Autumn escapades

The Cautley Horseshoe: lucky for some.
The final chapter in the English National Fell champs was held by Howgill Harriers, with a race of only 4.6 miles with 800 vertical metres to get the calf muscles twitching.

The ladies ran first, with brave veteran Karon Forster taking on the challenge finishing 8th vet 50 and she got the pleasure of watching the lads wrestle through the river crossing, that had Gav Mulholland wearing water wings, just before the finish. The pressure was on with team and open medals at stake.
Ben Mounsey showed he’s not just a milner, as he took the crown on the first, hand grappling ascent and came home in another top 10 position in 8th.
Next in was Karl, putting to bed rumours of a 50th birthday by coming home in his new age, 18th and second vet only to Sir Rob Jebb. Karl is, again a national hero with first vet 45 and 2nd vet 40.

The Earl – Cautley river crossing

Next in was his long lost half brother Gavin Mulholland in 25th. Known for his kindness he only went and let old man Mark Roberts, former British champ, take him by 3 seconds and costing him a bronze in the vet 40 category, but cementing a bronze in the vet 45s. Alex Whittem was next in, waving to the crowds in his usual style with ‘high ho’ Shaun Godsman silver, in the vet 45s, front crawling to the finish alongside Darren Kay. That’s a one, two, three for the club in the Vet 45s English Champs, extremely rare, like the next lot of runnners, Mark ‘berty biscuit’ Burton, Mark Taylor and Stephen Edwards came home next. With two river crossings the great white shark, Mark O’Connor, gave his best, despite the lack of brine.

Special mention to Martin Howard who showed he can compete with the best finishing, just behind Shaun, after he parted the waves for him. Martin showed much climbing prowess today and it has been confirmed that he has tied for Gold in the u23s championship. He says he’s off out to the Accapulco wearing his bling and England vest. His father Bob Howard is very proud, adding that he better be home by 11.30.

In the club championships, there was another skirmish on the moors around Pule hill in the Ian Roberts memorial race held by Holmfirth Harriers.
Three of the lads finished in the top 10 with Jonny ‘chocks away’ Croston collected 1st vet honours. Phil Wells was next in, with Paul Haigh tussock trounced into 10th. For the ladies, Ann Holden took 2nd vet 40 followed up by Rachel Johnston Taking 2nd vet 50. While all of this was taking place Simon Ashton was on the prowl over Stainland way taking 3rd in their trail race. Some say he was just preparing himself for a strava segment raid whilst Mulholland and Mounsey seek pastures new.

CVFR Mens Team

Stepping it up just a little was Melvyn Ward who completed The Robin Hood 100 mile long distance race in an amazing time of 28hrs 44mins. I suspect he will need new shoes, and feet. Unfortunately there are now food shortages in the local area as he bids to replenish his body.

Auditioning for the sequel to king of the hill in the final stage of the King of the Mountains at Scafell were Calvin Ferguson, Blair Garrett, and Steve Stephen Smithies after having journeyed on their pilgrimage of the highest British Summits in Ben Nevis and Snowdon previously in the year.

And rumour has it, in a second day of racing over at the Embsay Bofra, Smithies went on to be crowned vet 50 champion as he took on the short blast up to the crag before circumnavigating back, packing 244m of climb into a neat 4.4km route. For the ladies, Jo Buckley managed to edge away from her competitors to take first female place.

And legendary violinist Holly Page played a mean fiddle to win bronze at the sky running world champs., the Ring of Steall Skyrace in Scotland. She said

“Absolutely DELIGHTED to win a bronze medal at the Skyrunning world champs and last race of the Salomon Running goldentrail series. I didn’t sleep until after 3am, woke up with a cold and was deliberating whether or not to start but I’m so very glad that I did.

Not even in the top 10 after the first climb I pulled through to 4th at the bottom of it then managed to somehow ward off the speedsters behind me and catch up one more place on the final climb to place 3rd.

It was awesome to have so many runners from different countries all experiencing the Scottish mud, tussocks and rocks and even some sunshine… loads of support on the course – sorry to anyone I grunted at… I was appreciating the cheers’

Sensation Holly Page – Ring of Steall Skyrace

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gav Mulholland

The off-road Yorkshireman

Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon and Half

Calder Women at the Yorkshireman start

As we leave the hot summer and short fast gala races behind and head towards the cooler autumn, the fell races get longer. Last Sunday was the Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon, over 26 miles around the hills of Haworth and the Worth valley. A favourite race for many Calder Valley Fell Runners, the Club posted some excellent results.

In the Marathon, ultra supremo, Kevin Hoult lead for the first half but was overtaken by Andrew Dobby (Harrogate Harriers) and Matthew Richardson (Saltaire Striders) to come in third place in 3hrs:29mins. Luke Meleschko came 9th. Andy Wright beat previous demons at this race getting 34th place in 4hrs:22mins. Calder’s women showed a great demonstration of team work, Stella Chrisanthou, Kate Pope, Gloria Ayuso, Elina Eady, Eileen McDonach and Gill Dickson all finished within two minutes of each other.

Calder men at the Yorkshireman start

Calder achieved similar good results in the Half marathon with Dougie Zinnis 7th place in 1:49:44. However it was the vets who got the top results with Andrew Davis 1st V60 in 2:10:27 and Kay Pierce 1st female V70 in 3:36:32.


Calder’s Marathon results
3rd Kevin Hoult 3:29:48
9th Luke Meleschko 3:49:20

Elina Eday at the Yorkshireman

34th Andrew Wright 4:22:51
90th Stella Chrisanthou 5:17:12
91st Kate Pope 5:17:18
92nd Gloria Ayuso 5:17:19
18th pair Elina Eady & Eileen McDonach 5:18:40
95th Gill Dickson 5:18:47
113th Diane Wright 5:36:26

Calder’s Half Marathon Results
7th Douglas Zinis 1:49:44
50th Damien Briscoe 2:06:01
58th Darren Earnshaw 2:07:54
68th Matt Kay 2:10:25
69th Andrew Davies 2:10:27
136th Gillian Wisbey 2:38:14
148th Christina Turner 2:40:56
201st Joanna Marshall 3:03:37
228th Kay Pierce 3:36:32
233rd Angela Richards 3:41:27
239th Genevieve Thompson 3:48:15

Lake District Mountain Trail.

A true test of mountain craft, the Lake District Mountain Trail provides competitors with a map and 11 locations marked on it. The challenge being to navigate quickly and accurately to all the points in order, covering some 25 miles and 10000ft of climbing in the process. The course took runners either side of the valley north of Grasmere as far as Dove Crag in the east to High Raise in the West. Phil Scarf, Bill Johnson and Steve Smithies all completed the long course, with Phil getting the best result in 37th place. Jackie Scarf was 1st female V50 in the medium course. Helen Buchan and Calvin Ferguson were 20th and 4th pair in the short course.

V50 women at Mountain Trial

U20 Junior Home International – Glendalough, Ireland

Martin Howard, wearing his England vest for the 1st time, came 13th in this race .

Yorkshire Downhill Time Trial

Last Saturday the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team put on the Inaugural Downhill Time Trial at the Havok Bike Park in Todmorden. As the name suggests it is a downhill only race with competitors taking it in turns to get down the hill while staying upright. All competitors having two attempts to get their best time.

Todmorden’s Annie Roberts won the women’s race in 7:53. Calder’s Charlotte Wetton was 3rd recording 9:49 on her first attempt. Rachel Johnson was 5th and Karon Foster was 9th.

Karon Foster DH time trial

Wharfdale’s Ted Mason won the men’s race in 6:23. Calder’s Steve Smithies was 8th in 7:41 on his second run, just beating Toby Cotterill to 9th after he recorded 7:42 on his first run. Martin Millard was 26th in 10:42

Toby Cotterill DH time trial

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

Ben10 Martin20

The weekend saw top performances from the red and white hoops with 4 outright wins secured locally and internationally, along with plenty other notable achievements thrown in too.

The infamous Ben Race, associated with a range of superlatives – oldest race, toughest race, most iconic race, the supreme test of fitness etc. took place last Saturday. At 14km, the route is basically up and down Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis with a gruelling 4400’ of ascent and is certainly not for the faint hearted. This year, it was also a British Champs counter. It attracted the usual field of 600 top athletes, all of whom had to qualify to enter. 14 of these were CV runners, including Ben Mousey who continued his usual outstanding performance, securing 10th place in an impressive time of 1:37:54.

Undeterred by The Ben, Ben then went on to finish 3rd at the BOFRA Burnsall Fell Race the day after, despite his very tired legs. And this was after his achievements 4 days before at Kilnsey Crag in which he finished 4th!

Said a tired Ben:

‘A busy week and my legs are in bits! Most pleased with Kilnsey and The Ben-I knocked about 30 secs off my PB at Kilnsey- only 24 secs separating the top 5. Ben at the Ben and coming top 10 is probably my best result all year, think my month in Italian Dolomites has done me good. I’ve got a crazy descent to thank for my position- loved it!’

Ben Mousey The Ben (courtesy Gwynfor James)

Whilst the top CV crew were digging deep with The Ben, 17 CV runners opted for the more relaxed option that day, Blackshaw Head Fell Race. Setting out from the village fete the 96 runners were cheered on their way by festival crowds enjoying the late summer sunshine. The 5.5 mile route then took in a series of steep climbs around the Colden valley totalling 900’ of ascent, interspersed with classic sections of wide open wilderness across Standing Stone Hill and Heptonstall Moor. Conditions were good under foot after the warm, dry summer. CV’s Alex Whittem certainly had the wind in his sails as he breezed his way to a commanding lead with a winning time of 36:41. The CV men also took home the Team prize (Alex Whittem, Shaun Godsman, Paul Haigh and Toby Cotterill). First lady back was Rebecca Patrick, of Tod Harriers, with Christina Turner first CV lady home.

This year also saw the first Junior fell race at Blackshaw Head and was attended by a good number of CV youngsters, all of whom did brilliantly. Harry Cliff was 1st in the U9s with Joe Rochester 3rd, Sam Annison 2nd in U11s, Patrick Casey 1st and Tom Owen 2nd in the U13s and Will Hall 1st in U15. Iris Palmer was first U17 girl.

Alex Whittem, Blackshaw Head winner (courtesy of Mick Fryer)


Sunday saw the club’s annual Castle Carr race weaving across Midgley Moor. At 15 miles with 4000′ ascent/descent over some very varied terrain, Castle Carr is a testing race and was used as a national championship counter in 2017.

Gav Mulholland (courtesy of Mick Fryer))

Starting and finishing at the Hare & Hounds in Old Town, the race passes through the idyllic Castle Carr estate, does a full circuit of the moors around it, dropping into local woods on the slopes above Mytholmroyd, and then crosses back through the estate to the finish. CV’s Gavin Mulholland made it look easy with an effortless win in 2:19:34, well over 10 minutes ahead of the next runner. CV scooped the men’s Team prize with Iain Powell and John Allen finishing 6th and 7th respectively. CV’s Genevieve Thompson also deserves a mention- relatively new to the club, she was determined to give it a go and did brilliantly with a time of 04:45:37.

Genevieve Thompson (courtesy of Mick Fryer)


Meanwhile, in the Lakes, CV Andy Swift was battling it out on the slopes of Skiddaw in the La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw. Approximately 44 mile fully waymarked, this ultra trail race takes in the beautiful Northern Lake District with a climb up the mighty Skiddaw at the approximate halfway point, giving a total of 7136’ of ascent. The route is almost entirely run on public footpaths and bridleways, starting and finishing at Lime House School near Dalston. This year, the race was a qualifier for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® giving 4 points. And Andy certainly achieved that, the clear winner in 6:35:40, over 30 minutes ahead of the second runner.

Andy Swift on the slopes of Skiddaw

CVFR club continues to produce some of UK’s leading talent, its latest recruit to the England stage being CV’s 19 year old Martin Howard. The British and Irish Junior Mountain Running Championships incorporating Home Counties International takes place in Gledalough, Ireland on 8th Sept and Martin has been selected to run for England in the Under 20s. It’s Martin’s first England junior vest and he has been competing consistently on the fells with several top 3 performances in 2018. The club is immensely proud of Martin and his achievements. Said proud dad, veteran CV Bob:

‘Martin wanted to join CVFR at 8 as he had already been on the Fells with me but at that time could only join at 10 and started competing in Junior fell races. He has always done well at a junior level and this year has taken his training to the next level. After several top 3 finishes in senior races this season he won the competitive Stoodley Pike Fell race with nearly a minute to spare. He also formed part of the winning CV team in the Calderdale Way Relay and got the prize for the first u23 at the English Championship race on the Isle of Man, the Sea to Summit.

Martin added ‘Calder Valley has some fantastic runners who have inspired me to push harder than ever this year. When you are in a team with runners the quality of Ben Mounsey, Karl Grey and Gavin Mulholland ( to name just 3) it helps you focus and see where you need to be to compete at an international level’

Martin Howard – Credit Woodentops

Meanwhile, CV’s Holly Page continues her epic international accomplishments, her latest win last Saturday at the Rut mountain 28k run, completing it in an incredible 3hrs 42 mins

The Rut 28K is an extremely challenging mountain run held in Idaho.  Not the typical 28k terrain, there are sections of this course,  which are extremely steep and technical with sections of exposure and potential rockfall hazard.  But despite this, a proud Holly said:

‘It was an incredible day at Run the Rut, winning my 3rd skyrace of the year!! I’m in a weird time warp so had breakfast at 2am, was worried about the crazy altitude but actually felt really strong’

Holly Page – Rut Run

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

A bumper bank holiday

It was a busy week and bank holiday weekend for Calder Valley with a great crop of results, which started on Wednesday, 22nd August, with Rossendale Harriers’ 2010 Golf Ball fell race – a five-mile slog through mud & rocks, complete with 900ft of ascent.

236 athletes ran & finished, including an excellent run by CVFR’s Alex Whittem to finish 3rd overall in an impressive 39 :51. In the V50 categories, excellent runs from both Carole Fryer and Mark Wharton, saw these two red & white hoops finish 1st FV50 (in 56 :12) and 2nd  MV50 in 46 :07 respectively.

Other noteworthy results in this mid-week series event included a close-run race between Calder Valley’s Johnny Croston (MV40) and Toby Cottrill (MSEN) – finishing with less than a minute between them at 27th and 33rd overall. Whilst Johnny Croston clinched may have clinched this race, Toby Cottrill’s storming set of recent runs sees him crowned the club’s new summer series king.  A 41st place for Romans Sustovs (in 45 :25) added a third race to his tally, taking him to 6th place in the men’s overall mid-week men’s summer series.

On Saturday, 26th, a number of the club’s runners were at Burnsall in the Yorkshire Dales for two different events.

First, both junior & senior competitors lined up in glorious running conditions for the both the Burnsall Classic Fell Race. Credited with being Britain’s oldest fell race, the senior route, whilst shorter than many, at 1.6 miles, still packs a serious punch. With its 899ft of climb this event is widely considered a ‘must’ on every serious fell runners to-do list.

Calder Valley’s Darren Kay ran a fantastic race to finish 6th overall & first V40 in 15 :41. Fellow CVFR V40, Johnny Croston also ran well, taking 15th overall & 3rd V40 in 17 :10.

Darren Kay – credit Dave Woodhead

For the ladies, another strong run from Helen Buchan, saw the club’s former ladies’ captain in second place in the ‘lung-busting ascent’ up to the summit behind fellow V40 runner Bingley Harrier’s Victoria Wilkinson (who subsequently broke the long-standing lady’s course record). However, she later slipped to fourth place overall in the ‘crazy descent’, still completing the course in a very respectable 22 :02.

Helen Buchan – Credit Debi Nicholson

To quote V40 Johnny Croston (who won a bottle of Leffe for finishing 4th), despite the ascent being a ‘real lung burner’, ‘the descent through the heather is good fun and treacherous at the same time’. His advice: ‘have someone get the pints in at the end’ to avoid the long queues at the Red Lion pub after the race!

Johnny Croston – Credit Dave Woodhead

Also in Burnsall, this time in the 10-mile road race, CVFR’s Matthew Ray ran a cracking race to finish 8th overall in an impressive 1 :03 :39. Fellow club member, Jon Smith came in just under 2 ½ minutes later to take 13th place overall & 6th in the MV40 category.

Matthew Ray – Credit Dave Woodhead

Saturday, 26th was also the date for the 3rd in the Kong mini mountain mini mountain marathon series. Several of the club’s runners paired up to compete for ‘a nice day out in the Lakes’ in Ambleside, in the latest of this year’s score events.

Over 170 individuals or pairs finished this this challenging and testing event, in which competitors choose their own route to various check points over fell, moorland & trail – trying to score the maximum number of points in the four-hour time frame, with tough penalties imposed for runners who return late. This weekend the weather did not play ball, and the summer heatwave felt like a dim & distant memory, as those taking part battled incessant rain and 40-mph winds to complete the course.

All of CVFR’s competitors were in V40 categories – with the best result from the pairing of Tim Brooks & James Cooke who ranked 65th overall – and the highest scoring MV40 pair – finishing in 4h 7mins & 33 secs, with a score of 479 (-11 time-penalty). Running alone, CVFR’s Stuart Russell came 67th overall, finishing in 3h 32 minutes with a score of 270 points. The pairing of Phill Beechcroft & Simon Fisher also scored 270, but finished in 3h 49 mins & 11 secs to come 69th overall.

In the XV40 category, Catherine Holden & Richard Sunderland managed to amass an impressive number of controls. However, having mistimed their race strategy, came in 115th overall, thanks to a 120-point time penalty for finishing 22 minutes & 40 seconds over the 4h time limit, causing their score to drop to 220 points.

In addition, on Sunday 28th August, Halifax Harriers organised the Tour of Norland. Here, 63 hardy runners competed in very wet conditions in this 6.3-mile race, with its 886ft of ascent. Veteran runner Anthony Costello was the only Red-&-White hooped competitor, finishing a strong 35th overall & 5th MV55 runner in a respectable 50:28.  

Anthony Costello- credit Mick Fryer

Trophies & Crowns:

CVFR’s Carole Fryer, was crowned winner of the FV50 category for the Pendle and Burnley Grand Prix. This latter comprises a series of fell, road and trail races over the summer. Each athlete’s best 9 from 14 races count towards the overall rankings. Carole Fryer was presented with her trophy at an awards night at Burnley Football Club.

Further afield, Calder Valley’s Matthew Roberts won the legendary Rèinigeadal Fell Race. Measuring in at just shy of 8 miles, with a whopping 2800ft of climb, this annual classic on the rugged east coast of the wild Hebridean island of Harris forms part of the Isle’s Mountain Festival. It follows the old Postman’s round from Urgha to the tiny hamlet of Rheinigeadale – a route still walked by the postman up until a road was built in the late 90s. It then climbs, before dropping steeply to the coast at Loch Trolamaraig, and then traverses the sea cliffs to Rheinigeadale – to later return via the same route.

Wales-based CVFR member led from the off – in an albeit small but friendly race field – eventually winning by an astounding 6 minutes, in 62 mins – a whopping 5mins inside the race record. Prizes were as quirky as the post-race presentation by organiser Stuart Simpson (photo of Matthew Roberts holding aloft his first-place ‘trophy’).

Matthew Roberts – credit Luke Pettitt

Something lighter:

Finally, CVFR’s Holly Page idea of ‘saving her legs’ & replacing competing in both of this weekend’s extra mountain marathons in the international sky running series (in which she currently ranks in the top 5) was to instead opt, at the last minute, to compete in her very first triathlon, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Despite the prestigious Mont Blanc International Triathlon being full and although she had never competed at swimming at all, the British international trail racer’s 2012 Duathlon Gold Medal to convince organisers to allow her a last-minute entry.

Having ‘survived’ the 1-mile swim in an eight-euro costume bought on the way to the race (whilst everyone else was kitted out with wetsuits in the extremely inclement mountain weather), Page unfortunately suffered a puncture only 50m into the cycling section of the race (on a bike bought on Ebay & picked up on her way to the Alps). After losing half an hour, the race was on (quite literally) to get to the start of the running section before the cut off time – a feat Holly managed with ease. Her subsequent, & extremely impressive 38m 10km run (not least on the back of a 45km bike ride, and a mile swim, took her well & truly back into the race. In fact, had she not had the puncture, Page would have finished 2nd. Not bad for a first attempt at a triathlon during a rest week!

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones