Bullets and Bolts

What a weekend of fell racing with bronzed god Mounsey AKA Ben the bullet placing 9th in a stacked British championship race while ultra god Kevin Holt crowned Usain Bolt sharing 1st at Yorkshires Howarth Hobble…….

Kevin Holt AKA Usain Bolt leading out the Howarth Hobble – Credit Dave Woodhead

On the weekend of the 14th March, Calder Valley Fell Runners were out in force racing. There were 2 big races on the Howarth Hobble and Yr Aran. The Howarth Hobble is a very challenging one at that, an ultra race with a distance of 31.7 miles with 4396ft of ascent. It was a close fought race for the first place between Calder Valley’s Kevin Hoult and Ken Sutor of Cheshire Hash House Harriers. They both tied first place with an incredible time of 4 hours 16 minutes. Other sterling efforts were from Jonny Croston in 10th, Dan Marsden in 15th, who were both comfortably under 5 hours. Great performances were also put in by Paul Haigh and Elina Eady. If there had been a team prize the ads would have taken it.

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Pendle, Peaks and more

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.

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Godsman & Burton a perfect storm

Saturday 8th February – a beautiful day (& quite unlike what was to follow on Sunday) – was also a busy one in the racing calendar for CVFR locally, with both Windy Hill Fell race & Todmorden Harriers Mini-Mountain Marathon Score popular with red & white hooped runners.

Windy Hill is a tough technical nine-mile race, which starts at Littleborough RUFC & continues onto the surrounding hills of Hollingworth Lake – taking in fast trails, fells & one all-mighty, memorable climb up the race’s namesake. Windy Hill, before the second half sees runners race down a fast trail to the finish. This year, Calder Valley’s men raced strongly to secure an impressive half of the first eight places in the male vet 40 category.

Shaun Godsman was the first Calder Valley runner over the line, finishing 7th overall (2nd MV40) in 1:02:14. Mark Burton came in 2.5 minutes later in 10th place (3rd MV40) & Michael Hyde placed 18th overall (6th MV40) to see the men clinch the team prize. There were also strong runs by Lee Shimwell (21st – 8th MV40), Iain Illstone (24th overall & 12th in the open age category), Jonny Croston (27th & 11th MV40) & Dan Marsden (28th & 14th in the open age category). For the women, two of the CVFR ladies ran extremely well their very first fell race: Helen Curtis, who placed 6th FV40 in a shade over 90 minutes, & Heather Pritchard who finished 13th in the women’s open age category. There were also strong runs from Calder Valley’s Gill Dickinson & Elena Eady (14th & 18th respectively in the FV40 category).

Shaun Godsman at Windy HIll – credit Dave Woodhead

Helen Curtis at Windy HIll – credit Dave Woodhead

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Red & White start for 2020

Seconds Count at Giant’s Tooth 2020

Calder Valley were out in force on the first day of 2020, with thirteen racing at Giants Tooth Fell Race. This short 3 mile course with almost 400 feet of climb helps to get the fell racing year off to a good start.

CVFR team L-R Dan Marsden, Paul Haigh, Matt Kay, Jonny Croston, James Williams, Matt Ray, Anthony Costello, Trudi Entwhistle.


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