Veteran hoops take gold in the British relays & Simon’s Joss Naylor

This week’s British Fell Relays hosted by Dark Peak on Saturday, 19th October at Derwent Dam near Bamford. This event marks a highlight in the fell running calendar & was also the first time a national fell running event had been organised on the Derwent & Howden Moors. The relay sees 250 team compete in a race run over four legs: with legs 1 (7.65km & 360m ascent) & 4 (7.85 km & 375m ascent) solo runs, & leg 2 (12.3km, & 484m ascent) & 3 (11.2km, 520-570m ascent) paired – with the latter also requiring strong navigation skills.

This year, CVFR fielded four teams: three for the men (an open, a V40 & a V50 team), & one V40 for the women.  The Men’s V40 – consisting of:

V40 winning team – mugs in hand ready for a cuppa. You’ve got to keep warm at their age. (obviously Sarah Rowell wasn’t part of the team)

Leg 1: Gav Mulholland Leg 2: Karl Gray/Darren Kay, Leg 3: James Logue/Mark Burton &  Leg 4: Shaun Godsman – ran a storming race to win their category outright (finishing 14th overall) in a time of 4:06:27, an astonishing 3.5 minutes quicker than 2nd placed Dark Peak’s MV40 team.

A very happy LV40s team who came oh so close to getting bronze. They even surprised themselves how close they were to medalling!!!

The women’s vet 40 was a much closer contest, with only 2.5 minutes separating the teams finishing 2nd, 3rd & 4th. The ladies red & white hoops were  – Leg 1: Jocasta Fletcher Leg 2:  Catherine Holden/Rachel Johnston Leg 3:  Natasha Butterfield/Jo Buckley & Leg 4: Jackie Scarf –  ran well overall, with fantastic performances in particular from Holden & Johnston on Leg 2 (jumping up 76 places during their leg) followed by Butterfield & Buckley on leg 3 (gaining another 55 places). In the end, the red & white hoops were pipped by only 30 seconds into fourth place in their age category by Helm Hill FV40 team.

Calder Valley’s Men’s V50 squad – Leg 1: Andy Davies, Leg 2: Bill Johnson /Mark Wharton Leg 3: Phil Scarf/Jonathon Emberton & Leg 4: Toby Sydes – ran strongly to finish 7th in their age category. Here, the pairing Scarf & Embteron was particularly noteworthy, pushing the team up the rankings a staggering 83 places during this navigation leg.  

The men’s open or A team, consisting of Leg 1: Martin Howard Leg 2: Adam Osbourne/ Ben Mounsey, Leg 3: Andy Swift/Alex Whittem & Leg 4: Matt Roberts, also ran exceptionally strongly, finishing legs 1-3 18th, 11th & 16th place respectively. However, unfortunately the dibber recording the check points was lost in the final leg, causing the team to fail to qualify for ranking. This decision may be overturned on appeal as the dibber was found quickly. The team placing is hopefully 9th overall.  

Despite this bitter disappointment, it was agreed by all that this had been a great event – superbly organised by Dark Peak & their team of 200+ volunteers, with some tough running but amazing scenery & fantastic company/camaraderie. 

Elsewhere, it was also a difficult weekend for CVFR’s international runner, Holly Page, who – despite running ‘conservatively’ in last Sunday’s local fell race, avoiding risks & remaining mindful of the need to stay injury free for skyrunning final this weekend – unfortunately suffered a slightly twisted foot that turned out to be close to a fracture. An MRI confirmed that she would not be able to compete in the Skyrunning SkyMasters at Limone in Italy this past weekend, although Page still went to the race to cheer friends & fellow competitors on.

Simon with the legend that is Joss Naylor

Finally, this week also saw an important event for club ultra-runner, Simon Bourne, who was in the Lake District for the annual presentation evening for the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge – named for the fell running legend himself who devised this 42-mile route as a charity funding raising challenge for the over 50s  – crossing the Lake District from Pooley Bridge to Wasale, taking in an astounding 30 peaks & an eye-watering 17,000 feet of ascent. Bourne completed this challenge in June, in an impressive 10h & 47 minutes – the fastest time this year & fourth fastest ever. He was delighted to receive his award this weekend from Joss Naylor himself, who is still going strong at 83 years old! 

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

Horseshoes, Ultras and BGs it’s all happening with the hoops

Calder’s 2019 Champs right down to the wire

Calder Valley’s 2019 Championships ended in a nail biting finale with many of the top spots up for grabs, right up to the last two fell races of the season.

Langdale Horseshoe

Saturday saw seven CVFR head north for the Langdale Horseshoe in the Lake District. This tough AL course packs 4,600 ft climb in 12.5 miles. Calder’s Andy Wright, with all to play for in the club champs, described the race:

“The start is very congested, and with 400 runners on a narrow track it is important to be in a good place at the start line for the 300m climb up to Stickle Tarn. The cloud lifted through the morning leaving most of the summits clear which made navigation easier, though Bowfell to Crinkle Craggs was firmly entrenched in cloud so careful compass work was needed as there was nobody in sight to follow.  The rest of the route gave some spectacular scenery to reward those willing to look up from the rocks in front of their feet.

CVFR’s Andy Wright at Langdale (Credit: Toby Sydes)

Leaving Crinkle Craggs via Bad Step needed great care after overnight rain had left the rocks extremely slippery.  A steep descent near the finish drew crowds of ramblers who were waiting to see runners end up the wrong way up, which seemed to draw appreciative cheers.  Fortunately for me I was able to stay upright here and gain two last places on the final section of descent and sprint. Pies at the finish, oh yes!  I’m going back next year just for the pie.”

Lochaber’s Finlay Wild took top spot in 2:00:51. Calder’s John Allan and Mike Clayton called in to race Langdale on their way to the annual Bob Graham presentation dinner, finishing 75th and 195th respectively. Andy Wright’s legendary descending skills saw him finishing 217th taking valuable points in the club champs. Tim Brooks (275th), Daniel Baron (349th) and Charlotte Wetton all ran well.

Withens Skyline

24 hours later, Withens Skyline was the destination for the last race in the CVFR championship calendar. Fourteen Calder hopefuls braved the weather in search of glory. Tim Brooks got the most out of his weekend, reportedly managing to sandwich ‘moshing at The Trades Club’ between Langdale and Withens.

Calder Valley out in force at Withens Skyline (Credit: Dave Woodhead)

First man home at Withens was Tom Adams of Ilkley Harriers in a time of 41.17. Calder’s international star, Holly Page, triumphed again on home soil to take first woman in 49:05.

Holly Page at Withens Skyline

After crunching the numbers, club statistician, Andy Wright summed up the final Champs results: Paul Haigh had fought hard all year and looked like he might be getting his name on the club champs trophy, but on the last section of the last race of the year he was pipped by Dan Marsden, thus leaving him one point behind Johnny Croston.  No sharing of this trophy this year as they each retain their trophies from last year.

Meanwhile in the Ladies competition Catherine Holden and Charlotte Wetton retained their 1st and 2nd titles joined by Eileen McDonach.

The Handicap competition was really tied up some time ago, with Rob Rawlinson getting max points, followed by Tamsin Cooke.

In the vets competition, Johnny Croston and Catherine Holden both did ‘the double’ to take the Vet titles too.

Mark Wharton was out for another max 100 points today in the V50 category and cemented his position as Vet50 champion, pipping Toby Sydes by two points.

Mark Wharton and Giles Simon at Withens skyline (Credit: Dave Woodhead)

CVFR’s 2019 Bob Graham success

Calder also had much to celebrate this year with a bumper crop of CVFR successfully completing Bob Graham (BG) rounds.  This 66 mile, 27,000 ft circuit of 42 of the highest peaks in the English Lake District, within 24 hours, is the ultimate test for elite fell runners. Of the 100 runners who attempt it every summer, only one in three are successful. CVFR efforts were rewarded on Saturday night when six received their BG certificates. From left to right is Dan Barron, Mike Clayton, Dougie Zinis, Helen Buchan, John Allan and Stuart Russell. Helen has joined Ribble Valley but she was a club member when she did the BG.

The BG gang with their certificates

BOFRA 2019 Championship

This weekend also seen the climax of the 2019 seniors and juniors British Open Fell Runners Association (BOFRA) Championship at Wasdale Show. CVFR’s Charlie Ing had a fantastic series to finish second place overall, behind former British and English champ, Simon Bailey. Steve Smithies continued his running form to take the Vet 50 top spot.

Steve Smithies at Wasdale Show, BOFRA Championship

Charlie and Ollie Pickens at Wasdale with Euan Logue (Credit: Cali Pickens)

Two Calder Valley juniors also made the long journey up to Wasdale BOFRA Championship on Saturday. The weather held to provide perfect conditions for the steep climb up Kirk Fell. Charlie Pickens came first in the U14s and a delighted Euan Logue of Halifax Harriers picked up 3rd boy. Ollie Pickens’ rapid descent earned him 5th place in the u12s and his first prize money of the year.

Charlie Pickens had an excellent BOFRA season to finish 2nd overall in the U14s and is looking forward to picking up him trophy at the presentation in November.

Charlie Pickens at Wasdale Show, junior BOFRA Championship (Credit: Jonathon Lane)

Lakes in a Day Ultra

Elina Eady and Eileen McDonach ready to start Lakes in a Day Ultra race

CVFR’s Elina Eady and Eileen McDonach ended this year’s Ultra running exploits on a high at the weekend to take on the epic, 50 mile, Lakes in a Day ultra race. This runs from north to south of the Lake District, taking in 12,000+ ft of climb, including Helvellyn and Fairfield. Starting in Caldbeck on Saturday morning, they finished in the early hours of Sunday in a total of 19:21 hours. Elina Eady described it as “one of the most challenging adventures I have ever undertaken, but I enjoyed the experience and the company of my running buddy, Eileen. We were so lucky with the weather that the mountains were breathtaking. I loved every moment.”

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen Jones

Hodgson Brothers Relay

A worried looking Jo ready to set off with young gun Martin

Following more than a decade of top 5 finishes, Calder Valley Fell Runners men were hopeful of a strong result last weekend in the annual Hodgson Brothers Relay from Brotherswater, Patterdale in the Lake District. 

This Lakeland mountains relay race, held annually in memory of a Leeds based runner who was tragically killed in a road accident the day after winning the prestigious Karrimor Mountain Marathon in Cumbria, is run over four legs with competitors running in pairs.

The weather forecast for the event didn’t look promising, however, conditions on the day were far more favourable than first predicted. The ground was saturated following some heavy overnight rain, but visibility was good and this meant that the race would be won on athletic merit, rather than navigational prowess.

First off for the Calder club’s A team was young relay debutant Charlie Ing and his partner Alex Whittem. They completed the 4.5 mile leg from Patterdale to Hartsop in an impressive 3rd place, battling with Keswick to the finish line, both teams following Ambleside AC, who led the initial charge. In the mixed team competition Jackie Scarf and Carole Fryer got the team off to steady start.

Next up for the A team were the experienced pair of Ben Mounsey and Gavin Mulholland, who took up the mantle for the tough 7 mile run to Kirkstone Pass. They ran a solid leg but ultimately lost valuable time on their major rivals and finished in 5th place overall. Martin Howard and Jo Buckley took up the mantle for the mixed and gained 5 places to take the tam up to 59th place.

Even the dynamic pairing of Kay and Gray (Darren and Karl), wasn’t enough to improve the fortunes of the team. They ran well on leg 3, but could only maintain a 5th place finish, leaving Adam Osborne and Matthew Roberts with too much to do on leg 4. They managed to hold their position but didn’t gain enough time on Helm Hill, who finished 4th overall. An excllent run from Lee Shimell and Paul Haigh hauled another 7 places for the mixed team on leg 3 and with a very strong run from Dougie Zinis and Jonny Croston on leg 4 took the team up to 44th and 6th mixed team.

Calder Valley were the first Calderdale team to complete the 24 mile route, finishing 5th from 70 teams. 

The event was won by Keswick AC, who recorded their 3rd successive title. Ambleside AC took 2nd and Dark Peak finished in 3rd. The ladies race was won by local favourites, Helm Hill and the mixed team winners were Ribble Valley AC.

Calder Valley will treat this as good practice and a dress rehearsal for the British fell relays, held in Derbyshire, in two weeks time.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks