The first weekend in March was another busy one for Calder Valley Fell Runners, with racing dominated by several big events.
Saturday, 7th March marked the inaugural year for the Saddleworth Ten Res’s – billed as 24-mile course with 4000ft of climb, this was actually a tough 25+-mile high-moor route around Saddleworth Moor, complete with 4500ft of ascent & descent, as racers navigated around a mixed-terrain route taking in a staggering ten local reservoirs, visiting each checkpoint in a specific order – with whisky a beer available for all competitors at least one of the later checkpoints.
Amazing atmospheric skies and big smiles from Bill. Photo courtesy of Jim Harrison
Half a dozen red & white hoops entered this race & grouped fairly well from the start. Jonathan Moon led the way for CVFR, keeping a steady pace throughout as he battled for a top three place, but eventually finished a very respectable 6th overall in 4hr 50 minutes (& third in open age category). Despite trailing early on, Bill Johnson’s racing experience showed, as he took a pre-planned alternate route bringing him out ahead of many of the other runners, to finish only three minutes behind Moon, in 8th place overall, & first in the MV50 age category. Phil Wells, in his first event at this distance, also ran a savvy race to finish 9th overall (& 3rd MV45) in in 5h12 – seeing the Calder Valley men take the team prize. Andy Wright raced well to finish in 13th place overall in 5h23, with James Cooke in 28th place, closely followed by Toby Sydes in 29th.
Moon described this race, as a ‘a future local classic in the making’ – ‘very enjoyable up to Wessenden Head’ before the snow & ice covered. climb to Black Hill, followed by ‘knee-deep bogs’ on the way down to Crowden.
Also. On Saturday, 7th March, over 230 runners competed in the Moorhouse’s Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round fell race – a 10.4 mile fell race on and around Pendle Hill, complete with nearly 2000ft of climb. CVFR’ss Darren Kay ran an outstanding race to take 4th place overall (& second MV40), crossing the line in just 1h 7 minutes & 30 seconds. Teammate Mark Wharton came in 58th overall (& in the top 15 in the MV50 category) in 1h 22 minutes & 59 seconds.
Darren Kay at Pendle – credit Dave Woodhead
On Sunday, 8th March, several red & white hoops were amongst the runners in the Ian Roberts Memorial race – a fully-flagged 6.4 mile race with 853ft of ascent over moorland with a good blend of maintined paths, tracks & rough trods, plus a great finish around Butterly Clough. For a change, given the recent storms, the weather stayed fine – no doubt helping to swell numbers – with the highest number of competitors ever in attendance. Whilst official results have yet to be published at time of going to press, there was a great turnout from the red & white hoops and provisional results show only a second in it between Calder Valley’s Jonny Croston & Kevin Hoult – who battled it out with each other for 7th place. Croston finally pipped Hoult to the post in 55 minutes & 28 seconds – & the two took first & second place in the MV40 age category respectively. For the women, there was another strong run by Calder Valley’s Carole Fryer, who finished second FV50.
Slightly further afield, on Sunday, 8th March, a number of Calder Valley runners headed over to the Peak District to participate in the Peak Raid 3 – Spring 2020 – Round 1, over Abney Moor and through Bretton Clough. This event involves 16 controls, and a time limit three hours, with maximum of 500 points to be gained & strict penalties for late finishes. Despite conditions being heavy going, largely thanks to recent rainfall, CVFR’s Andy Thorpe came in 5th overall & first in the MV50 age category, running a strategic race to finish less than 5 minutes shy of the time limit & scoring an impressive 480 points. Fellow Calder Valley runner Jim Mosely finished 27th overall & 9th MV40, picking up a small penalty for being two minutes 47 seconds over time, but still scoring an impressive 420 points. For the women, Linda Hayles finished 97th overall & 4th in the FV60 age category, in 2h43 minss & 44 secs, scoring 250 points. In the pairs, FV40 runners Christina Turner & Jocasta Fletcher finished less than 1 minute before the time limit in 85th place overall (3rd female pair) with 290 points.
Further afield again, Calder Valley’s Ben Mounsey was racing in Spain – this time swapping mountain races for the super-fast 13km Costa Brava Trail Race. Mounsey ran exceptionally well to clinch second place & will be back in the UK next week to compete in the first race of the British Fell Running Championship in North Wales.
Ben Mounsey at Costa Brava Trail Race – credit Klassmark Trail
Podium – Ben Mounsey at Costa Brava Trail Race – credit Klassmark Trail
– CALDER VALLEY NEWS REPORTER: catherine jones