Holden poised for ‘double double’ in the CVFR women’s Champs

With all to play for in the CVFR club championships, Saturday’s Lost Shepherd Fell Race was an important counter. Despite its category BL status, this challenging, partially flagged, 15 mile race packs plenty of ascent (2690ft) with nine checkpoints over local open moor and footpath (including Stoodley Pike twice!). 

CVFR’s Simon Fisher, race organiser reported that 76 runners lined up, with Saddleworth runners’ Chris Philips first man back and Todmorden Harriers’ Annie Roberts first woman. Money raised goes to local charities, the Good Shepherd Church and CROWS, Community Rights of Way Service. 

Calder Valley’s women put in great individual performances to win ladies team prize (Catherine Holden, Stella Christanthou and Charlotte Wetton). 

Catherine Holden at the Lost Shepherd Credit Ian Symington

Stella Christanthou at the Lost Shepherd Credit Ian Symington

Charlotte Wetton at the Lost Shepherd Credit Ian Symington



Catherine Holden also took first FV40 spot and commented “It was a great race actually. Obviously the weather helped, but a gorgeous route. Very runnable despite a couple of killer hills, especially the second ascent to Stoodley.” 

With a full set of CVFR Champs counter races under her belt, Catherine looks poised to ‘do the double’ for the second year running and win the women’s and FV Champs trophies. The top spot in the Club Champs, currently residing with James Cooke is also up for grabs. All will be revealed in Andy Wright’s next club championship update, when official results are collated. Suspense is mounting…

Over in Todmorden, at the Havoc mountain bike track, CVFR’s Martin Howard threw himself down the Yorkshire Downhill Time Trial in impressive fashion this weekend. 

With 524ft of descent (and only 131ft ascent) this fast, short course is described as 1.5km of mixed terrain – moorland, woodland and banked turns for extra pace! Martin Howard flew down to take the win and posted: “Had so much fun at the Yorkshire Downhill Time Trial hosted by Calder Valley Mountain Rescue. Managed to take the win and set a new course record, taking it off the legendary descender Ted Mason.”

Calder Valley’s Anthony Costello also had a great run to finish sixth in Keighley and Craven’s short, 3 mile Beefy’s Nab Fell Race this Sunday.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

Yorkshireman is always a favourite

This weekend was another bumper one in the fell-runner calendar. As usual, Sunday’s Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon was particularly popular with the red & white hoops. A number of the club’s runners took on this year’s full & half-marathon routes in the sunshine across the local hills, through bogs & mud.

Lucy – credit Dave Woodhead

Calder Valley’s Lucy Collins ran a fantastic 13.1-mile half marathon race, to finish in 1h57:52 – 10th overall & a full 4.5 minutes ahead of the second-placed female runner. Other notable results in the half marathon include Darren Earnshaw and Andrew Davies, who finished 26th overall (7th in the MV40 age category) & 80th overall (5th MV60) respectively.

Iain Illstone & Paul Haigh – credit Mick Fryer

In the full marathon, Dan Marsden was the first CVFR runner to cross the line – finishing the 26.2-mile route, with its 1,000m of ascent, in the top 15 overall & the top 10 in his age category. For the men, John Allen, Ben Cliff also ran strongly, finishing 33rd, 53rd (22nd MV40). In the women’s full marathon, Kate Pope of Calder Valley (79th overall) finished 5th FV40, closely followed by Gloria Aysuo & Christina Turner in joint 7th place. In the full marathon pairs, Paul Haigh & Iain Illstone not only ran well but managed to keep a smile on their faces nearly the whole way around – & finished an impressive 2nd place for the pairs race, in just over four hours.

CVFR on the YORM – credit Mick Fryer

Slightly further away from home, also on Sunday 8th September, Anthony Costello flew the red & white stripped flag for Calder Valley at the 2019 Bradley fell race, finishing the 3.5 miles with its 900ft of climb 27th overall & 5th in the MV50 category.

Further away again, this time in the Lake District & on Saturday, 7th September, a number of the club’s more serious racers competed in the English Championships counter the Derek Price Memorial Grisedale Horseshoe race. As a traditional fell race, runners must choose their own route over just shy of 10 miles between check points in this tough AM race. With its 1525m of climb across rough mountainous terrain, this race is well-known for its poor weather conditions. This year, however, it was the heat that posed more of a challenge than the more usual, rain, clag & mist.

CVFR’s Adam Osborne was the first red & white hopped runner across the finish line in 12th position overall (3rd M40) in 1h53:49. CVFR not only secured an impressive 1st, 2ndplaces in the MV45 age category with Karl Grey (19th place overall) finishing in 1h56:06, closely followed by Darren Kay (25th overall) in 1h58:42, but with good runs by Shaun Godsman & Mark Taylor had four of the first six finishers in this age category. U23 runner Martin Howard also ran well in a tough field to finish in the top five in this, the youngest age category for this tough race (65th overall).

Finally – & further away again – this time in Scotland: Saturday, 7th September, saw three of the club’s hardiest runners – Stephen Smithies, Helen Buchan and Blair Garrett – take on the infamous Ben Nevis 4000 race. Veteran runners Stephen Smithies & Helen Buchan both ran exceptionally well to finish in 2h13:46 & 2h47:12 & place (107th & 321st overall respectively). Given the heat and sunshine, many runners recorded slower times than hoped for the 46-km race, with its 4100m of climb on the UK’s most iconic mountain & highest point. Garrett, however, was delighted to buck this trend, finishing over four minutes faster than his 2018 time (312th overall). He commented how the ‘unusually clear’ conditions afforded the runners ‘sensational views’ on the way up but most were no doubt too focused on ‘scree surfing and navigating death defying rocks’ on the way down to appreciate the amazing panoramas.

Blair Garrett, Helen B & Stephen S – no credit

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

UTMB Local Hereo’s

Two neighbours from a small hamlet in Calder Valley finished 1st Brits in 2 of the toughest mountain races in the world this week.

The 2 CV runners took to the global stage in the ever impressive UTMB challenge.  Attracting trail runners from all over the world, each year elite runners gather in  Chamonix alongside almost 10,000 other runners keen to participate in one of the event’s 7 races.

Holly Page preparing for the UTMB CCC

Calder Valley’s Holly Page ran in the UTMB CCC race, a unique trail race now deemed one of the most prestigious in the world. Taking runners deep into wilderness using for the most the international path “Grande Randonnée du Tour du Mont-Blanc’ this 101km mountain race, requires serious training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy.

Holly Page UTMB CCC

Holly was the first Brit back finishing in an incredible 9th place in 13:56. 

Her hometown neighbour and fellow CV runner, Simon Bourne, raced the TDS event, completing the gruelling 147km course in 25:30 after climbing the equivalent of Everest. He too was first Brit back. Said an exhausted but smiling Simon:

‘I’m absolutely delighted with 55th overall and 2nd V50. I started off steady and pulled trough the field from 180th. An amazing race; fantastic atmosphere and crowds, stunning scenery and loads of brutal climbs and descents’

Closer to home and making his come-back after 6 months out of action, CV’s Ben Mousey came 7th in the short and sharp Kilnsey Crag Fell race last Tuesday.

Mounsey at Kilnsey Credits: Carolyn Brett Muir

That then set the trend for other notable CV performances with CV securing a successful trophy haul at Blackshawhead Fell race on the Saturday. The final CV summer series counter,  CVs Martin Howard was the overall winner  with Alasdair Pedley 3rd and Natasha Butterfield first lady, beating the unbeatable Annie Roberts of Tod Harriers. With Mark Wharton taking 1st V50, the men scooped the mens Team prize, despite stiff competition from neighbouring Tod Harriers.

Photos: Carole Fryer, Natasha Butterfield (1st lady) and Jocasta Fletcher


This year also saw the second Junior fell race at Blackshawhead. (More info on the Juniors page)

Sunday saw the club’s annual Castle Carr race weaving across Midgley Moor. At 15 miles with 4000ft ascent/descent over some very varied terrain, Castle Carr is a testing race and was used as a national championship counter two years ago. 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. It’s a tough route, renowned for its challenging navigation and climbs. Wharfdale’s Ethan Hassell was overall winner in 02:29:28 with Tods Annie Roberts first lady in 02:41:37. First CV home was John Allan who came in 12th in 02:46:24.

Photos: Di Wright (L) and Stella Chrisanthou, Castle Carr (photo credit: Woodentops)

John Allan Castle Carr 2019


– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

Howards burning up the competition


The Burnsall Classic held at the Burnsall Feast Sports last weekend is a 1.5 mile 800ft category AS blast from the village to a flag placed on the nearby moor and back. Six runners from Calder Valley raced in what was the last and shortest short counter for this year’s club championship.

onny Croston, Andy Wright, Martin Howard and Phil Wells at Burnsall

Martin Howard ran extremely well to come third to win a £35 prize voucher. He was just 12 seconds behind winner and arch rival Robin Howie of Wharfdale and he missed out on 2nd place to Ian Holmes by 1 second. He said he took the wrong line down the tricky descent from the summit by not turning immediately left below the summit flag. Kirsty Hall of Wharfdale was 1st woman.

Jonny Croston came 15th 2nd MV40 prize to gain a £15 voucher. Andy Wright was Calder’s short king leading into the race and, gaining more points than any other team mate in the series, takes the crown for 2019.

Andy Wright cools off in the Wharf after the Burnsall Classic

CVFR Results

3 Martin Howard 15:38
15 Jonny Croston 18.08
18 Phil Wells 18.40
25 Mark Wharton 19.32
28 Andy Wright 20.12
58 Tim Brooks 22.38
124 Eileen McDonach 33.00

140 Ran

Golf Ball

Named after the weather radar station on Hameldon Hill, last Wednesday’s Golf Ball Fell Race was the penultimate race in Calder Valley’s summer series. The 5 mile 900ft climb proved no challenge for Calder’s Natasha Butterfield who was 3rd woman and Carole Fryer 1st LV55 (also beating all LV50s) The muddy course was enjoyed by Jocasta Fletcher but less so by Graham Lloyd.

Calder Valley Runners, Carole Fryer 1st FV55 2nd from left and Natasha Butterfield 3rd woman 2nd from right

Natasha is winning the summer series with only the Blackshaw Head Fete on Saturday to come. However Carole and Jocasta are only 3 points behind her. Jonathan Emberton is leading the men’s series with a strong lead over Graham Lloyd although it is not a certain win at this stage. All to run for on Saturday.

CVFR Results

67 Natasha Butterfield 50:13
113 Carole Fryer 57:03
142 Graham Lloyd 1.00:42
151 Calvin Ferguson 1.02:32
180 Jocasta Fletcher 1.06:31
199 Eileen McDonach 1.14:52

220 Ran.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks