A stacked race calendar and success for both Calder and Yorkshire

The infamous Calderdale Relay happened last Sunday, attracting a field of over 1000 competitors. Comprising of 6 sections totalling 51 miles, the race takes in all the hills, moors and valleys of Calderdale. It is an ‘up and down’ journey with few level sections in and around Halifax, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden and is run in pairs. Following old packhorse ways across the open gritstone hillsides with sections of traditional stone causeway, passing through hillside villages and old mill towns on the banks of the River Calder, the appeal of the route is obvious, particularly on a fine, sunny Sunday in May. 

Leg 3 finishers and starters: Rachel Johnson, Jackie Scarf, Charlotte Wetton, Jo Marshal, Ellie Eady, Eileen MacDonach (Photo: Angela Richards)

Always a popular club event, this year CV fielded 6 teams of 12, enabling 72 of its runners to join in the fun. And, keeping with tradition, CV emerged victorious with its Men’s A Team (Ben Mounsey & Andy Swift, Shaun Godsman & Alex Whittem, Mark O’Connor & Martin Howard, Ian Symmington & Tim Ellis,  Mark Taylor & Steve Edwards,  Tom Collinge & Gav Mullholland) the clear winner by over 8 minutes, completing the 51 miles circuit between them in 06:07:30. This was despite a number of them running on weary legs after  competing in the inter-counties champs the previous day!

CV Mens A Team (L-R Mark O’Connor, Mark Taylor, Shaun Godsman, Martin Howard, Ben Mounsey, Tom Collinge, Gav Mullholland, Stephen Edwards

Said CV’s top fell runner Ben Mounsey, who ran leg 1 with County winner, Andy Swift:

“I’m currently nursing a torn hamstring…but despite that, I’m absolutely delighted to win the Calderdale Way Relay with Calder Valley for the 5th time in 8 years – an amazing team effort! Big congrats and respect to Wharfedale and Barlick, for finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively. It was a very competitive race and entertaining to watch from start to finish. And of course, a HUGE thanks to Nick Small and his Halifax Harrier team, for organising another fantastic event. Please can you book the weather again for next year!?!”

And the prizes didn’t stop there. CV’s Mixed A Team bagged the 2nd mixed team prize (James Carter & Lee Shimwell, Jo Buckley & Jo Waites, Joanne Stevens & Catherine Holden, Mark Goldie & Bill Johnson, Lucy Collins & Gayle Sugden, Johny Croston & Luke Meleschko) with an impressive overall time of 07:19:58.

The 2 Captains did an excellent job of organising the teams and matching the pairs, many of whom uncannily ran their predicted times as calculated by club stats guru, Andy Wright. Outstanding performances were noted across all the CV teams. But some pairs exceeded their predictions significantly, such as Eileen MacDonach and Ellie Eady of the mixed C Team who smashed their anticipated time by 5 minutes when they ran leg 3 from Todmorden to Blackshawhead. 

Said Carolyn Shimwell, ladies captain who shared the huge task of co-ordinating 72 CV runners with Men’s captain, Shaun Godsman:

“Shaun and I are really proud of how the club came together to allow 6 teams to get out and run at the relay.  Everyone showed amazing team spirit and we all had a great day! We are extra proud of the men’s A team who came first overall and our mixed A team who came second in their category!

Shaun Godsman & Alex Whittem (Men’s A Team, Leg 2) (photo: Mick Fryer)

CV runners featured prominently in the inter-counties competition last Saturday at the Lads Leap race in the Peak District (3 of them then ran in the relay the next day!). Top athletes Andy Swift, Gav Mullholland, Helen Buchan and Jason Williams all took part, representing their home counties. Helen swapped her white rose for red, Jason Wiliams represented Leicestershire and Gav Mulholland Northern Ireland. But Andy Swift proved White Rose county is the one to run for, with him and his fellow Yorkshiremen effortlessly winning gold.  

Catherine Holden Kildwick V40 Winner

With the Club Champs in full swing, numerous CV descended on Keighley last Wednesday for the Kildwick race. A short but steep route of 3.7 miles and 800ft of climbing saw 114 runners gather at the start line, 13 of which were CV runners. CV’s young Martin Howard had an excellent run, easily securing 2nd place, in 26:19, 10 seconds behind winner Neal Crampton from Pudsey and Bramley.  And CV also claimed the LV40 prize with the speedy Catherine Holden making it look so easy in 34:03.  

Martin Howard Kildwick 18

Saturday saw 18 eager CV youngsters having a go at a Club Champ race, the 5th in this year’s series. Malham Kirby Fell Race is a typically steep and short Dales route on hard dry ground at Malham Kirkby. All routes were out and back and up and down. All CV juniors did brilliantly, and did the club proud. CV’s mini athlete, Clara McKee did her usual outstanding performance and won the U9 race outright, with Harry Cliffe second and first boy.

Harry and Clara Malham Kirkby

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson