It ain’t half hot

Aldermans Ascent 

Andy in top form

Just two weeks after a misty Blencathra race, Alderman’s Ascent was the next English Fell Race Championship Counter, held in baking hot temperatures last Saturday.  Organised by Todmorden’s Darren Graham the race starts in Greenfield, Saddleworth, passing the intriguingly named Pots and Pans Stone, before a double climb of Alderman’s Hill and a final descent by Yarns Hill back to Greenfield. The 8.5km race with 400m ascent race should not have presented too many problems apart from the 2 killer climbs, and 1 crazy rocky descent. 

But it was the heat that took its toll with several participants requiring assistance for heat exhaustion.

The heat took is toll on many a runner

In the woman’s race first back for Calder Valley was Bethan Gay (18th woman), Cass Chisholm (49th woman ) and prize winning Jocasta Fletcher (3rd FV45).  Hannah Horsburgh of Keswick won in 39:12, followed by Sara Willhoit of Mercia and Sarah McCormack from Ambleside.

In the men’s race another great run by Andrew Worster saw him take 11th place. Joseph Dugdale (U23) of Cumberland Fell Runners took the win in 35:52 followed by Blencathra winner, Keswick’s Jacob Adkin 35:55 and Billy Cartwright from Matlock 37:06.

Special Kay in amazing form

The V50 team is looking unstoppable this year with prize winning performances by Darren Kay (1st MV50), Karl Gray (2nd MV50) and Gav Mulholland (3rd MV50).  Kay is on top form this year and looks well placed to take the V50 national gold, his result here putting him ahead of Karl Gray overall.  Math Roberts  (2nd MV40), Adam Osborne (3rd MV40) and Dick Spendlove (1st MV75) all had notable results with Jon Emberton vying for an individual medal in the V60s. 

Calder Men also took 3rd open team prize with counters Andrew Worster, Darren Kay, Math Roberts and Karl Gray.  The next English Championship race is the Pete Bland Kentmere Horseshoe on the 1st August.

CVFR Results (Men)
11. Andrew Worster 38:53 – 15. Darren Kay 39:29 – 21. Math Roberts 40:41
22. Karl Gray 40:48 – 25. Martin Howard 41:16 – 27. Adam Osbourne 41:43
30. Ed Hyland – 41:59 – 32. Gavin Mullholland 42:12 – 55. James Logue 44:50
65. Mark O’Conner 46:53 – 81. Alex Whittem 49:28 – 116. Jonathan Emberton 53:43
161. Stephen Moran 61:11 – 169. Anthony Costello 62:29 – 170. Harry Strutt 62:36
181. Dick Spendlove 64:06

CVFR Results (Women)
18. Bethan Gay 53:27 – 49 Cass Chisholm 62:37
59 Jocasta Fletcher 68:49

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Lung busting & bog-tastic

This week’s press release feels something like the adage, ‘you wait ages for a bus, then two come along at once’ – except when talking about this week’s racing, after many quiet months, it’s far more than two at once!

The red & white hoops were out in force & in fine form – with both old ‘hands’ & new recruits making short work of tough courses. This week also saw relative newcomers to the sport getting the first or second taste of lung-busting hill & bog-tastic fell racing.


Tuesday, 6th July saw the return of local favourite Todmorden Harrier’s ‘Bridestones’. This 7.5km/4.7-mile race may be short, but starts with a punch, as much of its 375m (1230ft) of ascent is at the front-end of the race. The initial climb can seem never-ending, but once racers scale it, they are rewarded with the close-ups of the beautiful and mystical Bridestones from which the race takes its name.

This year, the race started in beautiful sunshine, but in true Yorkshire form, that didn’t last! During the event, the heavens quite literally opened. Runners did well to just keep going & find their way in what became a storm of almost biblical proportions.

As this year’s event clashed with the fifth week of the CVFR’s popular post-lockdown ‘back to the fells’/get into fell running sessions, only a few club members were amongst the 57 to cross the finishing line.  The first red- white striped runner home was Ambi Swindells, who finished the route in a shave over 50 minutes.

Reflecting on the race, Swindells commented how it felt like the original climb ‘didn’t let up much at all’. She was frustrated to ‘have taken both a tumble and a wrong turn’ but pleased she could subsequently dig deep and put her ‘foot down on the descent’, ‘battling through the gorse’ to come in second lady – less than a minute behind first-placed Todmorden Harrier’s Rebecca Patrick.

Around a minute later again, CVFR’s Jon Underwood & Anthony Costello (MV50) crossed the finish line in 34th & 36th place. Then over the next two minutes, Richard Spendlove (MV70) & Graham Llyod also finished in 39th & 41st respectively.

Ambi cruising past “The Rocks” – photo courtesy of Mick Fryer 

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Racing, racing and a BG


Slippy conditions for Daz but he still went on to take 1st V50

The second race in the English Fell Running Championships was held last Saturday.  The medium race Blencathra was hotly competed with both the men’s and women’s records being broken for this 8 mile race with nearly 3000ft of climbing.  The race takes in the summits of Bowscale Fell, the mighty sentinel of Blencathra summit, and Souther Fell.

Calder Valley Fell Runners were well represented as usual, with 18 runners making the trip to the north Lake District.  Recent signing Andrew Worster was first back for the club in 6th place just 3 minutes behind the winner, Jacob Adkin of Keswick AC.  Adkin broke the course record in 56:15. Woster was followed by another recent signing for Calder as Chris Holdsworth, just over the hour, came in 14th place.

The third Calder runner back was Math Roberts.  Math was two places ahead of Darren Kay in 25th place and first V50.  Worster, Holdsworth, Roberts, Kay and Mounsey put Calder into the 2nd open team place. After 2 races in the vet 40s competition CVFR have a good lead to take into the 3rd counter Alderman Ascent on 17 July. Karl Gray was 2nd V50 and Gav Mulholland 3rd V50, Calder comfortably taking this prize.  Stephen Moran was first V65.

At the other end of the age range Martin Howard was 3rd under 23 behind locals from Cumberland Fell Runners and Keswick AC.

Toby Sydes managed to sneak in the extra Wainwright top of Bannerdale Crags after Bowscale Fell, taking several other navigationally challenged runners with him in the mist.  His partner Charlotte Wetton was quite pleased as she managed to beat him to the finish for once.

Full Calder Results

6th  Andrew Worster  59:18 – 14th  Chris Holdsworth  1:01:12
23rd  Math Roberts  1:02:57 – 25th  Darren Kay  1:03:03
28th Ben Mounsey  1:03:1 – 129th Martin Howard 1:03:21
31st  Karl Gray 1:03:40 – 40th Gavin Hulholland 1:04:25
44th  Adam Osbourne 1:05:17 – 73rd  Mark Burton 1:10:12
78th James Logue 1:10:43 – 124th Charlie Parkinson 1:16:00
178th Jonathan Emberton 1:23:27 – 190th  Stephen Moran  1:24:26
199th Phil Scarfe 1:25:50 – 230th iona Lynch 1:32:01
275th Charlotte Wetton 1:48:33 – 303rd Toby Sydes 2:02:48

314 finished.

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Anniversary, Dash and Doubles

Kettlewell Anniversary Fell Race

Calder Valley had its specialist short race team out for the mid-week Kettlewell Anniversary Fell Race. It’s great to see experience paying off in fell racing. Darren Kay (36.53) finished third in a strong field and was first in the M50 age category followed closely by Karl Gray (38.19) in sixth and second placed M50.  The red and white hoops are confident of a team victory once the final results are published with Steve Smith making up the trio of Calder Valley M50’s with a time of 47.24.

New club members, April Caulfield and Will Stewart ran in the club vest for the first time. April only started running the fells a few weeks ago and in her first ever fell race posted a good time of 50.45 with Will finishing in 50.26.

Hawkswick Dash

James enjoy the Dash

Hawkswick Dash fell race set in the scenic drama of Littondale is one of the shortest, sharpest races in the fell racing calendar. At 2.25 km with 170 metres of climbing, the route starts on a gentle track before a sharp climb up to and along the ridge before a dramatic fast descent to the finish. This years race, as usual, featured both senior and junior races with a good stagger between age groups to allow an unclutter course and good dispersal at the finish. Calder Valley were well represented in the senior race with Shaun Godsman (7th in 12.48) and James Logue (15th in 13.51) coming in first in their age categories (MV45 and MV50) in a race won by Simon Bailey (Staffs Moorland in 11.48). A race of fine margins. Mark O’Connor (14.11), Steve Smithies (14.14) and Dave Hammond (17.48) all had good races making up a strong contingent for the red and white hoops.

Thomas running hard for his excellent 4th place

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