Race and Challenge success for CVFRs

Beater Clough

Todmorden’s Dan Taylor has set up a few fell races at the western end of the Calder Valley in recent years including Bridestones, Hoofstone and Orchan Rocks.  His newest race is Beater Clough, run for the first time last Tuesday evening.  The 7 mile race starts near the summit of the A646 and heads up Heald Moor before dropping into Beater Clough, heading through the woods south of Portsmouth before a short tour round Todmorden Moor.  The race the follows a reverse route back to the finish.

Karl on his way to ‘beating’ the rest

By all accounts it is a hard race with pathless moors and tussocks to traverse plus some 2000ft of climbing.  Calder Valley’s Karl Gray won this inaugural race in a time of 61 minutes and 19 seconds.  Karl’s time indicates what a tough route the race follows. Second was Tod Harrier’s Donni Clarke, followed by Ethan Hassel of Wharfedale.  Bryony Holt of Clayton-le-Moors was first woman back in 12th place.

Andy Pullan was second CVFR back in 18th place (76.42) with Darran Jugroop 3rd CVFR in 25th place (79.25).  Rachel Beaumont was Calder’s first woman in 5th place and 1st FV50. 

Dan says he is looking to run the race again on a Saturday morning early next year.

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Pike and Gala Success

The middle weeks of August are a quiet time in the fell running calendar but Calder Valley runners have been out and about flying the flag and coming home with silverware.

Whittle Pike

Andy as he climbs to victory – photo courtesy of Mick Fryer

First up was Whittle Pike on Thursday evening – reputedly one of the hardest five-mile fell races in the country – short, steep and over some really tough terrain. Rossendale Harriers know how to put on a challenging event and the 488m of climbing includes a final ascent to the finish line. Throw in plenty of mud, lots of heather, a few bogs and a humid August evening and this proved to be the perfect race for CVFR runners with a clean sweep of the first three spots. The Men’s team prize was completed by a good 10th position for Charlie Parkinson who also claimed the MU23 title.

Andy, Ed and Charlie – photo by Andy Smith

Andrew Worster, Darren Kay and Ed Hyland came in first, second and third respectively with Andrew coming home in a time of 43 mins 44 secs closely followed by Darren who claimed the M50 prize. Also running in club colours were Phil Scarf, Jackie Scarf and Andrew Smith. Jackie was the sole representative of CVFR’s women for the evening and posted a good time of 1hr 8mins to claim the 8th female finisher’s spot.

“A great evening, a tough run and a well organised race – thank you Rossendale Harriers”

Eldwick Gala

The weekend saw club members heading off to Eldwick Gala. Elijjah Peers Webb was outstanding at the 50th running of the Eldwick Gala fell race. 

Organised by Bingley Harriers, the race is a 3-mile dash from Eldwick Memorial Hall, up nearby Baildon Moor and back, finishing in front of an appreciative crowd on the gala field. 

Elijah climbed strongly, moving easily into the top 10 on the final drag to the finish line, claiming 8th position overall and 1st MU17 with a time of 19mins 27secs. The race was won by Joe Baxter of Pudsey & Bramley with Katie Walshaw of Holmfirth Harriers the first women home in 19mins 30secs. 

Other Calder runners included a return to racing for Adam Breaks with a good run and 3rd MV40 and 13th position overall and MV60 Steve Cavell completing the race in just over 30 minutes.


Wansfell, Kentmere and Farleton Knott

With the start of the summer holidays, this week’s been slightly quieter on the racing front, but there were still some great results for the red & white stripes.

Friday, 23rd July saw a handful of local runners competing in Ambleside’s Wansfell Uphill Only Race. Not one for the faint hearted, this brutal evening event is a real test of strength & endurance, with 400m of climb in only 2km, made doubly hard by the recent heat & humidity.

Andrew Worster (who took a detour on the way to the race to support his partner, Todmorden Harriers’ Kim Ashworth, in the infamous Lakeland 50) may have been Calder Valley’s only runner in this event, but he made it count. The uphill course to the top of Wansfell played to Worster’s strengths & he finished the punishing route in an outstanding 14 minutes & 15 seconds. This secured him second place – only 8 seconds behind the race winner, Chris Richards of Helm Hill Runners. Worcester was ‘pretty chuffed’ at his result, & his £100 cash prize!

Andrew Worcester in the Wansfell Uphill Only Race – credit James Kirby – Jumpy James (www.jumpyjames.co.uk)

Worster was joined by many more of his club mates running this Sunday, 1st August, at the Pete Bland Kentmere Horsehoe Fell Race. 481 runners lined up to compete in this 19.8km/12.3-mile race (complete with 1006m / 3300ft of ascent) English Championship Counter event. Worster ran another cracking race to take overall sixth place, finishing in just shy of 1hr 30 mins later. Second over the line for Calder Valley, was Darren Kay, in 11th place overall and he was also the first veteran runner to cross the line, outright winning the MV50 race, (as well as finishing before any MV40 or MV45 racers).

Fellow MV50 racer, Gavin Mulholland also ran well, despite not starting as quickly as he would have liked on the steep initial climb, to finish second in the MV50 category. There was also a strong run from the red & white-hooped Adam Osborne, who finished 38th overall & second in the MV40 race in 1h37:37.

Closely on Osborne heels, Calder Valley’s Ed Hyland crossed the line in 40th place overall. Despite bemoaning his lack of skills in the ascent, Hyland had managed to pull back more than 10 places in an impressive descent. There was also a first for the red & white hoops in the MV65 age category, with Stephan Morran completing the gruelling course in just under 2h 5 minutes – an impressive five minutes ahead of the second placed runner in his age category.

In the women’s races, CVFR’s Cass Chisholm finished in just under 2h25 minutes in 75th place (40th in the open women’s category). Second women over the line for the red & white stripes was Charlotte Wetton in 2h42:02 (48th in the women’s open category).

There were also some noteworthy results from newer club members & good runs from several familiar faces. Math Roberts finished in 60th place overall, 6th in the MV40 race. Stephen Morran & Kirean O’Prey finished 201st & 202nd in just over 2 hours. Gavin Ropper finished 311th (38th in the MV40 category), Toby Sydes finish 317th overall (24th in the MV50 category) & Ben Mason crossed the line in 394th. Joe Nerini, who ran well to finish 336th; commented how runners were thankful that visibility remained good, despite the change in weather conditions, as this is the kind of race that offers ‘plenty of opportunities to sprain an ankle’. Nerini was also keen to emphasise how the race was not only very well attended & impeccably organized, but also included a number of ‘touching & emotional tributes to Pete Bland’ – the fell running racing icon & previous organizer of the Kentmere Horsehoe (amongst other races) who sadly passed away at the end of last year from COVID, aged 79.

Farleton Knott winners (Shaun Godsman & James Logue to the right of centre) – photo credit Geoff Thompson

Sunday, 1st August also saw several of Calder Valley’s racers competing at Farleton Knott fell race. 76 seniors and 119 juniors took part in this event, with its new route comprising 4.2km/2.6-mile race & 229m / 750ft of climb. CVFR’s Shaun Godsman ran a commendable race to finish the senior race 4th place overall and 2nd in the MV45 category in 20:41. James Logue also produced an excellent race to finish 11th overall & first in the MV50 age category in 21:37. Fellow MV50, Dave Hammond crossed the line in 25:54 to finish 7th in his age category.

In the U17 race, Euan Logue showed it was ‘like father like son’, running a storming time on the same route as the senior men’s race, to finish fifth boy in an impressive 22:33.


Super Saturday/Super Sunday

The weekend of the 24th and 25th July turned into a Super Weekender for fell running in general and Calder Valley Fell Running Club in particular. The July heatwave carried through into the weekend making competitive running a really tough option. CVFR had club members racing at Buttermere Horseshoe, Holme Moss and Turnslack with resounding success for some of our more experienced runners and great achievements for fellrunning novice members.

Add in some extraordinary achievements in the Lakeland 100 (that’s 100 plus MILES) in the previous week and a double Yorkshire Three Peaks (see separate report for details) in under nine hours and that’s a recipe for sunstroke if ever there was.

And they’re off at Holme Moss

Fell racing might not yet be an Olympic sport but at Holme Moss (Holmfirth) Calder Valley was represented by a trio of hot shot runners. Karl Gray has been winning races as far back as most of us can remember and he was at it again claiming the gold medal in 2 hours and 40 minutes for the 28.5km course. Karl didn’t have it all his own way with club mate and arch rival Gav Mulholland pushing him the whole way to claim a brilliant silver medal position. With first and second places on the podium sewn up by two Calder Valley Vet 50s, club stalwart Mark O’Connor came in 5th in a respectable time of 3hrs 8 mins giving the club the honour of three of the first five places in a field of 93 runners.

Looks like Wilf is enjoying this far too much!!!

Tortuous Turnslack Toughie is the new strap line for Turnslack Fell Race where Jason ‘Wilf’ Williams got back to the fells after a break and looks like he’s fallen in love with the sport again. Despite forgetting to apply sunscreen in the most obvious places, he claimed 4th place overall and 1st in the vet categories in a time of 1hr 11m. Turnslack is a 12.9km course around the fells of Summit near Littleborough and for some this was the apex of their fell running career to date.

A tough first fell race for Novice Zoe – photo courtesy of Woodentops.org.uk

For new club member Zoe Dee, this was only her second ever fell race and what weather to pick for it. Zoe described the experience as “like being run over by a freight train” but managed a smile all the way round. Giles Simon, Jon Wilson and Paul Shaw all had good runs in the CVFR vest in tough conditions.

Paul striding out at Turnslack – photo courtesy of Woodentops.org.uk

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