CW Relay and Ultra Beasts

The Calderdale Way Relay was held last Sunday.  A six stage, off road race around the district’s boundary, with each stage run in pairs.  It’s the Country’s largest off road relay with 1200 people taking part.  Calder Valley Fell Runners have won the race in 4 out of the last 6 years so were hotly tipped to win again.  There has been stiff competition in recent years from the Wharfedale and Barlick teams.

CVFR C team, B team and Ladies team at the sa=tart of Leg 2, Hinchcliffe Arms

The men’s A team made a fast start with Tim Ellis and Andy Swift finishing leg 1 at Cragg Vale two minutes ahead of Barlick and four minutes ahead of Wharfdale.  Old man Shaun Godsman and young buck Martin Howard came into Todmorden still ahead but Wharfedale had closed the gap to two minutes.  Both teams had dropped Barlick by this point and it was now all to run for between Calder and Wharfdale.

Johny Croston and Pual Haigh (with Baton) CWR leg 4 Jerusalem Farm

The short, fast leg 3 to Blackshaw Head was next and Wharfdale just overtook Calder’s James Louge and Mark O’Connor at the end to start leg 4 with an eight second lead.  Wharfedale now played their joker, top runners Sam Watson and Ted Mason who pulled away from Calder’s Johny Croston and Paul Haigh to take the lead by more than 7 minutes at the Wainstalls handover.  Mark Taylor and Mark Burton couldn’t catch Wharfdale on the leg to Shelf leaving wonder pair Karl Gray and Gavin Mullholland 11 minutes to make up on the last leg back to Copley.

Putting in the fastest leg 6 of the day Gray and Mullholland only managed to pull 3 minutes back and CVFR had to make do with 2nd place this year.  Wharfedale 6 hours and 23 seconds for the 50 mile loop and Calder Valley Fell Runners 6 hours, 8 minutes and 53 seconds.

Calder Valley Ladies were 8th women’s team and 71st overall with Natasha Butterfield and Helen Buchan putting in a strong anchor leg to come 27th overall.  The men’s B team came in 17th place with Dougie Zinnis and Steve Edwards 5th place on the short fast leg 3.  Zinnis’s recent Bob Graham Round hasn’t slowed him down.  Calder’s mixed C team were 74th with Andy Wright and Blair Garrett 45th on leg 3.

Ultra Trail Snowdonia

The previous weekend Andy Wright and Ian Illstone took on the challenge of the Ultra Trail Snowdonia described as “Beautiful Beyond Belief.  Savage Beyond Reason.” This 50 mile (85km) route has 5,100m of climb.  A vertical parkrun.  The race was a counter in Calder Valley’s Ultra Championships.  The expected finish times reflect how this compares to regular 50 mile runs.  The winner is expected to come in around the 12 hour mark, with most finishers taking more like 20 hours and some 30 hours to complete the course.

The route start in Llanberis at 5am, takes in a few hill before heading up Snowdon.  For the first time.  A few more hills to Bedgellert and a long runnable stretch before a final climb up the rocky Y Lliwedd and onto Snowdon for the second time.

Andy’s knee started hurting fairly early on in the race but, eschewing the trekking poles of most other competitors, he found a suitable stick which helped him along nicely.  Illstone and Wright ran together the whole route, finishing shortly after dusk in 17 hours 28 minutes and 50th place.  The winner was Josh Wade in 11hours and 20 minutes, a new course record.

Sedburgh

In the senior race Calder’s Darren Kay and Charlie Ing were 2nd and 3rd behind Mercia’s Simon Bailey, winner of the recent Coiners Race.  Steve Smithies was 12th and 1st V50 with James Louge 13th.

Old Counties Tops

The Old County Tops Fell Race covers 37 miles and involves around 10,000 feet of ascent.  The exact distance and amount of ascent are dependent on the route you choose!  The Race starts in Great Langdale and takes in the tops of Helvellyn, Scafell Pike  and Coniston before returning to Great Langdale.  Calder Valley’s John Allen ran the route in 8 hours 51 minutes.  That mustn’t have been hard enough for him as the next day he ran the 13 mile route of the classic Langdale Horseshoe in 3 hours 30 minutes!

Ultra Trail Snowdonia

Andy Wright had never done an Ultra run before so decided that a good starting place would be the most brutal 50 miler that Snowdonia could muster.  Below he describes his experience at the 2019 UTS50

The Idea

For some time now I’ve been keen to try my hand at an Ultra, though some level of depravaity led me to decide to start my Ultra journey by picking a race as brutal as the UTS50.   The seed had been sown 12 months previously when a group of us met race organiser Michael Jones during our Welsh 3000s challenge.  I’m sure he did mention something about tough climbs etc, but all I heard was “top quality coffee at all the check points” and so it was that I’d signed up and began training. Continue reading

Howard takes top spot

The week saw a packed and busy itinerary for both CVFR juniors and seniors, ranging from 3.3 miles to 62 miles. In the offing was a mid week run in Todmorden (the Orchan Rocks), the junior Lothersdale race, a Bob Graham round and the popular club race, the Coiners, hosted by the club itself. And, as ever, the red and white stripes scooped up a range of prizes along their way.

Orchan Rocks, a short 3.3 mile race, was first run in 2014. Starting a couple of miles outside Todmorden, it’s a short sharp blast of a race on some fast, grassy paths. Going up the Knotts Cliffs, the route does a quick loop around the Orchan Rocks before descending back the same way. Calder Valley’s Martin Howard was the overall winner with a time of 22:31 Said Martin: ‘This is a great little race and I’d love to come back next year to try and take the course record’ 

Martin Howard, Orchan Rocks winner (photo: Mick Fryer)

And another name is to be added to the club’s Bob Graham Round plaque. Dougie Zinis put in a sterling effort to complete the BG challenge in an incredible 20 hours 27 minutes. The BG is an infamous fell running challenge in the Lake District. This gruelling 66 miles route, involving 27,000ft of climbing over 42 Lakeland peaks requires a completion time within 24 hours to make it into the BG hall of fame. Supported by a number of CV team mates, Dougie appeared remarkably refreshed and at relaxed at the end of his incredible feat.

Dougie Zinis, with some of his CV support crew (L- R Andy Swift, Dougie Zinis, Ian Glendinning and Martin Howard)

Other achievements over the Bank Holiday weekend included Nicki Latham and Jocasta Fletcher securing 1st Ladies team prize on the bike/ run 2 day OMM lite on Cannock Chase. They biked 37kms and ran 24km, whilst navigating, over the 2 days.

Coiners Fell Race, organised for the first time by Stella Chrisanthou, also had a strong CVFR turn out both as participants and marshals. The scenic 6 mile loop with 967ft of climb takes in Coiner’s country on paths, tracks & moorland. It goes over Erringden Moor, Stoodley Pike and Bell House Moor, offering spectacular views of Cragg Vale and passing by the old coiners cottages of Bell House and Keelam. The overall winner was Simon Bailey from Mercia in 44:12. CV’s Natasha Butterfield (2nd lady), Trudi Entwistle and Rachel Johnstone took the Women’s Team prize. It’s clear where junior speedsters Clara and Thomas McKee get their running genes from as mum, Trudi Entwistle, flew round the course finishing 3rd lady. Mark O’Conner was first CV home.

Coiners Women’s Team winners: (L-R Trudi Entwistle, Natasha Butterfiels, Rachel Johnstone)

Last Tuesday saw the first of the club’s ‘Have a Go’ session. This is an opportunity for people to have a go at fell running and sample the delights of CVFR club. The club welcomed at least 15 new people, all keen and eager to experience the joys of fell running. The next Have a Go session is on Tues 14th May, 6.45pm at Mytholmroyd Community Centre. If you can run at least 3 miles, just turn up with grippy trainers and your biggest smile. For more info contact gillhdickson@gmail.com

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

Its time to …..

AT FELL RUNNING

TUESDAY 30 APRIL AND 14 MAY.
6.45PM AT MYTHOLMROYD COMMUNITY CENTRE

If you can run at least 3miles/5kms do come and join us. We are a friendly club catering for all abilities. Mud and fun guaranteed. Bring your grippy trainers, a waterproof and your biggest smile. 

Email Gill Dickson for more details gillhdickson@gmail.com

And read Kate’s real life story on how she got hooked on fell running …

“It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when I didn’t run. And there was a time when driving over the tops with the expanse of moors stretching away  on either side, gave me the heebie -jeebies. Our moors always seemed desolate to me. Too empty. Too unknowable. I was happy in the valley thanks very much. Right at the bottom; on the flat.

In the summer of 2014, as a mother of 3, I felt old, achey, heavy. Unfit. That summer my cousin talked about a half Marathon she’d just run. New to running, she told me how she’d started out with a Couch to 5K podcast. My cousin is slim and gorgeous and I was still carrying my baby weight, but I thought, why not me? 

I started in secret. Even my husband didn’t know the first few times I went out. I went out early so I would see as few people as possible. That first time I ran for a minute and a half. 9 weeks later I could run for 30 minutes. It made me so happy. With small children it’s impossible to do anything fast and it was a delight to move at speed. I soon worked out that I couldn’t avoid the hills forever. The first time I made it up to Stoodley Pike I called my Mum from the top.

I could manage about 6 miles when I joined the Calder Valley Fell Runner’s ‘Back to the Fells’ in the spring of 2015. Everyone was very welcoming, and very encouraging as we struggled up our first climb. It turned out that walking the steep bits was perfectly acceptable! I remember the incredible copper light on the heather up at Crow Hill, and the feeling of the soft boggy ground under my feet as we descended. 

Running that first year I discovered that being out in sideways sleet, on the tops, through bogs, in the dark, in fact in anything that might put a sensible person off, gives you a lovely feeling that you’re beating the system. That you’re embracing the elements and the seasons and nothing can stop you! For years I’d suffered with SAD, but not any more.

All smiles at the local Stoodley Pike Fell Race.

In 2016 a group of CVFR friends helped me to celebrate my 40thbirthday by seeing sun set on Pendle Hill, and running through the night to see it rise at Stoodley Pike. I’d said I wanted to hit the ground running at the beginning of my 40thyear. We’ve had bigger and better adventures together since. Half Marathons, Marathons, Mountain Marathons, Lakeland races, our first Ultra. We talk each other into things and don’t like to miss out. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) at its best. 

The club is made up of a whole spectrum of runners. We have elite runners who run with a GB vest (the likes of Ben Mounsey and Holly Page and the U23 champion Martin Howard),  serious racers and the more social, fun fell runners. But we’re all united by the love of running, and of where we run. 

Do you want to experience the joys of fell running too? Come along to one of CVFR’s Have a Go sessions; Tues 30thApril and Tues 14thMay. 6.45pm at Mytholmroyd Community Centre. You’ll need to be able to run at least 5kms. You’ll need grippy trainers, a waterproof jacket and a smile. Contact gillhdickson@gmail.comfor further info.

If you’re not up to running 5kms just yet, why not build up your distance and fitness with the Couch to 5k programme then join a local Parkrun? (There’s one in Shroggs Park, Halifax). And before you know it, you’ll be hitting our local fells and signing up to lots of crazy new adventures!”