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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