underfoot – made for an exciting race with staggered start times giving anyone in the club the chance of winning. Thirty seven runners started and all thirty seven made it back down with just 12 minutes separating the first and last places. With two time handicap champ Dan Biggs staying away, it meant a different name on the trophy this year with new club member Stephanie Vanderhaegen first to the pike and first to the winning line on Stubbs Field, followed closely by Gill Dickson and Ruth Thompson-Davies.”

Jon Smith – quickest time on the Winter Handicap

Jake Ackroyd ran a brilliant race as the first male runner home, followed closely by Club Champion Jon Smith, who broke the 40 minute mark. There were plenty of notable runs with Rachel Johnston winning the female veteran category and coming in as fastest woman in the field. Junior, Erik Powell, ran one of the best races pipping joint veteran champion Mark Wharton to the post – the irony of which won’t be lost on his dad Iain!

Stephanie, Gill and Ruth

A big thanks to resident statistician Andy Wright for devising this year’s start times and to the Shoulder of Mutton in Mytholmroyd for their after race hospitality.

Further up the valley on the road to Burnley, a second fell race was also held on the same day – Hoofstones. The 8 mile race is a navigational challenge, which takes you to the highest point around Todmorden – Hoofstones Heights Trig Point. The Trig is situated on the East/West Watershed above the old Sportsman Arms. The race initially starts on good tracks leading away from the Staff of Life pub, but after crossing the Long Causeway, the conditions get a lot worse, with knee-deep bogs and giant tussocks to contend with. One CV runner entered – James Logue – and had a cracking race, finishing in 2nd place with a time of 01:04:35. Andrew Worster of Todmorden Harriers was the eventual winner.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Paul Gilbert –