On and off the fells

On the fells this weekend, red & white-hooped runners Stuart Russell & Calvin Ferguson competed at Bleasdale Circle Fell Race on Saturday 16th February. This five-mile race from Bleasdale Parish Hall, includes 1250 feet of climb to Paddy’s Pole, and Parlick, before a steep & technical descent to the last 2km along track & across farmland. 

A fast-race in dry conditions made for some great running, veteran runner Russell finished 56th overall in 48 minutes 51 seconds and Ferguson 93rd in 54:48.

Away from the fells, on Sunday 16th February two of CVFR’s ladies took part in races in the grounds of Yorkshire’s historic Harewood House. Competing in the popular off-road half-marathon along an extremely hilly route along trails, tracks, through fields & up steep forest inclines, Heather Pritchard ran a strong race to finish the 13.1 miles in 2h07 & 50 seconds. In the 10km, one of CVFR’s newest club members, Abbi Fernley finished in 1:02:22 – despite starting right at the back of the queue & having to battle past the fun runners. 

Also running a half marathon this weekend, CVFR’s Elliot Corner flew the CVFR flag at the Great Northwest half, finishing his 13.1 miles with a personal best time of 1hr 22min, & placing a noteworthy 20th overall. 

Further away from home, Calder Valley’s international runner, Holly Page, competed in 15th Coastal Challenge race along Costa Rica’s tropical Pacific coastline. Having run through jungle, rainforest and across mountain trails, as well as along single tracks across ridge lines, through highlands and coastal ranges; beaches, rocky outcroppings, reefs, and river and estuary crossings, the final leg of this race this last weekend saw runners finishing on Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, in Corcovado National Park – a Unesco World Heritage site – in a fishing village until recently only accessible by boat. 

As the top six runners had a staggered start, the last leg of this race is unusual in that none of them really know how well they were doing in comparison to each other. Holly reports how rather bizarrely despite having already completed 200+km of running, her legs still felt good. She was not only the first runner to cross the line – holding off the other top-5 runners and catching all those who were ahead of her at the beginning of this last leg, but in the process she also set a new stage course record (in addition to her female course record on stage 4) –  ‘a nice way to end an awesome week with wonderful people in wild surroundings – so many great memories!

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

Busy few days for the hoops

Alex Whittem & Jon Smith in fine form at Windy Hill

CVFR teamwork wins out on Windy Hill
With Storm Erik forecast this weekend, Windy Hill Fell Race lived up its name. Seven CVFR lined up at Hollingworth Lake, for this popular, 9 mile race which climbs 1281 feet over the Pennine Moors with fast runnable tracks, and a memorable ascent. 

Calder Valley men worked well together to scoop the first men’s (Alex Whittem, Jon Smith, Elliot Corner) and third men’s (Michael Hyde, Stephen Smithies, Darren Earnshaw) team prizes. 

Alex Whittem was 5th overall in his first race back in a while and Jon Smith, 9th, also winning 1st V40 prize. 

Ribble Valley’s Chris Holdsworth, continued his winning form to take top spot on Windy Hill in 57:12 mins. Lindsay Brindle, Horwich RMI Harriers, was first female (17th overall)

Doctor’s Gate Fell Race
Calder Valley’s club champion, Jonny Croston ran well to finish in the top five at the tough 12 mile Doctor’s Gate Fell Race, which starts and finishes in Glossop, with over 2,800ft of climbing. 

Future Bright for Night Score
Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge were the dual settings for the inaugural CVFR urban night score event this week. Jonathon Emberton employed his considerable orienteering expertise to devise this challenging introduction for his club mates. It proved extremely popular, with juniors and seniors across the age (and navigation skills) spectrum, dusting off their road shoes, and braving the rain to take part in this two centre event. 

Nicki & Jocasta looking well pleased with themselves

A mass start saw calder valley runners (and some Tod harriers) race to find the 11 compulsory, linear controls in Mytholmroyd before dashing to Hebden Bridge. Relying on honesty, a total of 31 points were now up for grabs across 18 controls, including up in Heptonstall, for those skilled enough to make it back to club HQ within the allotted 90 minutes. An added option to grab three extra controls on their way provided further intrigue. 

In a hard fought contest, CVFR’s James Logue took first place, back four minutes ahead, though tied at 51 points with three other veteran category runners (Chris Goddard (Tod Harriers), James Williams, Iain Powell). Martin Howard, showed his navigational prowess, in first men’s solo class (6th overall). Catherine Holden and Richard Sunderland took first mixed pair (11th overall), Dougie Zinnis and Luke Meleschko first male pair (13th overall), and Jocasta Fletcher and Nicky Latham, first women’s pair (23rd overall).

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

Sunny, Snowy Trog

On Saturday it was all hands on deck as Jake Ackroyd (race organiser) called upon CVFR members to volunteer and man the various check points around the valley. The fun starts from the cricket club in Old Town, covering 31km and 1111m of climb over a snow covered course, taking in the moors over to Warley reservoir, over to Cock Hill where you then  do a loop of Wadsworth Moor and Bronte territory to Walshaw and Shackleton knoll before returning back via Lumb hole waterfall and across Midgely Moor to the finish.Some of Yorkshire and England’s finest talent were out to build up their strength for the coming fell running season.

A very happy looking Helen out in the snowy conditions


Jack Wood of Ilkley was first back in 2.36 with Karl Gray, the course record holder, first vet and 4th placed overall.  Ultra runner Kevin Hoult was next in for the club and young Martin Howard, after a good first half, took on a crampathon, still coming home in 43rd place.
On the ladies side, Sharon Taylor had a massive gap on her competitors going sub 3 hours, with ultra running vet 50 Nicky Spinks first vet. First local lass was CVFR and Lancashire County runner Helen Buchan. Over 160 runners participated in all.

On Sunday, from Langsett barn in the Dark Peaks, Mark Burton was first home for the club coming third overall in the Mickleden Straddle, just under 10 mins of England International Chris Holdsworth.  Some of the other CVFR in attendance included, Andy Thorpe 10th, Phil Wells 21st, Dan Marden 29th and Andy Wright 31st.  For the ladies, sarah Hodgson was done in 2.04 with our own Elina Eady and Eileen McDonach coming home in 2.53 and 2.56 respectively. 

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gav Mulholland

Thirza & Hyde

Huge Thanks to CVFR’s Membership Maestro Thirza Hyde

Thirza in full flight

Thirza Hyde has been Calder Valley Fell Runner’s membership secretary for the last 20 years and is handing on the baton to take up her new roles as joint co-ordinator of the club juniors and on the CVFR committee. This is a great opportunity for the club to thank Thirza for her hard work and dedication, during which time CVFR has seen successful growth in membership for both seniors and juniors.

Bill Johnson, CVFR chairman summed up Thirza’s contribution: “Thirza has been the heartbeat of the club for 20 years. Without her unwavering enthusiasm and energy, the club would not be what it is today. Thirza is a shining example of someone who dedicates hours of their time, on behalf of others, for no thought of reward. We are lucky to have had her as CVFR membership secretary for two decades. And now the CVFR juniors will continue to benefit from that enthusiasm and energy as she directs more of both those talents on the juniors who form the future of the club.”

CVFR’s Rod Sutcliffe remembers Thirza in the ‘early’ days working hard to grow the membership, particularly among women, spending time to encourage ‘unattached’ fell runners in races to become proud Calder Valley club members.

Thirza centre_21st Anniversary Run 04-11-07 (High Brown Knoll 6)

Regularly going above and beyond the call of duty, Bill Johnson recalls Thirza and club mates spending many hours making ‘sheep’ batons for the British Relay Championships, hosted by CVFR at Castle Carr. These unusual batons were greeted with much hilarity when each competing team was given them to carry round the relay event.

Clare Kenny, Thirza, Rose Carnochan, Amanda Farrell.

As well as enjoying success as a runner (five times ladies club champion in a decade), our CVFR club archivist, John Riley also found a great deal of evidence of Thirza’s penchant for fancy dress.

Thirza at CVFR Club do Jan 2012

Jo Waites, a fellow CVFR runner remembers fondly, the early starts and arrivals at races, as she benefitted from Thirza’s fell-running experience, fuelled by copious tea and egg sandwiches.

Calder Valley are still benefitting from Thirza’s experience as she works with Andy Clarke and the club juniors and contributes to the committee. Trudy, a CVFR parent commented: “Thirza’s familiar personality starts the junior sessions off with a smile and enthusiasm ready to run the calder hills. For them she is the face of CVFR. Thanks for getting us organised Thirza!”

Thirza, once confused as ‘ Tizer’, may also pursue her new-found talent for photobombing, as experienced first-hand by top cyclist Mark Cavendish at the launch of the 2018 Tour De Yorkshire. You have been warned!

Thirza photobombing Mark Cavendish

The future is bright. The future is red and white. Thank you Thirza, for everything you have done for CVFR (so far).