Last Saturday several Calder Valley Fell Runners set off on The Orca 100. It’s an off-road ultra-run aimed at raising funds and awareness towards Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
The challenge was a team attempt to run 100 continuous miles in 24hrs, whereby recreating the distance an orca might swim in a day. The route is split into 3 legs of just over 33 miles, all of them starting from Stubbs Field in Mytholmroyd. Each running pod was made up of mixed ability runners who completed a full leg or half a leg each. Several cyclists also joined in forming two pods who both cycled 100 miles from Hebden Bridge marina towards the west coast and back again.
The Orca 100 was inspired after pod member Helen Curtis watched the documentary ‘Blackfish’, which highlights the plight of Orca’s in captivity. Deeply moved by what she had seen, Helen decided she had to help these beautiful marine mammals.
After discovering that Orca whales can swim up to 100 miles in a day, she hatched the idea of running 100 miles as a human ‘pod’ and approached fellow runners in her local fell running club. Whales, marine life and the ocean environment fall deep into people’s psyche, and the response was swift and enthusiastic. Within hours a 13 person running pod was complete.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) is the leading global charity dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales and dolphins. Defending these remarkable creatures against the many threats they face through campaigns, lobbying, advising governments, conservation projects, field research and rescue. Our vision is a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free. More information about WCD can be found at https://uk.whales.org
The 13 strong running pod challenge began at 6am by the tree on Stubbs Field as the great horn blew! The first leg, heading over Widdop, was completed in a blistering 6.25hrs by Cass Chisholm supported by Harley Beecroft, Stella Chrisanthou and Charlotte Wetton leaving a time cushion for the second leg. Helen Curtis, supported by Cath Holden and Christina Turner completed the second leg in a very respectable 6.50hrs running over to Ogden and Manshead Hill. Well within target to complete the 24hr challenge, leg 3 runners, Kate Lycett and Gill Dickson, supported by Amelia Wright, Diane Wright and Mo Lindley even had time for a leisurely cup of builders’ tea at Charlotte’s special tea van.
Grand total of running time was 21hrs and 30mins. So 100 miles in less than 24 hours. It was a fantastic event, really well organised by Helen C.
The cycle pod began their challenge at 9am, leaving from Hebden Bridge. Their huge 100 mile journey was nothing short of amazing, with a brutal 3000m of climbing, they completed the challenge in 8.20hrs riding time – although they were actually out for longer as they simply had to stop and enjoy some cream teas, with reports saying that the scones were so big they wouldn’t fit in one’s mouth.
So far the pods’ efforts have raised over £2,500 and further donations can still be made at the gofundme page Fundraiser by Helen Curtis : The Orca 100 (gofundme.com)