Shepherds, Yorkshiremen and Double BG

Calder Valley Fell Runners –  6th September 

Two big events featured in many local runners calendars this last weekend. Saturday, 11th September saw many runners take on local challenge ‘The Lost Shepherd fell race’, from Good Shepherd Church in Mytholmroyd. Then on Sunday, 12th September, hundreds of runners flocked to Howarth to compete in the various races that make up the annual Yorkshire Off-Road Marathon.

Expertly organised by Craggrunner, the Lost Shepherd is a challenging 24km (14.9-mile) fell race over open moor and footpaths, complete with an eye-watering 820m (2690ft) ascent, which sees runners treated to not just one, but two climbs up to local landmark, Stoodley Pike. This year, 60 runners finished the punishing course, with Todmorden Harriers’ Donni Clarke running a cracking race to cross the line in 1 hour 46:44 – a mere three seconds ahead of second-placed (non-attached) runner Joe Stewart. First home for the red & white hoops was Ed Hyland, in 1:54:47. Although disappointed to finish fourth, Hyland acknowledges he ‘put in a good shift’, not least as he found himself alone on the moors for most of the route. Whilst he could see Illkey’s Oli Murphy in 3rd most of way round, Hyland just ‘couldn’t close the gap’ – but he’s already looking forward to running it again next year!

A smiling Ed Hyland – photo courtesy of Woodentops

Coming in fifth overall, was CVFR’s James Logue, who finished in just a shave over two hours taking first in the MV50 category, & beating his nearest age category rival by over 25 minutes! With Calder Valley’s Kieran O’Prey crossing the line in 14th place in the open race, CVFR clocked up the first three male finishers for any club.

In the ladies’ race, Calder Valley’s Rachel Beaumont was delighted to finish third (second in the FV50 age category) in 2:40:32. Competing in her longest fell race to date, Beaumont was delighted with a podium finish, having slowed right down after falling over one of the many rocks on the course. Despite this, she was quick to praise the race’s ‘perfect conditions & organisation’, & most happy not to get lost (the race is only partially flagged) & glad of the can of beer at the end!

Other noticeable red & white results include Mark Wharton’s first place in the MV55 age category in 2:46:33 & Mike Wardle’s second place in the MV65 race in 3:04:14. Just ahead of Wardle, & a smidgen over 3h a piece, both Ian Sparks and Lindsay McMillan ran well to finish in the top ten MV60 & fifth lady overall respectively.

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Brighouse barber Dougie is a “cut” above the rest

Dougie has become the only person to complete two loops of the Bob Graham Round in under 48 hours.

Doug Zinis, 41, a member of Calder Valley Fell Runners, took on the mammoth challenge last month, tackling two lots of 62 miles and 42 peaks in the Lake District, starring at Moot Hall in Keswick, and set a new course record in the process
“The double Bob Graham sprung to the front of my mind during the first lockdown,” he said.
“A friend sent me a recording that Nicky Spinks did of her record round in 2016 and put the idea in my head and so thought I’d give it a go.
“In July last year I attempted it for the first time but unfortunately injured my hip flexor, and I had to pull out at 80 miles. And in my mind it bubbled until deciding to have another crack this year.
“I picked September so it was cooler and called on previous support crew to help.
“In all I had 23 people helping in different roles and could not have done this without them.
“The day itself was good. I decided on an anticlockwise round first. At the start it was humid in the valleys but cooler on the tops which meant I could build my time advantage for when the night came and you naturally slow.
“I did the first loop in 21 hours, 44 minutes, which gave me a good buffer to try get under the record time of 45 hours, 30 minutes, so off I went, turning around on a clockwise loop.
“My aim was to now be consistent throughout to get back to Keswick in time. The weather was OK and navigation was good, so at the last leg change at Honister, I had three hours left to beat the record.
“I got the last three peaks ticked off as quick as I could and pushed as hard as I could for the last six miles, reaching the end in 45 hours, three minutes, beating the record by 27 minutes.
“I have been overwhelmed with the amount of messages of congratulations from all the fellrunning and ultrarunning community which makes the sport stand out from the rest.”

What a busy week for the stripes

Calder Valley Fell Runners – 30th August 

Well that was a busy week! A mix of local races, an two Championship events, a trail half marathon, the World Masters in Austria, a Bob Graham Round attempt plus lots of ad hoc running to keep the club’s virtual championship ticking over.

Hebden Sports

The week started well for Calder Valley Fell Runners and particularly for the evergreen Karl Gray at the BOFRA championship event in our sister village of Hebden near Grassington. Despite an British Championship race coming up at the weekend, Karl Gray, Shaun Godsman and James Logue took on and tamed the short, sharp 1.5 mile course with 400 feet of climbing. Karl powered up and down to take 3rd place overall and first MV50 in a time of 11.45 mins ahead of club captain Godsman in 5th place (12.15 mins) and James Logue, a respectable 8th position in 12.38 mins. As long as all three still had their legs working at the weekend Hebden Sports was a good sign for things to come at the British Athletics Hill & Fell Running Championship Race – the HB21 at Dufton.

Euan taking in the water in the U17s – photo courtesy of Woodentops

In the junior races, Euan Logue wasn’t going to be outdone by Logue senior coming in 5th in the U17s race in a brilliant time of 13.44.

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Winning team results at Black Combe

Calder Valley Fell Runners – 23rd August

The last week of the school holidays has been a busy one for some of our red & white hoops, who have been in fine racing form. Showing us all that age really is just a number, veteran runner Darren Kay not only won his V50 age category in the Shipman Knotts race in Kentmere on Tuesday 24th August, but also took first place outright. This was the first time Kay had competed in this 3.7-mile/6-km race, with its 1312-feet/400m of climb, so he was understandably ‘delighted’ with the result. He also saw this A/S category race as ‘a good workout’ for the main event of the week: the 4.5-mile/7.2-km Black Combe Dash fell race on Saturday 28th.

As the penultimate race in this year’s English champs, the 2021 Black Combe fell race was made even more interesting by the absence of certain key runners, meaning more of the top spots up for grabs. The course maybe relatively short, but it still packs a punch, with an energy-sapping 600 metres (1968ff) of ascent over spongy ground in the first 3.5km and the last 4km a quick dash on trails and track to the finish.

Getting ‘somewhat carried away’, Kay led this hotly contested race out the blocks, setting off maybe a little too swiftly. He then settled in for the long climb to the summit, which he rounded in 9th place, before giving it ‘everything’ on the descent to finish in 41:47 seconds. This amazing feat saw Kay take first place in not only the MV50 & MV45 races but also second in MV40 category, only beaten to the line by fell running legend Robert Jebb.

Overall, in the open (non-veteran) men’s race, Kay finished seventh – an important result, given that this was a critical race for the CVFR men’s team. Going into the event, champs’ favourites, Keswick, led the team competition, with only Blackcombe & one further race left. To close the gap, Calder needed a win. But, as expected, Keswick did not make this task anything like a walk (or race) in the park.

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