Another strong showing from vets keeps them in medal contention

Despite the scorching weather, the sweltering heat did not put a large number of Calder Valley runners off heading to Tebay for the English Championships race. Tebay was also one of the races in the CVFR club championships. The 8 mile race (3,000 ft climbing) saw 451 runners finish, with Ben Mounsey first back for CV in a time of 01:15:13 placing 7th. The eventual winner was Sam Tosh of Rossendale Harriers in a time of 01:12:51. Karl Gray took second in MV45 and finished 13th overall. In the same age category Gav Mulholland had another excellent run placing 4th and with a win, a second place in the other races he is in an excellent position to win an individual vets medals. The vets team are also in a strong medal winning position with 3 races still to be contested they sit in gold medal place.  In terms of the club championships after Tebay, very little changed at the top. In the handicap champs James Cooke held onto first place going into the Cragg Vale club championship race next week. It is all to play for still.

On the Sunday several CV fell runners also took part in the Helm Hill race near Kendal, which is part of the British Open Fell Race Association (BOFRA) series of events. The races are characterised as being fast, short (1 miles – 5 miles) and with a substantial amount of ascent. Helm Hill was no exception and provided the runners with 900 ft of climbing over 3.3 miles. William Hall did exceptionally well in the U12 race, coming home with a substantial lead as 1st boy. Patrick Casey also had a great race finishing 6th. As for the seniors, Ben Mounsey was out in force, having already finished 1st the weekend before in the Hawkswick Dash BOFRA race. This time he finished in 2nd place – still an excellent result having competed in the English Champs the day before!

Elsewhere in the fell racing calendar Steve Smithies had a good race a Brown Wardle in East Lancashire, finishing 9th and Paul Gilbert battled through the heat at the relatively new Castle Canter race at Dobroyd Castle to finish 8th.

Tebay results and photos here

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Paul Gilbert –

The bullet is back making the headlines

This week, CV’s top athlete Ben Mounsey kicked off a victorious start by winning Blencathra Fell race in an impressive time of 01:04:06. He showed signs of a return to top form by going on to win another race just 4 days later.

Blencathra Sprint finish Ben Bullet Mounsey

Ben said: “Blencathra last Wednesday is a true Lakeland classic, 8 miles with over 3,300ft of climb.

The weather was dry but very windy so conditions were good, but not perfect. Aside from the wind, the main problem I had was not knowing the route, as it’s the first time I’ve ever done the race. So my tactic was to start conservatively and work my way to the front so I could try and follow the best lines. It was a clever tactic that paid dividends as I worked my way from 6th place to 2nd over the first 4 miles. On the final climb I made my move and overtook the leader, Steve Hebblethwaite, before descending my way to victory. It was a big win against a classy field, many of whom are past and present international athletes.”

The following evening saw CV’s Jason William’s take 1st V40 at the Snowdon Twighlight race, and 4th overall. A relatively new addition to the fell runners calendar, this race was born from the main Snowdon race held in July each year.

Jason said: “This is a fantastic event and is only in its 3rd year. It’s a good precursor to July’s Snowdon race and let’s you know how you’re likely to fair on the long ascent to the summit come race day.

Numbers were up slightly on last year and 111 runners turned up from the 129 entries taken.  I wanted to improve on my 5th place from last year and beat my previous time of 47:08 minutes and as the race got under way I felt like I had a good chance. By the halfway point I was in third place and working hard but my chest was feeling tight and breathing was getting laboured, I had to ease off slightly which gave away my position back to fourth. I kept up with the guy in front but just couldn’t close the gap and finally reached the finish line about ten seconds behind in 47:44 … 36 seconds slower than last year but 4th place and first V40 on the night.

All in all I enjoyed the challenge and a lovely run back down, after a brief rest and some refreshment at the summit cafe. Looking forward to the main race now on July 15th…. more pain and for longer!”

Saturday offered a range of nearby race options for CV and despite the wet, soggy conditions, red and white stripes were out in force at the Midgley’s Churn Milk Chase and Rossendale Harriers 50th Anniversary Juniors event.

11 hardy CVFR were at the starting line for Churn Milk Chase, undeterred by the downpours and bogs. Associated with Midgley Village Fete, this is an ideal introduction to fell racing and the wider fete activities provides entertainment for spectators and families alike. The route is a 5 mile dash across Midgley Moor and back and was won by Michael Fanning from Holmfirth. First lady was Judy Howells from Wharfedale Harriers
CVFR scooped both team prizes with Simon Ashton, Mark O’Connor and Lee Shimwell taking the men’s and Catherine Holden, Stella Chrisanthou and Gillian Wisbey the ladies. It was the first fell race for Ana de la Fuent Herrero, a recent recruit from the Back to the fell sessions.

Ana said: “After starting as a beginner runner with CVFR, I was excited and nervous to participate in my first ever fell race in Midgley. The first part uphill was very difficult and there were moments when I felt like giving up, but I got so much support from the marshals and sweeper. Even faster runners already on their way back down would say ‘well done’ when crossing paths with me. They all really helped me to cross the finish line and it was an incredible experience afterwards”

Churn Milk Chase Ladies team, Stella Chrisanthou, Catherine Holden, Gill Wisbey

Meanwhile, over the border, 13 CV juniors competed and excelled in the final junior and U21 Championship counter, and Junior Inter-counties event hosted by Rossendale Harriers and held at Cowpe. The event resulted in a new English Champion in the club. William Hall was placed well enough in his race to claim the under 13 title, a fantastic achievement for William and CVFR.

Other impressive race results from the day included seven year old Clara McKee, 1st U9 girl, Sam Annison 3rd boy U9, Charlie Pickins and George McFie 4th and 5th in the U11.

Then Ben Mounsey finished the week as he’d started with another superb win on Sunday at Hawkswick, Yorkshire Dales. This was the 4th instalment of the BOFRA (British Open Fell Running Association) series. Ben is planning on competing for the championship this season and looking to build on his debut victory at Sedbergh in the opening race (competitors need to complete 8 races from 16). The nature of each race is to run as fast as you can up and down one hill/mountain. Most of the races are around 2 miles in length and Hawkswick Dash is classed as one of the shorter races at 1.5 miles in total, with 890ft of climb.

Said Ben: “There is only one tactic for a race like this and I didn’t have any choice but to sprint as fast as I could from the gun. Thankfully, this type of race suits my style of running and by the top of the climb I had already opened up a significant lead over the rest of the field. By the time I’d reached the descent I was able to enjoy the final sprint to the final, eventually clocking a winning time of 11 mins & 37 seconds.”

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickinson –

Gayle’s return to the top.

What a week it’s been for Calder Valley Runners. Closest to home was the Hebden Bridge Fell Race, that saw 85 runners heading up from Calder Holme Park in the town centre to Stoodley Pike and back 6 miles later, on a beautiful mid-summer evening.

Alex Whittem HB2017

There was an excellent Calder Valley turnout of 27 runners, some of whom were competing in their first fell race after joining the club for its introduction to fell running sessions just a few weeks earlier.
The race, organised by Todmorden Harriers, was won by Michael Kallenbeg of Cardiff AC with Calder Valley’s Alex Whittem just 11 seconds behind him in second, and no less than eight other runners from the club in the top 20. In a fit brotherly rivalry, Stephen and Simon Ashton, both new to fell running, finished in sixth and seventh place respectively were separated by less than twenty seconds. Gayle Sugden meanwhile, who has been out of the racing scene since last year due to an injury, made her return at Hebden Bridge and true-to-form was the first woman back. Calder Valley took the men and women’s team prizes.

Gayle said: “After eight months away from racing I decided to do the Hebden race, I’m still not fixed but thought I’d give it a shot. I started off steady up the first climb and climbed well up to Stoodley but then came the descending, which didn’t go so well…ha ha! My injury wasn’t too happy after the race but it was great to be back out there. I really enjoyed it.”

Gayle Sugden HB2017

A little further afield was the short, sharp shock of Kettlewell Fell Race, which sees runners climbing 600 feet straight up the rocks and back down the scree in just 1.5 miles, showing just how steep this route is. There was an excellent turnout from Calder Valley juniors at the race, and some even better results. In the under 9s, Sam Annison had a fantastic run to finish in 4th place. In the under 12s meanwhile, William Hall took 1st place, James Duffy 5th and Patrick Casey 6th, showing the strength of the club in this age category.

William Hall Kettlewell fell race 2017

Over in Lancashire, and starting in the picture-postcard village of Downham, is the Pendle Cloughs fell race – a tough route of 23 km around Pendle Hill. Despite being in Calder Valley’s club championship, only four club members headed across the border to complete. They didn’t disappoint. Lindsay Oldfield was first lady and Rob Allen second man, while Toby Sydes and Jim Cooke also put in good performances.

The club’s Phil Scarf and Bill Johnson, meanwhile, took part in the Low Alpine Mountain Marathon in Scotland, a two-day score event involving navigation and running across three iconic mountain ranges and covering thousands of feet of climbing. Despite tough competition, the pair won the score event outright – a fantastic result for the Calder Valley pair. The club’s Jackie Scarf with team-mate Simon Birch also finished well-up the field as leading mixed pair.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon –

LAMMS

Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon Success

Bill Johnson’s take on their fantastic win….

We’re both looking particularly haggard at the end of the LAMM after a second day of complete 100% effort.

Absolutely delighted to win the score class with Phil Scarf.

Day 1 saw glorious running over the tops of the Fannaichs, followed by a fast descent to the valley bottom to keep warm in the sudden hailstorm. We pushed hard from there to pick up every point we could in the 7 hours. It felt like a lot of effort for each of the extra 10 pointers, but we reckoned that those small margins would make the difference.
And so we ended the first day with a slender 16-point lead.

Halfway through day 2 came the crux. We reckoned we could take a ‘safe’ route to get a good score of 215 and finish in time. Alternatively we could put in an additional 2500′ climb up Beinn a Claidheimh and get 20 points more (by missing off a couple of later controls). We reckoned 75mins to get up, 40mins down. Big climb, a risk that we might underestimate how long it would take, or be too trashed to finish in time – and all for just 20 points more. But for all we knew Darrell High and Daniel Holmberg (2nd team) might do it, so we had to.

It took us 70mins up, 35mins down and we gave it everything from there to the finish below An Teallach, to take the win. 🙂