Winter Score and a Winter Tour

Winter Score 2017:

On the morning of Sunday 17th December, CVFR members, Phil & Jackie Scarf held the annual Winter Score. Despite the inclement conditions, this year’s event boasted 47 entries – mostly consisting of individuals & teams of friends & family members from Calder Valley Fell Runners & neighboring club Todmorden Harriers. Competitors were provided with a map & up to two hours to find as many of the 26 controls strategically placed around the local countryside as possible. With strict time penalties incurred per minute for late return to Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness church at Cragg Vale which kindly provided a base for the event, the Winter Score is as much about planning & tactics as skill as a fell runner. This year’s event was additionally challenging, as aside the seasonal cold & rainy conditions, snow on the ground made finding controls extra tricky and an abundance of ice saw runners struggling to stay on their feet at times, as they slid between controls, trying to score maximum points.

Calder Valley’s Joanna Marshall – happy to cross the finishing line! Credit Catherine Jones

Local writer & fell-running legend, Chris Goddard (Todmordern Harriers) clinched this event in 1h54 with 52 points. He was closely followed by CVFR’s Tim Brooks, who won the Men’s V40 category, coming in just three minutes after the 2h mark: the resulting 3-point penalty, leaving him with a score of 51. A few runners from both clubs clocked up a scores of 41, including Phil Hodgson from Todmorden Harriers (winner of the men’s vet 60 category) and mixed V40 pair Richard Sunderland & Catherine Holden. 

Other impressive performances included the father-son team of Ian Powell & his son Eric (CVFR), who came in five minutes short of the 2h mark with an impressive 36 points to take the family prize and John Crummett (Todmordern Harriers) who won the men’s V70 with 30 points. The competition for first individual ladies was an extremely tightly fought race, with three of Todmordern Harriers female runners scoring 34 points, although Kath Briely narrowly edged out fellow V50, Mandy Goth, due to returning to base just four minutes before her team mate, to win both first individual female and first female V50 by a whisker. 

A big thank you to Phil & Jackie Scarf for organising what was agreed all round to be a challenging event and a fun thing to get everyone out of the house on a misty, grey and damp December day. Thanks must also go to the church and the volunteers who provided much needed cups of tea, butties and cakes following the event and an equally warm welcome.

In the Bleak-Mid Winter – CVFR Juniors Show The Way:

Sunday also saw several CVFR runners compete in the 8km race ‘The Stoop’. Whilst the elite athletes were mostly taking a well-earnt rest & many of the Calder Valley fell runners who might have raced otherwise opting for the winter score event over a race famous for its Santa hats & bogs in equal measure, the weather did not stay away.

For the 180 runners who squared up to the elements, it really was a bleak mid-winter: with swirling fog, pouring rain & the grounds of Stanbury Quary & the surrounding Bronte Moors as hard as iron and peppered with knee-deep ice-filled bogs. Given this context, the race was shortened for the first time since 2010, but despite all this, there was plenty of good cheer amongst the runners – decked out in their obligatory Santa hats, and some even braving full fancy dress, in the hope of winning the coveted chocolate-filled stocking prizes.

Photo 3 – CVFR’s Paul Haigh & Calvin Ferguson – credit Dave Woodhead at Woodentops

CVFR female V40, Jo Buckley, ran another particularly impressive race, finishing first lady for Calder Valley Fell Runners and 5th in her category, with a time of 40 minutes & 26 seconds. For most of the other CVFR racers, this year’s Stoop became more about personal rivalries than podium finishes. Calder’s Paul Haigh & Stephen Smithies went head to head up the hill, although on the way back down, Stephen Smithies battled on to take the lead over his team mate, who – in his own words ‘demonstrated how Bambi may have performed if given the chance’. Smithies finished 45th in 38 :55 and Haigh came in overall 55th with 40 :09.

Further down the course Lindsey Oldfield once again out performed Calvin Ferguson. The former’s uphill prowess enough proved enough to see off her rival, with Oldfield finishing 6th female in the open category in 41 :08. Meanwhile, Ferguson came overall 80th with a time of 41 :49 – the gap between the two continues to narrow.

It was down to CVFR’s juniors to show the seniors how it should be done, and the red & white junior hoops were all over the podiums (plus extremely happy with their chocolate haul of prizes).

It was 1st, 2nd & 3rd for Calder Valley in the boys U13 category, with William Hall storming home again to finish first (and fourth overall) at 6 :44, team mate Alex Duffield coming in second U13 at 6 :59 and James Duffy taking 3rd U13 at 7 :11. In the U9 age category, Sam Annison took first, in his last race before going up an age group, at 2 :46, and absolutely loved the race. There were also strong performances from Lucas Greenwood & Edvinas Adomavioius who finished 2nd & 3rd in the older age category. Other noteworthy performances included Harry Cliff, Edward Chrisanthou, and Ted Parker who finished 4th, 5th & 6th in the boys U9s and Finley Canning who placed in the top 15 in the U11 boys category.

CVFR – Alex D. – credit Dave Woodhead at Woodentops

Tour de Helvellyn:

This weekend as the shortest Saturday in the year, also marked the annual classic winter mountain run, the Tour de Helvellyn. Four CVFR runners set off to compete in this 38-mile ultra-marathon, including approximately 2,000 metres of ascent & descent, around Lake District trails, bridleways & mountain pathways. Calder Valley’s John Allann who came in 31st overall in an impressive time of 7h  37 minutes & 47 seconds, described the race as:

“A beautiful day with good visibility, deep snow over the tops, lots of ice elsewhere and constant sub zero temperatures”.

Fellow CVFR runners, the trio of V40 runners John Minta, Stuart Russell & Dan Biggs, came in 48th (8h 13 minutes & 57 seconds), 119th (9h 53 minutes & 59 seconds) and 147 (11h 1 minute & 35 seconds) respectively.

Dan Biggs – Helvelleyn

1K for 10k:

This week also marked CVFR runner Paul Haigh successfully completing the amazing challenge he set himself to run 1000 miles – including 138k of ascent (& winning the Calder Valley Handicap Champion – measure of improvement v 2016 Handicap). Paul & colleagues from Lloyds Banking Group have raised the fantastic sum of £10K for Mental Health Uk -a network of four charities – Rethink Mental Illness (in England), Hafal (in Wales), Mindwise (in Northern Ireland) and Support in Mind Scotland. These four currently fund 148 local charities who are supporting individuals to improve their mental health and move on with their lives.

When asked about the c/£5K Paul has raised from his running alone, he was quick to highlight how :

« One in four people are affected by poor mental health and, of these, around four million will also struggle with their financial wellbeing. Even more frighteningly suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 in the UK. And anyone who has suffered with Mental Health issues knows just how hard it is to find support even in this day and age.
I was lucky in that i could afford to pay for professional help. Millions others cant.

If you are interested in finding out more about this challenge or donating to this cause, please visit :

Paul during his challenge, with the one and only legend Joss Naylor – credit Mick Fryer

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

Scarf’s score again

Its 1st back for couple and mixed pair Phil and Jackie Scarf of Calder Valley Fell Runner

With local fell and cross country races cancelled due to safety issues with ice it was left to calder valleys adventure racers to fly the flag.

Adventure racing combines multiple sports with decisive navigation and route choice.  This 5hr version, from Coniston, included bike and run while having to map read to plot a course that balances points available with a third eye on the 5hr deadline.

First back as a mixed were husband and wife Jackie and Phil Scarf who also show how age is not a limiting factor.

In the female pairs Stella and Di, or Di and Stella were 2nd overall with an excellent display of tracking footsteps in the snow.

Women’s pair Di and Stella 2nd overall

Jonathan Emberton, like the Scarfs, gave the young ones a roasting finishing 4th in the male solos.

Like a fine Chianti Ben Mounsey was uncorked in Italy’s Almafi coast running as a guest in 2 very tough races with the usual tough climbs and panoramic backdrops. Despite ongoing jet lag he still managed to win both events showing he has winter form, allbeit in a Lazio vest.

1st Place for Mounsey on this Carlsberg Podium on the Amalfi Coast – Photo Credits Fusco Bartolo

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gavin Mulhollands

Half Trog Half Beast

The Half Trog is the little sibling to the 20 mile Trog, held in February. This race is still a serious undertaking, starting at the Hare and Hounds in Old Town and taking in the bogs, and pathless moors of Midgley Moor and High Brown Knoll, dropping down to Upper Dean Reservoir at the top of the Luddenden Valley. Nearly 10 miles in total.

Martin Howard 1st U23 – Half Trog 2017 – Photos by: Mick Fryer

The moors had started to defrost on Sunday after last week’s freeze when 117 runners set off. Calder Valley’s Royd Rocket, Mark O’Connor, took an early lead to the first checkpoint on High Brown Knoll, his local knowledge taking him on a direct line over Tom Tittiman.

Mark said “The race started very steady up to the edge of the moor, we were pretty grouped up with about 15 of us leading the charge heading towards Tom Tittiman and I took the straight-line route over the Heather towards a little trod I’d reccied a few weeks back. I hit the after burners to make sure my route choice worked out and got to High Brown Knoll about a minute ahead of the chasing pack. I knew it was only a matter of time before they caught me. I eased off and settled into a more sustainable pace and managed to finish strong in 6th position behind 5 very good runners.”

Mark OConnor Half Trog 2017

Those good runners included Sam Watson of Wharfdale who won in a new record time of 1:11:12, only one second ahead of Daniel Mills of Barlick. If a fast runner takes the shorter lines, surely that record can come down further. Ian Holmes of Bingley was first veteran home in 4th place and 1:14:31. Nicola Jackson of Ribble Valley was 1st woman home in 1:17:35.

Calder’s Martin Howard was first under 23 in 11th place, shortly followed by Luke Meleschko, 2nd V40, in 12th. Bill Johnson was 2nd V50 behind Holmes. Barlick took the Men’s team prize and Todmorden the Women’s.

Steve Smithies Half Trog 2017

All eyes are now on next Sunday’s local race, the Vocation Mytholmroyd Fell Race.

6 Mark O’Connor 01:16:08
11 Martin Howard 01:21:02
12 Luke Meleschko 01:22:54
17 Bill Johnson 01:23:17
21 Steven Edwards 01:24:30
22 Ian Powell 01:25:29
25 Steve Smithies 01:26:49
72 Anthony Costello 01:44:20
101 John Nunn 02:02:49
103 John Tayler 02:05:07
108 Rod Sutcliffe 02:16:00
110 Philip Jones 02:18:39

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Tim Brooks

Battling the bogs at Lee Mill Relay

The Lee Milll Relay has a formidable reputation. Two years ago the gruelling fell race in the moors above Bacup took place in high winds and lashing rain, resulting in some experienced runners suffering from hypothermia and others clinging on to the hillside for safety.

CVFR Lee Mill Relay Iain Glendining – Photo by Mick Fryer

There were fears these conditions would be repeated this year, with snow and blizzards predicted. But, though it was wet and snowy with waist deep bogs in places, the race went ahead. After all, fell runners are used to these kinds of conditions.
With four six-mile legs run over exposed moorland, it’s a tough course, but Calder Valley Fell Runners were undeterred and fielded 12 teams – a total of 48 runners. Rather than putting the fastest runners in one team they focused on some intra-club rivalry by mixing the speediest and slowest to create teams of similar ability, with the fastest handicap team on the day scooping a prize.

CVFR Lee Mill Relay Charlotte Wetton – Photo by Mick Fryer

In this hotly contested race, the first team back was CVFR Gryffindor. The team contained a mix of runners, including adventure racer Phil Scarf who had an excellent first run and handed over to 18-year old Martin Howard who recorded one of the fastest runs of the day, showing that his training is paying off. Richard Ingram, who organised the handicap, had a great leg 3 and Iain Glendinning ran the glory leg for the team in style, with the four of them completing the course in just over 4 hours and 9 minutes.
Only a minute behind Gryffindor was CVFR God Squad, captained by Todmorden firefighter and speedy runner, Shaun Godsman. The team of Matt Wray, Anthony Costello, Lindsey Oldfield and Shaun ran brilliantly, with Shaun running the third fastest on leg four in just over 52 minutes.

Outside Calder Valley’s handicap, the club’s Quads of Fury had an excellent run, finishing 10th overall. The four runners were evenly matched, each putting in a run of around an hour to complete the full relay in just over 4 hours and 7 minutes.
Other notable runs included Mark Goldie who made it round the course despite an old injury flaring up part-way round and Mike Clayton who ran the course in a vest and running shorts despite having just returned from a month in Australia.
Overall, the men’s relay was won by White Peak Fell Runners in an impressive 3 hours and 32 minutes, and the women’s by Ribble Valley in an excellent 4 hours and 5 minutes.

CVFR Lee Mill Relay Lee Shimwell – Photo by Mick Fryer

Position Team Overall time
10 CVFR QOF2 04:07:13
12 CVFR Gryffindor 04:09:15
14 CVFR God Squad 04:10:02
18 CVFR Eating Machines 04:12:44
20 Mud Slide Slim CVFR 04:18:06
21 CVFR Where’s Whittem? 04:19:30
27 CVFR The Boggart and The Beasts 04:27:10
30 CVFR Doctors Orders 04:31:51
36 CVFR Lords of the Dance 04:37:17
65 CVFR Ewer Turn 05:32:20
68 CVFR Ewes to be faster 05:54:46
72 CVFR The Complan Crusaders 06:10:00


Leg 1 runner Leg 1 time Leg 2 runner Leg 2 time
Paul Haigh 01:04:44 Dougie Zinis 01:00:46
Phil Scarf 01:06:38 Martin Howard 00:57:48
Matt Wray 01:03:23 Anthony Costello 01:08:00
Dave Hammond 01:04:04 Gavin Roper 01:11:09
Phil Wells 01:04:17 Toby Cotterill 01:04:22
Emma Smyth 01:17:35 Richard Sunderland 01:06:56
Ian Syminton 01:01:23 Jake Ackroyd 01:07:17
Jon Smith 00:57:36 Mark Goldie 01:21:08
Mike Clayton 01:03:17 Stuart Russel 01:07:53
Jackie Scarf 01:13:45 Jocasta Fletcher 01:39:34
Kate Pope 01:38:55 Gill Dickson 01:35:03
Mike Wardle 01:16:26 Bob Howard 01:25:07


Leg 3 runner Leg 3 time Leg 4 runner Leg 4 time
Gareth Clarke 01:00:22 Luke Meleschyo 01:01:21
Richard Ingram 01:05:17 Ian Glendinning 00:59:32
Lindsey Oldfield 01:06:10 Shaun Godsman 00:52:29
Iain Powell 01:01:04 Mark O’Connor 00:56:27
Ben Cliff 01:08:18 Giles Simon 01:01:09
Lee Shimwell 01:00:39 Helen Buchan 01:17:51
Ben Frechette 01:03:38 Karl Gray 00:51:21
Stephen Smithies 01:01:59 Toby Sydes 01:11:08
Mike Flatley 01:18:48 Daniel Baron 01:07:19
Christina Turner 01:15:07 Charlotte Wetton 01:23:54
Gloria Ayuso 01:22:49 Stella Chrisathom 01:17:59
Catherine Jones 01:54:47 Rod Sutcliffe 01:33:40


– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon