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