Dougie’s 1st place Montane Spine Challenger Adventure

It’s January 2019 and I’m addicted to Dot watching!! For days and nights on end I’m checking up on Simon Bourne in the Spine challenger. And in the full spine John Minta and Bill Johnson. Spine fever is upon us and I’m on it. 108 & 268 miles in the January weather #superhuman #inspirational

Simon finishes 4th  in the challenger 😁

In the full spine Bill gets injured 😥 and John gets 6th 😁. Totally different emotions and I feel them both 😥😁. How can anyone do that? How can you be prepared for that? Can I?

February and Spine entries are open!! And I’ve just entered the challenger🤪. Why the challenger? I felt at the time I could do myself more justice over 108 mile (providing I finish as this is my first 100 miler).

Training 2019

During the year of 2019 I did both the Bob Graham and the Paddy Buckley so was happy with the miles and climbing in my legs. Through September I made sure I ran easy with no weeks breaking the 30 mile barrier. I had a plan to train for 9 weeks doing 50 to 70 mile weeks, with a 2 week taper before the race. So from the last week of October I increased my mileage.

I recced the whole of the route in 4 sessions

  1. Edale to Whitehouse
  2. I ran from slack on the Pennine Way in reverse, doing 6 reps of Stoodley Pike’s face then to Whitehouse and then back to the car in Slack
  3. I did a night recce from Hebden Bridge to Horton, setting of at 10pm to get use to the night section carrying a full pack.
  4. Horton to Hawes and back and again carrying a full pack.

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He’s anything but ‘Spineless”

The highlight of this week’s club news has to be Dougie Zinis not only finishing the Montane Spine Challenger in extremely challenging weather conditions – but crossing the line first.

Still looking strong at the half way point

This race, which involves running non-stop between Edale and Hardraw – a particularly challenging and technical section of the Pennine Way – is both physically and psychologically demanding. In a test of courage and resolve, participants had up to 60 hours between Saturday 11th& Monday 13th January to run the 108-mile race without stopping. Despite an early tussle over the gale force winds of the peak district, Zinis still managed to come out of the Hebden Hey check point on top & finished the race in an amazing 29 hours & 32 seconds – less than half the time allowed! Zinis described ‘swapping the wind for torrential rain in the Yorkshire Dales’ & how all the flooded rivers made going slow’ but he pushed on regardless & was ‘absolutely delighted to finish first’.

A smile with that well earned medal

Other results from Sunday 12th January also include CVFR’s Charlie Ing finishing an impressive 3rd at Helm Hill’s Giggleswick cross country/low fell race – a very muddy race, complete with 143m of ascent.

Ishbel and Lottie battling it out in the U9s

There were also excellent results for the red & white hooped junior runners at Wharfedale Harriers’ Stanberry Splash quarry races. All the junior races start in the quarry, with a mad dash along the bottom before scrambling up the end – with the younger runners doing a loop to finish & the older runners going out onto the moors & back. Harry Cliff, competing for the first time in the U11 category, came an impressive 3rd, with fellow Calder Valley U11, Ted Parker also running well to finish 6th. In the girls’ races, Charlotte Cliff finished both 5th overall & 5thgirl in the U9 age category, closely followed by Ishabel Symington in 6th place. Emilia Wright also ran a strong race in a competitive field to finish 4thU17 girl.

In the main race – a 6.7 mile route, starting from Penistone Hill Country Park and circuiting the upper reaches of Ponden Clough and Stanbury Moor – CVFR’s Matt Ray ran strongly to finish in just shy of an hour in 18th place in the men’s open category (44thoverall). Jonathan Moon also ran well to finish a minute & half after Ray in 22nd place in the men’s open category (56thoverall)

Away from the fells, at the 5km Centre Vale Park Run in Todmorden, Ben Cliff ran a very fast race to finish an excellent 10thoverall & first in the in the Vet40 age category. However, he was pipped to the post by two seconds by nine-year old Clara McKee, who not only finished 9th overall, but beat all the women over the line to win the ladies’ race outright, running an astonishing three sub-6:45 minute miles to finish a full 2 minutes 20 seconds ahead of the second placed female runner! Calder Valley’s Tom Owen & Tom McKee also ran good races to finish 14th & 19th overall & second & third in the 11-14 boys’ category.


Hebden, Resolutioners & more

25 Calder Valley Fell Runners gathered at the start line of this year’s hugely popular Hebden event on Saturday. A long distance walking event that takes in all sides of the valley, it’s renowned for delicious cakes at each of the checkpoints. As with previous years, the event is hugely popular with runners, particularly those from Calder Valley with runners opting for either the fifteen mile or the longer twenty two mile option.

The longer route saw Kevin Hoult the 1st CVFR to finish, finishing 3rd overall in 3 hours 15 mins. Philip Wells was 2nd CVFR home in 3.35 and Dan Marsden and Paul Haigh finishing 3rd and 4th in a very respectable 3.39 and narrowly ahead of Elliot Corner  and Jonathan Moon in 5th and 6th. First CVFR woman back was Ellie Eady in 5.40. CV running mates Kate Pope, Gloria Ayuso, Di Wright and Eileen McDonach were close behind.

The Hebdeners waiting for the off

Darren Earnshaw was first CVFR home (8th overall) in the fifteen mile fun run, closely followed by Mark O’Connor and Ben Frechette. Sue Martin and Amanda Farrell were first CV women home in 4:02 with Carolyn Shimwell and Harley Beecroft finishing 3 minutes later in 4:05.

Also on Saturday, the popular weekly CVFR Resolution Run attracted 14 runners, all keen to give off road running a go. This week’s route headed up and around Heptonstall. The free Resolution Runs are for anyone who can run 5km or more and who wants to explore the beautiful trails, footpaths and fells on our doorstep. An ideal next step from the Couch to 5K programme, they meet 9.30am every Saturday St George’s Square.

Enjoying the sunshine & the beautiful moors on Resolution Run

Oh those arm warmers … did you have to wear them Ben

Meanwhile in Southern Spain, international top CV athlete Ben Mounsey was having his own adventures at the Barxeta 20km trail race. After a very early 5.40am start, Ben was running strong and had a 5 minute lead 18kms in. But then disaster struck! There were 4 races at Barxeta that day- a walkers route, a 12km, a 20km and a 42km race. Near to the end, some of the races merged together on the same paths and trails. So Ben was relying on the marshals to direct him the way. Said Ben:

‘ I just ran in the direction I was told to go, as I’ve never done the race before. As we entered the town and approached the finish, I was so happy to win the race and celebrated by punching the air and letting out a little victory squeal. Only to find out moments later, that I’d not actually won and somehow I’d been sent the wrong way and done 24km and not 20km. In actual fact, I’d only just made the top 10! So my post-race victory interview, champagne spraying and autograph signing didn’t happen! I just looked very stupid as I had celebrated a win that never happened!’  

Another prominent win in this race for CV was Jackie Scarf who won the VF50.

And in the Lake District on Sunday, CV Charlie Ing won the Whitestone race. This Senior race route has been varied over the past few years due to snow, fog etc. The format is usually pretty similar though. A fast flat start through a boggy field followed by a short steep ascent and a long circular run across a variety of undulating fields with differing depths of mud and it’s anything between 3 and 5 miles.  


Red & White start for 2020

Seconds Count at Giant’s Tooth 2020

Calder Valley were out in force on the first day of 2020, with thirteen racing at Giants Tooth Fell Race. This short 3 mile course with almost 400 feet of climb helps to get the fell racing year off to a good start.

CVFR team L-R Dan Marsden, Paul Haigh, Matt Kay, Jonny Croston, James Williams, Matt Ray, Anthony Costello, Trudi Entwhistle.


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