CVFR Fun bus to the UKA British relay’s

Last Sunday saw one of the highlights in CVFR’s calendar:

UKA British Fell & Hill Relay Championships, held this year in Llanberis, and hosted by Eryri Harriers. Now in it’s 29th year, the relay comprised of four legs in teams of six. The calibre is always high and competition tough with the cream of British fell running competing to put their clubs on the map.

Mike Wardle ‘on it’ British Relay Leg 1

The event always proves a popular, fun day out for CVFR and this year was no exception, with a ‘fun bus’ organised especially for the occasion by the club’s own entertainer Gav Mulholland, who provided amusing commentary of events both before and throughout the day.

Leg one of the relay was a solo leg of 8.9 km with 707m of ascent and took in the North ridge of Moel Eilio; leg 2, for pairs was 14.9km with 900 m of ascent and covered Foel Goch and Moel Cynghorion via a climb renowned in the classic Pedol Peris fell race; leg 3, also in pairs, required navigation skills and provided some distinct route choices. Then the final leg was a fast and furious solo one, at 8.35km with a 512m climb. Each leg, in the shadow of Snowdon, provided grassy ridges, steep climbs and sweeping fast descents with routes going through quarries, a ‘natural’ feature of the Llanberis landscape.

Alex Whittem Leg 1 for the Mens ‘A’ Team (Photo provided by

CVFR fielded 6 teams out of a total of 175. It’s Men’s Team A, comprising of Alex Whittem, Ben Mounsey, Andy Swift, Matt Roberts, Darren Kay, Gav Mulholland came an impressive 4th overall with a time of 4:25:24, a considerable achievement given that the club had split some of it’s best runners between the open and the vets team. Dark Peak Fell Runners took the first prize with a time of 4:10:21.
CV MV40 (Richard Pattison, Shaun Godsman, Karl Gray, James Logue, Stephen Edwards, Mark Taylor) also excelled, with their impressive performance securing silver in their category. They missed out on gold, which went to Shettleston Harriers, by just 22 seconds. The battle between these 2 teams was intense with some legs defined by mere seconds.  Mark Taylor ran the last leg and reined the first place in by 2 minutes, but this didn’t prove quite enough to take the top spot.

The Bullet maximising the racing line on leg 2

Said Gav Mulholland: “So despite last minute changes, we set off the hound of Alex Whittem on leg 1. Despite recent illness, Andy Swift clawed back from 10th to 6th place in leg 2. I was kept for last leg and despite being out of medal position I ran possessed, motivated by a chip butty. We sailed into 5th and with Mercia disqualified took 4th place overall. Mark Taylor clawed back 2 minutes on his leg to finish just seconds away from gold. We had silver vets and a happy valley bus home. I wish I was a vet”

Linda Murgatroyd looking good in red and white

The other 4 teams also performed well in their categories. CV ladies team (Carole Fryer, Jo Buckley, Lindsey Oldfield, Jackie Scarf, Linda Murgatroyd, Emma Smyth) secured 13th place, Mens B Team (Lee Shimwell, Mark O’connor, Ian Symington, Douglas Zinis, Iain Glendinning,Iain Powell )30th, MV40 B Team (Paul Haigh, Giles Simon, Tim Brooks,Toby Sydes, Richard Sunderland, Jack Ackroyd) 20th and the MV50 (Mike Wardle, Steve Smithies, Dave Hammond, Phill Scarf, Anthony Costello, Bob Howard) 7th.

Dougie’s master class

Emma, Bob and Giles waiting on Leg 4

The alco-pop god-sman Happy hour

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gill Dickson

Stuart braves the elements

Two days of fell racing in two very different days of weather. On Saturday, the classic Langdale horseshoe in the Lake District presented Calder Valley fell runners with a mix of heavy rain, drizzle, bad visibility and high winds. On Sunday, at Withins Skyline over in Bronte Country, the weather was remarkably cheerier, with sunshine and much warmer winds.

The Langdale horseshoe race is a tough 21 km circuit with 1,450 m of ascent and the terrain is almost exclusively on either rocky, slippy or boggy ground. This did not stop 11 CV runners making the journey up to race. The bad weather and terrain caught many of the runners out, as well as several of the CV team.

Stuart Russell Enjoying the elements at Langdale 2017

The eventual winner was Carl Bell for Keswick in a time of 02:13:14; John Allan was first home for CV in under three hours in an excellent time of 02:57:09. Rachel Crossland had a really strong race finishing in a time of 03:25:58 and 6th fastest Senior Woman.

Tim Brooks, who was competing added “When I spoke to Ian Symington, Steve Grimley and Mark Wharton at the end we all agreed we’d had shocking runs! The ground was either sodden bogs or slippery wet rock and the visibility was poor on the tops. Mark Wharton took a long ‘detour’ to avoid the Bad Step (a 4 metre down climb) which added to his time. Rachel Crossland powered through the course in a really good time, she looked really strong as she passed me on Martcrag Moor.”

At the Withins Skyline race on the Sunday, CV had amazing success in the junior categories and some great results for the seniors too. In the U9 race there were 3 CV runners in the top 5, including Samuel Annison in 1st, Clara McKee as 1st girl and Harry Cliff as 4th boy and; in the main junior race William Hall finished 4th.

Withins Skyline 2017 Juniors

In the senior ladies event, Jo Buckley, Lindsey Oldfield and Trudi Entwistle also had success by taking the team prize.

Withen’s Skyline Jo Trudi Lindsey and Paul

As for the men’s category Mark O’Connor was first back for CV in a time of 49:00. Said Mark “It was a perfect morning for fell running and what was set to be a delightful boggy course didn’t disappoint. After a bad start to the race I found myself boxed in and had to work harder than planned to catch the red and white vests in front. Calder valleys Martin Howard then came back passed me at the base of the first ascent to Within’s top and Calder’s Iain Illstone then came past just before the summit. We tussled back and forth along the top of the moor doing our best to skip the knee deep sapping bogs. It was at this half way point where I settled into the race and started to push on and close in on a few runners. A long run in, on fast track lost me a couple of places but I feel more positive going into next weeks British Relay’s team event in Llanberis.”

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Paul Gilbert

Godsman and Whittem bring it home

Hodgson Brothers Relay.

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. It is a four leg paired relay running out of Patterdale at the head of Ullswater.

The weather forecast for Sunday of heavy rain and strong winds led to a course change; the runners doing the first two legs to Kirkstone Pass, and returning the same way in reverse. This meant that Red Screes, Hart Crag and Fairfield, where the conditions were worst, were avoided.

Shaun Godsman and Alex Whittem had a storming run on the first leg coming in 1st place. Matty Roberts and Andy Swift dropped a couple of places on the 2nd leg to a strong challenge from Keswick and Dark Peak. The team positions then did not change to the finish with Keswick 1st, nearly 5 minutes clear from last year’s winners, Dark Peak in second and Calder Valley in the bonze position. A great result, up with the best in the country. Looking promising for the British relays in Llanberis on the 15th October.

Calder also entered a mixed team, they came in 4th mixed team with a particularly strong leg 3 from Stephen Edwards and Ian Symington.

Theiveley Pike – good results for the youngsters again.

Closer to home, the Thieveley Pike Fell race from Cliviger is a long standing classic race in the calendar. Fearne Hanson won the under 11s race outright, with George McFie 4th boy home. Patrick Casey was second in the under 13s

139 seniors set off last Saturday in this short classic race that takes a steep ascent to the trig point on the top of Thieveley Pike high above the sheer sided Cliviger gorge. Calder’s Martin Howard was first U19 back in 6th place overall. Andrew Worster from Todmorden won in 36.33. Mark Wharton was beaten to 2nd V50 by 1 second. Carole Fryer was first Calder woman home with Lindsay Brindle of Horwich winning.

Senior Calder Results

6 Martin Howard 39.06
14 Lee Shimwell 39.55
16 Mark Wharton 39.59
20 Matt Ray 40.55
24 Dave Hammond 42.25
28 Stephen Smithies 43.46
41 Calvin Ferguson 44.51
59 Anthony Costello 46.03
79 Carole Fryer 48.44
99 Mike Wardle 51.47

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Tim Brooks

Mighty Mulholland’s Great at Whernside

Great Whernside

Gav Mulholland at Great Whernside

Great Whernside short fell race starts at the bottom of an intimidatingly steep climb, the runners craning their necks toward the summit. After an exhausting pull up to the top, the runners turn around hurtle back down again. An incredible 1,600 feet of climbing is packed into just four miles.

It’s a short race with big significance. As well as featuring in Calder Valley Fell Runners’ club championship it was also the decider for both the Yorkshire fell championships and the prestigious English Fell Championships.

There was an excellent turn out from Calder Valley, but the run of the day was from Gavin Mulholland, who finished in 14th place in 31:48. He was the first v45, a win that sees him crowned as this year’s v45 English Fell Running Champion. Ben Mounsey also had a good run, finishing in 10th. Darren Kay was the second V45 in 16th place, while Karl Gray took 24th. With this mix of great runs in this, the last of the English Fell Running Championship races, it looks likely that Calder Valley will take gold in the English Champs vets team competition, among others, once the points have been added up.

Yorkshire Gold – Gav Mulholland, Ben Mounsey, Sam Tosh & Karl Gray

Great Whernside was also the decider for the Yorkshire Fell Championships, with Calder Valley topping many of the categories. The men’s won took gold, while Martin Howard took an excellent bronze in the under 23s.

Mountain Marathon Championships
At the same time as the English Championship was being decided, so was the inaugural British Mountain Marathon Championships, with three Calder Valley runners high up in the medal tables. Bill Johnson took silver and Phil Scarf bronze in the Long Score competition, and in the women’s Long Score competition Jackie Scarf won joint-bronze.

Bill Johnson said: “This weekend was the concluding event of the championships, the ROC Mountain Marathon. Both Phil and I had to grind out our results – we were both coming back from injury and went through the mill mentally to get through and do as well as we could. I ran solo and finished 9th. Phil and Jackie ran together. They finished 12th and first mixed pair. Jackie was 2nd woman at the ROC which earned her 3rd place in the women’s championship, while my and Phil’s results gained us 2nd and 3rd in the national competition.”

Phil and Jackie Scarf

Calder Valley juniors

In the Juniors, Calder Valley had a fantastic weekend. At the English Schools Fell Running Championships, Calder Valley’s Will Hall won the Year 7 category, adding another gold to his very successful season of running. James Duffy was an excellent fifth.

Over in Wales meanwhile, Calder Valley juniors competed in a series of races around the Orme, racking up a host of wins on a tough course that started at the top of the hill, meaning the finish was a hard climb. Sam Annison and Clara McKee won the boys and girls under 9s races respectively, both beating the course records in the process. Charlie Pickens won the under 11s race, George McFie took 3rd place and Fearne Hanson was fifth. In the under 13s Patrick Casey was fifth and Tom Owen 7th.

William Hall

Penistone Hill Race

Andy Swift had a fantastic run at the Penistone Hill Race, which takes in roads, footpaths and trail over six miles of fast, hilly lung-busting running. Andy hadn’t raced since July but that didn’t seem to hold him back as he smashed the course record by over a minute.

Andy said: “Having not raced since the summer I wasn’t sure what to expect but knew I’d been training well so hoped for a strong performance. I ran hard from the off and soon found myself with a slender lead over the field by the top of the first climb, and from there I just pulled further clear to come home comfortably in first place.”

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Giles Simon