He’s anything but ‘Spineless”

The highlight of this week’s club news has to be Dougie Zinis not only finishing the Montane Spine Challenger in extremely challenging weather conditions – but crossing the line first.

Still looking strong at the half way point

This race, which involves running non-stop between Edale and Hardraw – a particularly challenging and technical section of the Pennine Way – is both physically and psychologically demanding. In a test of courage and resolve, participants had up to 60 hours between Saturday 11th& Monday 13th January to run the 108-mile race without stopping. Despite an early tussle over the gale force winds of the peak district, Zinis still managed to come out of the Hebden Hey check point on top & finished the race in an amazing 29 hours & 32 seconds – less than half the time allowed! Zinis described ‘swapping the wind for torrential rain in the Yorkshire Dales’ & how all the flooded rivers made going slow’ but he pushed on regardless & was ‘absolutely delighted to finish first’.

A smile with that well earned medal

Other results from Sunday 12th January also include CVFR’s Charlie Ing finishing an impressive 3rd at Helm Hill’s Giggleswick cross country/low fell race – a very muddy race, complete with 143m of ascent.

Ishbel and Lottie battling it out in the U9s

There were also excellent results for the red & white hooped junior runners at Wharfedale Harriers’ Stanberry Splash quarry races. All the junior races start in the quarry, with a mad dash along the bottom before scrambling up the end – with the younger runners doing a loop to finish & the older runners going out onto the moors & back. Harry Cliff, competing for the first time in the U11 category, came an impressive 3rd, with fellow Calder Valley U11, Ted Parker also running well to finish 6th. In the girls’ races, Charlotte Cliff finished both 5th overall & 5thgirl in the U9 age category, closely followed by Ishabel Symington in 6th place. Emilia Wright also ran a strong race in a competitive field to finish 4thU17 girl.

In the main race – a 6.7 mile route, starting from Penistone Hill Country Park and circuiting the upper reaches of Ponden Clough and Stanbury Moor – CVFR’s Matt Ray ran strongly to finish in just shy of an hour in 18th place in the men’s open category (44thoverall). Jonathan Moon also ran well to finish a minute & half after Ray in 22nd place in the men’s open category (56thoverall)

Away from the fells, at the 5km Centre Vale Park Run in Todmorden, Ben Cliff ran a very fast race to finish an excellent 10thoverall & first in the in the Vet40 age category. However, he was pipped to the post by two seconds by nine-year old Clara McKee, who not only finished 9th overall, but beat all the women over the line to win the ladies’ race outright, running an astonishing three sub-6:45 minute miles to finish a full 2 minutes 20 seconds ahead of the second placed female runner! Calder Valley’s Tom Owen & Tom McKee also ran good races to finish 14th & 19th overall & second & third in the 11-14 boys’ category.


Hebden, Resolutioners & more

25 Calder Valley Fell Runners gathered at the start line of this year’s hugely popular Hebden event on Saturday. A long distance walking event that takes in all sides of the valley, it’s renowned for delicious cakes at each of the checkpoints. As with previous years, the event is hugely popular with runners, particularly those from Calder Valley with runners opting for either the fifteen mile or the longer twenty two mile option.

The longer route saw Kevin Hoult the 1st CVFR to finish, finishing 3rd overall in 3 hours 15 mins. Philip Wells was 2nd CVFR home in 3.35 and Dan Marsden and Paul Haigh finishing 3rd and 4th in a very respectable 3.39 and narrowly ahead of Elliot Corner  and Jonathan Moon in 5th and 6th. First CVFR woman back was Ellie Eady in 5.40. CV running mates Kate Pope, Gloria Ayuso, Di Wright and Eileen McDonach were close behind.

The Hebdeners waiting for the off

Darren Earnshaw was first CVFR home (8th overall) in the fifteen mile fun run, closely followed by Mark O’Connor and Ben Frechette. Sue Martin and Amanda Farrell were first CV women home in 4:02 with Carolyn Shimwell and Harley Beecroft finishing 3 minutes later in 4:05.

Also on Saturday, the popular weekly CVFR Resolution Run attracted 14 runners, all keen to give off road running a go. This week’s route headed up and around Heptonstall. The free Resolution Runs are for anyone who can run 5km or more and who wants to explore the beautiful trails, footpaths and fells on our doorstep. An ideal next step from the Couch to 5K programme, they meet 9.30am every Saturday St George’s Square.

Enjoying the sunshine & the beautiful moors on Resolution Run

Oh those arm warmers … did you have to wear them Ben

Meanwhile in Southern Spain, international top CV athlete Ben Mounsey was having his own adventures at the Barxeta 20km trail race. After a very early 5.40am start, Ben was running strong and had a 5 minute lead 18kms in. But then disaster struck! There were 4 races at Barxeta that day- a walkers route, a 12km, a 20km and a 42km race. Near to the end, some of the races merged together on the same paths and trails. So Ben was relying on the marshals to direct him the way. Said Ben:

‘ I just ran in the direction I was told to go, as I’ve never done the race before. As we entered the town and approached the finish, I was so happy to win the race and celebrated by punching the air and letting out a little victory squeal. Only to find out moments later, that I’d not actually won and somehow I’d been sent the wrong way and done 24km and not 20km. In actual fact, I’d only just made the top 10! So my post-race victory interview, champagne spraying and autograph signing didn’t happen! I just looked very stupid as I had celebrated a win that never happened!’  

Another prominent win in this race for CV was Jackie Scarf who won the VF50.

And in the Lake District on Sunday, CV Charlie Ing won the Whitestone race. This Senior race route has been varied over the past few years due to snow, fog etc. The format is usually pretty similar though. A fast flat start through a boggy field followed by a short steep ascent and a long circular run across a variety of undulating fields with differing depths of mud and it’s anything between 3 and 5 miles.  


Working off Xmas excesses

Whinberry Naze

“Holly” Holly Page enjoying the fun

The Boxing Day fancy dress fell race at Whinberry Naze is a four mile dash up to the 440m Cowpe Lowe in Rossendale.  There is always a good turnout with runners keen to work off their Christmas Pud.  Calder’s James Williams had a great run in 12th place and 1st V40.  Holly Page, dressed as a holly sprig, came in 3rd woman for CVFR.

James “Tiger” Williams

Nicola Jackson of Ribble Valley and Andrew Worster of Todmorden were the winners.

Coley Canter

Luke taking a lie down after a great effort

Similarly the Coley Canter is a well-attended trail race held in Northowram during the week after Christmas.  Taking in Judy Woods and the fields east of Northowram it is a fast (nearly) 8 mile race with the odd bits of mud thrown in.  Calder Valley Fell Runners have traditionally done well in this race, this year Luke Meleschko got one of his best ever results coming in 6th place in 59:36.   Owen Beilby of Wharfdale Harriers won with Lucy Collins of Stainland taking first lady.


Winter Solstice fun

The weekend saw Calder Valley and TodmordenHarriers coming together to celebrate the shortest day with the now customary winter solstice run. Organised by CV’s husband and wife team, James and Tamsin Cooke, runners met at the top of 100 steps early morning as the rest of Hebden slept. About 40 runners turned up this year and snaked their way across muddy fields towards Raw Lane then steadily up the shoulder of Sheep Stone Edge before reaching Robin Hood’s Penny Stone in an attempt to witness the prehistoric alignment of the sun rising over Miller’s Grave on Midgley Moor.

Submerged in Yorkshire clag, the actual sunrise wasn’t very distinguishable but the camaraderie and hip flasks helped keep  the cold away as the runners waited patiently to catch a glimpse of the rising sun. Then it was downhill back to Hebden for a rewarding breakfast kindly provided by the Cookes as a fundraiser for a Co-op charity (will get further details to you, along with quote from either Tamsin or Jim).

Winter Solstice run organisers, James & Tamsin Cooke

For all those who may want to experience the joys of running on our fells, come along to Calder Valley’s Resolution Runs starting  Saturday 4th Jan. We’ll be meeting every Saturday morning 9.30am  in St George’s Square, Hebden Bridege to run off road for about an hour. A great opportunity to find new routes, make new friends and see if fell running is for you.  For further details contact Jocasta on 07939 668164 or Gill at gillhdickson@gmail.com

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson