Dougie has become the only person to complete two loops of the Bob Graham Round in under 48 hours.
Calder Valley Fell Runners – 30th August – 5th September
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.
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.
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.Read More
Gorple Rocks Trail Race
There was time mid-week for some of the club runners to squeeze in the Gorple Rocks Trail Race at Worsthorne near Burnley. Around 5.5 miles with 800 feet of climbing, this is a fast up-and-down race with a famous descent. CVFR had three runners at the event and came away with some great honours. James Logue came in 3rd overall and 1st MV50 on 36 mins 11 seconds. Fiona Lynch smashed it for the women claiming a good 3rd position and 1st FV40 in 45 mins 56 seconds with the effervescent Andy Smith posting a respectable time of 57 mins and 47 seconds.
HB21 is an 11km race with 900m of ascent aver a range of terrain on the edge of the Eden Valley and the Pennines. The race starts next to the fountain in the centre of Dufton with a finish in the field behind the Stag Inn.
So, the race to the pub was on and CVFR were certainly up for it. MVU23 star Martin Howard went for an early finish so he could be first at the bar but was really disappointed not to be able to finish the race. The other CVFR runners certainly made up for it. Darren Kay was the first club member home in a shade over the hour mark in a strong 11th position closely followed by Andrew Worster in 13th and Karl Gray in 16th. Gav Mulholland’s 23rd position in 1 hour 6 minutes was not only a good time, it ensured that the team of Kay, Gray and Mulholland took the top three places in the MV50s category.
Cass Chisolm, the club’s only female representative, had a good race finishing 29th in the Women’s Senior category in a time of 1 hour 40 minutes.
Due North Trail Half Marathon
Another trail and more honours for Calder Valley runners. By all accounts this is stunning route taking in rivers, reservoirs, moorland and fields. The race starts with a climb over Sharphaw before dropping down to the picturesque village of Hetton. There’s a tough mile of climbing on the return ascent to Sharphaw followed by a fast 1 mile downhill run to the finish line.
CVFR’s Chris Holdsworth won the race in an incredible time of 1 hour and 23 mins – a full 11 minutes ahead of the second-place competitor. The club’s Luke Meleschko finished in 19th position out of field of 200.
‘It was a cracking race with a tough mile climb at mile twelve’ – Luke Meleschko
Pendleton Fell Race
Organised by Clayton Le Moors Harriers in Pendleton, Clitheroe this is an AS race – relatively short for the level of ascent required and while it starts off gently on the village high street soon climbs steeply through some tough tussocks onto the moors above.
CVFR’s representative in this 5-mile race was George Kettlewell who kept a smile on throughout finishing in a time of 50 mins 59 secs.
20th World Masters Mountain Running Championships
The Telfes course starts in the village square and is run over 11.5 km with plenty of ascent – 1,157 metres in fact finishing at 2,136 metres above sea level at the Kreuzjoch mountain station at the Schlick 2000 Hiking Centre.
Calder Valley legend Ben Mounsey was competing in his 5th year at the Masters which are open to runners over the age of 35. Having turned 40 last week, Ben was not only chasing a potential title but has moved up an age category.
Ben had a good race – but by his own admission, doesn’t have the form or fitness of previous years – and came in 10th overall. Despite not emulating his silver medal winning performance of the last championships in Italy he was part of the V40 gold medal team – a result worth celebrating. In Ben’s own words ‘Wow! That was tough’
– CALDER VALLEY NEWS REPORTER: marc collett
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.Read More
The CVFR men battled hard, with Andrew Worster’s finish first for the valley, in fifth place overall in 41:41. With Kay just pipped to the line for 6th by Keswick’s Mark Lamb, the remaining two spots of the four for the team result were filled by an outstanding performance from Calder Valley’s Adam Osborne and another solid run by Martin Howard. Osborne, running this route for the first time in five years, rues taking a slightly different line than Kay down from the top, but still crossed the finish line in 42:38 to take a very respectable 12th place. A staggering performance from Howard on the descent saw him win back several places to finish 17th overall in 43:19, & an impressive third in the under-23 race.
Nonetheless, this sterling performance was not quite enough to beat an incredibly strong Keswick team, who took the race team win by a mere two points, scoring 39 to CVFR’s 41. With five runners to count though for championships points CVFR took full points to pull them closer to Keswick.
With only one race left, the men need to win in the last race in the series to level with Keswick, & only taking the first nine places outright in the final race of the championships would prevent Keswick from taking either the gold or the joint gold medal. All eyes are now on this final race at South Mynd in two weeks’ time.
The vets’ competitions, however, is a different story. Here, the red & white hoops easily took the Black Combe win in all three veteran categories. In the MV40, Kay’s second place & Osbourne’s 3rd were completed by Matthew Roberts’ & Karl Gray – whose race to the line meant only 8 seconds separated them, as 5th & 6th in MV40 vets’ race, in 43:35 and 43:43 respectively. In the MV45 & MV50, Gavin Mulholland (44:53) completed the set to make it first, second & third for Calder Valley Fell Runners, who pull even further away from the rest of the pack.
With so many runners involved in the English championships, it was relatively quiet elsewhere over the weekend. So much so, that newer club member George Kettlewell found himself flying the flag solo for CVFR at Clayton Le Moor’s Pendleton fell race on Saturday 28th. This five-mile category A race which packs a punch with its 1499 feet of climb – was also part of the Fell Running Association’s 50 at 50 celebrations (carried over due to COVID).
Kettlewell commented on what a lovely spot & day it was for a race. As his first ever category A race, he was delighted with his performance in the ascent over rough & tussocky terrain. Nonetheless, as yet, he recognizes he lacks the skill (or maybe ‘the bottle’) of more experienced runners on the descent (losing 10 places). Kettlewell, who still finished a very credible 28th overall, in a shave over 50 minutes, was quick to highlight how much he is ‘loving trying new things & being part of a club’. He’s keen to get out & improve on his downhill before his next race.
Further afield, Calder Valley’s Ben Mounsey celebrated his 40th in style, by competing at the 40km (2500 meters of ascent) Martigne-Combe (MCC) race in Chamonix, France (part of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc – UTMB series) on Monday 23rd August. This was, in Mounsey’s own words, ‘a big step up’ for the international runner – not only in distance, but also in climb.
Mounsey admits he found the added distance & ascent ‘tough going’, describing the final 10km as ‘an absolute sufferfest’. However, the view of Mont Blanc as the team descended into Col de Balm more than made up for the sweat & tears! Overall, Mounsey found it ‘a fabulous race and experience’ & was pleased, as a relative novice to racing such distances with all the necessary kit (including running poles), to finish 19th overall (& 3rd vet).
– CALDER VALLEY NEWS REPORTER: catherine jones
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.
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.Read More
Another win for a Calder Valley Fell Runners on Sunday at the Piethorne Trails 10k race as Andrew Worster took first place. Starting near Ogden Reservoir and circuiting the hilly Piethorne valley east of Newhay, this trail race crosses under then over the M62 before returning to the finish at Odgen.
Worster took just 38 minutes and 6 seconds to win over Donni Clarke (now of Todmorden). This pair were the only runners to finish under 40 minutes. Calder’s Mark O’Conner took 10th place in 44.38 while Anthony Costello (V55), Keith Hutson (V60) and Linda Hayles (FV65) were 55th, 91st and 109th respectively.
Lakes, Meres and Water Challenge
This monster route involves visiting all the 26 Lake, Meres and Waters (excluding Kentmere Reservoir), as shown on the 1958 edition of the one inch Ordnance Survey Map of the English Lake District. The challenge was devised and first run in the early 1980s by two friends, Peter Schofield and Leo Pollard. They were followed by legendary fell runners Alan Heaton of Clayton Le Moors Harriers and by Joss Naylor, both again in the early eighties. Joss Naylor is the only one of 17 recorded completers of this route to do it in under 25 hours.
Calder Valley’s Andy Ford decided to give this 105 mile route a try this last weekend. Starting at Loweswater at 7am on a wet Saturday morning, Andy had a crack team of support runners including Pennine Way record holder and Berkley marathon completer John Kelly, Spine winner Tom Hollins, and CVFR’s Martin Howard, Dougie Zinnis and Karl Gray.
He blasted round the route which includes Buttermere, Wast Water, Coniston Water, Windermere, Ullswater and Derwent Water leaving some of his support runners floundering in the mud. Andy finished at 7.42am Sunday morning at Overwater, north of Skiddaw in the second fastest time of 24 hours, 42 minutes and 44 seconds to become the 18th person to finish this challenge.
A delighted Andy said “After helping several friends on recent challenges and seeing a lot of records fall after lockdown, I wondered what I could do if I really went for something. Eventually I decided that Alan Heaton’s time for the original Lakes Meres and Waters route was beatable. After six months of training and recceing I started the day still with an eye on it but knowing it would take a good effort in the conditions. Eventually I got to the final leg with a shade over three hours to run 16.9 miles and put the hammer down to come in 34 minutes ahead of Alan’s time.”