Calder Valley Fell Runner – 24 January 2022
At Hoofstones Fell Race it was an excellent day for fell running in the South Pennines on Saturday 22nd January. Light cloud, bit of a breeze, no rain and the ground drying out in places after a few weeks of glorious mud. There are still plenty of bogs to navigate on the course at this time of year but somehow, a perfect for day breaking records.
Hoofstones is a January favourite for many Calder Valley club members but often clashes with the club’s own Winter Handicap as was the case this weekend. CVFR’s contribution to the 2022 running of the race was small in numbers but big on results with the Calder Valley men’s team bringing home the team prize in emphatic style and taking all three podium places with a one, two, three. Bingley won the women’s team prize headed up by first lady, Jo Buckley.
The race is organised by Dan Taylor and Claire Shaw headquartered in the Staff of Life Inn, Todmorden. The eight-mile route starts on Knot’s Road with a 2-mile flagged section on the way out. The real challenge starts here with 4 miles of navigation over rough moorland taking in a number of checkpoints including Hoof Stones Height at 480m before picking up the flagged route from Sportsmans back to the finish.
Calder Valley’s men’s team took up the running early on with a proper battle taking place between Shaun Godsman, Math Roberts and Karl Grey. After the early part of the course, Roberts had a good lead over Gray and Godsman and maintained the lead up to the Hoof Stones trig point.Read More
Perhaps less familiar with the local terrain, he picked up a poor line from the trig adding an extra mile to his race. Meanwhile Godsman and Gray came off the navigation section with a good lead over the rest of the field and Godsman’s legendary descending skills not only edged him into first place but also to a new record for the course of 60m 20s knocking a full 3m 44s off Andrew Worster’s record that had stood since 2017. Karl Gray in second place and Math Roberts in third, also broke the old record with times of 60m 58s and 63m 42s. Some achievement by the CVFR runners.
CVFR Winter Handicap
After a pause in 2021, the club Winter Handicap was back with a vengeance. Organising the race for the first time was Winter Spine legend Dougie Zinis who has taken charge of possibly the best race in the club’s annual calendar.
The handicap is open to CVFR club members and is one of the very best reasons to join the club – where the spirit of competition and camaraderie is apparent in equal measure.
The Winter Handicap is a simple race – out and back to Stoodley Pike from Stubb Field in Mytholmroyd. 305m of ascent and descent over a 5.5m race. The complication is in the planning and organisation of the event.
Club statistician, Andy Wright, tries his very best to create a level playing field – difficult enough in the Upper Calder Valley – by calculating each club member’s likely run time based on previous race results. Racing opportunities have been thin on the ground for two years and with some newer members having no recent club form, this is a task and a half. Runners set off at their appointed time – the slower runners starting earliest – with the objective of creating a mass finish at exactly 2.30pm.
For most runners in a field of thirty-one, it never works out quite like that but the process creates a great race where slower runners are in with a chance of winning the trophy. This year, race times varied between 40m 21s (Chris Norman in his first race with the club) to just over an hour.
This year the trophy went to Emily Ledder (51m 53s) who has been training hard for some longer races and had the speed and the stamina to overhaul everyone in front and keep the fast lads behind her at bay to win comfortably. She was followed in close succession by Aaron Roberts and Kieron O’Prey in 2nd and 3rd places. The prize for closest finish to their predicted time went to Tamsin Cooke who ran a considered race to finish just 14 seconds off the magic time.
There’s a real carnival atmosphere as the entire race gravitates back to Stubb Field with rivalries that have been fought out all the way from the Pike playing themselves out in the run-in past Sarah’s Tree to the finish line.
Emily picked up the trophy for the Winter Handicap after the race, apologised and left for a Calder Valley Search & Rescue call-out. She didn’t have time for her free chip butty!