World Mountain Running Champs

The torrential downpours did not deter the hardened CV fell runners this weekend, splashing their way to victory and revealing some healthy inter club rivalryas the club champs season comes to a close.

First up was the local 4.6 mile Thieveley Pike Fell race in Cliviger which follows much of  the Mary Towneley Loop and which saw CV’s young Martin Howard taking the U23 prize.

Also on the Saturday, a dozen CV runners made their way to Snowdonia for the Peris race. Peris Half (8.5 mikes, 4500 ft) and Full Peris(18.5 miles and 8500ft) both counted for club champs points this year so many runners had to choose the course wisely depending on which other events they had done earlier in the year.

The race starts out with a long climb through the quarries to the first 3000 footer on the course, ElidirFawr. With the clag down and poor visibility on the tops, runners were keen not to lose sight of the local navigators. But it wasn’t long into the race when runners had to rely on their own navigational skills to get round as the nearby runners disappeared into the fog.  Said a proud Andy Wright, who secured 3rd prize in the half:

‘The final summit for the half runners was GlyderFawr (1001 metres with a 300m ferocious ascent from Llyn y Cwn). I recall paddling here to cool off last year, but today there was no time for such luxuries.  I knew the race was still in contention despite not seeing anyone else from the half, so ran up what should have been a walk to the summit.  From here it is a fairly vague line back down to the finish at Pen Y Pas.

As we dropped below the cloud the car park came into sight and I was able to view the first full course runner in front of me, along with the rather welcome sight of Phil Wells in the distance ahead of me.

I did not realise it at this stage, but most of the Eryri runners in front of me had taken a wrong turn down towards Nant Peris, so I did not realise how far up the field I was right now, but I did know that this descent was where I could make up some time.

I switched off the safety guard and flung myself down the hillside in the general direction of the car park.  The lines proved exciting at times as I went through the boulder fields but I successfully made it past team mate Phil Wells about 500 metres from the end to learn to my surprise that I was 3rd overall.

Having spent some time in Wales for recces and races of UTS50 earlier in the year I think I had an idea of what the day had held in store, so I knew what to expect and felt my training for this race had gone well, but to get my first podium in a Welsh mountain race was a very proud moment’

Eryri Harriers hosted the event and provided excellent live tracking at race HQ along with great post race food.  Some very welcoming hosts, who seemed genuinely happy to have so many red and white vests out on their race.

Other achievements in the half included Phil Wells who was 2nd MV40 and Rob Rawlinson, 3rd MV40.

Peris Half Rob Andy Phil

In the Full Peris, a gruelling 18.5 miles of over 8500ft of climbing, CV’s Jonny Croston was 9th and Dougie Zinnis 13th. Not content with completing 18.5miles, James Cooke ran an extra lap round Llanberis after unwittingly following an old route map he’d recently purchased on-line.

Full Peris CVFR results:

9 Jonny Croston MV40 03:43:51
13 Dougie Zinis MOpen 03:53:49
30 Paul Haigh MV40 04:24:56
35 Mike Clayton MOpen 04:31:39
44 Mark Wharton MV50 04:49:25
59 James Cooke MOpen 05:31:23

Half Peris CVFR results:

3 Andy Wright MV40 02:07:58
5 Phil Wells MV40 02:08:46
11 Rob Rawlinson MV40 02:11:08
26 Toby Sydes MV50 02:35:46
27 Tim Brooks MV40 02:35:59
37 Charlotte Wetton FOpen 03:08:43

On the Sunday, Holly Page, taking a rest from her international travels, and Carole Fryer flew the CV flag and scooped up 1st lady and VF50 at the Rombalds Romp fell race over on Ilkley Moor. Conditions were grim but both were still smiling as they practically swam round the 8 mile course.

Carole Fryer Rombald Romp

Holly Page Rombald Romp

Meanwhile, in sunnier, warmer climate in Italy, CV’s Adam Osborne struck MV40 gold in the World Mountain Running Championships, with team mate Ben Mousey securing silver. Said a rather elated Adam:

‘Over the moon to win the World Masters and to stand on the podium and hear the national anthem! It was a deceptively tough race, fast with some technical, steep climbs and the heat was sapping- not something a pasty Yorkshireman is used to! Has a bad patch on second of three laps but came back strongly on third.

Delighted to see Ben cross the line shortly after me and win a silver- good day for CVFR! Great event; the Italians know how to put on a race with great atmosphere and support!’

Team mate Ben said:

‘I came here with little expectation, after missing all of the racing season through illness. I’ve been nowhere near top form and this was a course that definitely did not suit me – fast and furious with lots of flat road sections. Plus it was at least 33 degrees in the heat of the midday sun. But I gave it my all and it paid off! I’m absolutely over the moon to finally make the podium after 4 years of failed attempts.

But despite my own personal success, the day really belonged to my good friend Adam Osborne, who ran the race of his life to take gold in the V40 category. We’ve been friends a long time, been part of international teams together in the past and now we’re even Calder Valley club mates. So I was so happy for him to stand at the top of the podium and see him back at his best. One of the nicest and most modest guys you’ll ever meet’

Gold and silver for CVFR’s Osborne and Mounsey

Elsewhere, CV’s Ben Cliff came 5th MV40 in the Holcombe Mountain duathalon.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

Mounsey is a blue streak while Carole Fryer continues her’s

A handful of the club’s more serious runners were focused on Sunday’s Illam Park Fell Race – a challenging Category A fell race in beautiful White Peak countryside (with all profits going to local charities). This race was also the final counter for the English Championship and saw 150 of the country’s best fell runners taking on the 7.2-km route, with its 450m of ascent.

CVFR’s Daren Kay and Gavin Mullhound were the first red & white hoops home – crossing the line only three seconds apart (in 38:40 and 38:43 respectively) to finish 1st and 2nd M45 (23rd and 24th overall). Third M45 home was another red & white runner – Karl Grey – finishing just behind his team mates in 38:59 (26th overall). There were also strong runs from Alex Whittam (30th overall, 21st in the men’s senior age category), Martin Howard (35th overall and 3rd under 23) and Mark Burton (51st overall, 7th M45). With this result, Calder Valley’s Martin Howard crowned off a fantastic season by securing an impressive 3rd place in the men’s U23s in the English Championships.

Mark Burton at Illam – credit Stephen Wilson

This Sunday was also the date for the Utterly Butterly fell race at Marsden – an unusual fell race with a scenic route that takes in five reservoirs in five miles (with 850ft of ascent).

In the men’s race, Darren Earnshaw was the CVFR runner over the line, finishing 13th of 92 runners & 4th in the MV40 age category in 38.56. He was closely followed by Rob Rawlinson (15th overall & 5th MV40 in 38:57) with Jon Underwood also running well to finish 20th overall in 39:35.

In the ladies’ race, Carole Fryer ran a brilliant race to finish 8th overall & first in the FV50 category in 44:54. Fryer described as how this unusual fell race  – comprising of one third track, one third paved footpaths and one third grassy/gravelly footpaths  – is particularly ‘good for those new to fell running’, and typically quite ‘runable after the initial climb’. However, in the somewhat inclement conditions on Sunday, it was not as sstraight forward as in previous years – not least given the number of flagstones, which are notoriously slippery when wet. Nonetheless, Fryer reports that she is convinced it is all ‘well worth it for the tea & gorgeous cake at the presentation’.

This weekend also marked Stuart Russell’s Bob Graham Round attempt – a 66-mile, 27,000-ft circuit of 42 of the highest peaks in the English Lake District, which needs to be completed within 24 hours to qualify as a success. Russell finished his successful round in an impressive 23h13, commenting how he ‘got lucky’ with the weather – setting off on Friday night at 10pm in beautiful conditions, although winds did pick up later.

Stuart Russell’ss BGR

By mile 60 & the final summit, Russell was reduced, rather unsurprisingly, to observing to his support team (John Allan, Helen & Kirsty) that the challenge was “just really hard!” However, having been ‘force fed with the secret weapon of mango’ in leg 4, he could keep going – and so credits his success to his support team, who kept him going throughout to become the 4th CVFR club member to successful finish the incredibly tough BG challenge this year. 

Stuart Russell’ss BGR


Further afield Scotland hosted events which saw two of CVFR’s elite runners back running again. Ben Mounsey raced in Kinlochleven at the Salomon Skyline Scotland races, taking 1st place in the 3 Mealls Trail Race. Mounsey described how this ‘very tough’ technical 18-km trail race, with its over 700m of total ascent and a high point of 560m in an astounding 1:35:08 – was a real challenge.

Ben Mounsey – credit Pete Aylward

Nonetheless, it was one he more than rose to, finishing over ten minutes before the rest of field of the 150 athletes. Mounsey is now on his way to Italy to compete in the World Masters 2019 this coming week.

Ben Mouney finishing his race – credit Pete Aylward


For the elite ladies, this Saturday (21st September) saw Calder Valley’s Holly Page competing at the Ring of Steal Sky Race – the last round of the Golden Trail World Series – a race within the Mamores that takes in a series of majestic Munros (Scottish Mountains over 3,000ft / 914m) and four summits.

Page considered not taking part in this 29km (2,500m of ascent) race at one point, as having been plagued with injuries this season, she thought it would be ‘nigh impossible to qualify for the top 10 and a trip to Nepal’. However, the Scottish hills in the sunshine worked their charm, and Page felt good right at the start. She was in second from the get-go, although the previous week’s longer mountain runs began to take their toll and towards the end – out of gels and water, she was willing herself forward.

On the last downhill, Page was unfortunate to fall in a bog – smashing her leg on a rock so badly she needed several stiches. Nonetheless, she still placed second lady – in a respectable 3:54:18 – and in so doing, qualified for the Grand Final of the Golden Trail World Series. In typical Page style, having tied for 10th place with another runner – and won thanks to the ‘higher position’ rule – she has invited the latter to join her at her guest in the Himalayans.

Holly Page – official race photo


Closer to home, this Saturday, 21st September also saw club chairman, Bill Johnson, take on the Lantern Pike fell race from Hayfield  – the fell race with the oldest record in the country (Ricky Wilde set the record in 1977 and no-one has come close to it since.) Johnson ran exceptionally well in the unseasonal heat in what was his first fell race in 12 months – having recently focused on multi-day events and torn a tendon last January. Despite feeling he ‘probably set off a bit too fast’ & consequently was almost ‘sick with effort’ by the turnaround point, Johnson still finished an impressive 17th out of 107 runners. The race was won by former English champion Lloyd Taggart.

And finally – much close to home – a number of club members took part in the Cragg Vale 15 races on Sunday 22nd – up and down the B6138 – famous for being the longest continuous gradient in England. This year, the traditional races over 10 miles, 10km and 5km were complimented by the new 1-mile dash and whilst results are yet to be published, CVFR’s Elliot Corner ran well in the 10-mile Cragg Challenge to clock in an impressive average speed of 6 minutes 50 seconds over the course. For the juniors, the trio of Lennon Wilson, Fred Slater and Cory Stewart ran exceptionally strongly to all finish the 10km race in sub-27 minutes (considerably faster than the average time for the course in 2018).  

Lennon Wilson & Fred Slater

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

Holden poised for ‘double double’ in the CVFR women’s Champs

With all to play for in the CVFR club championships, Saturday’s Lost Shepherd Fell Race was an important counter. Despite its category BL status, this challenging, partially flagged, 15 mile race packs plenty of ascent (2690ft) with nine checkpoints over local open moor and footpath (including Stoodley Pike twice!). 

CVFR’s Simon Fisher, race organiser reported that 76 runners lined up, with Saddleworth runners’ Chris Philips first man back and Todmorden Harriers’ Annie Roberts first woman. Money raised goes to local charities, the Good Shepherd Church and CROWS, Community Rights of Way Service. 

Calder Valley’s women put in great individual performances to win ladies team prize (Catherine Holden, Stella Christanthou and Charlotte Wetton). 

Catherine Holden at the Lost Shepherd Credit Ian Symington

Stella Christanthou at the Lost Shepherd Credit Ian Symington

Charlotte Wetton at the Lost Shepherd Credit Ian Symington



Catherine Holden also took first FV40 spot and commented “It was a great race actually. Obviously the weather helped, but a gorgeous route. Very runnable despite a couple of killer hills, especially the second ascent to Stoodley.” 

With a full set of CVFR Champs counter races under her belt, Catherine looks poised to ‘do the double’ for the second year running and win the women’s and FV Champs trophies. The top spot in the Club Champs, currently residing with James Cooke is also up for grabs. All will be revealed in Andy Wright’s next club championship update, when official results are collated. Suspense is mounting…

Over in Todmorden, at the Havoc mountain bike track, CVFR’s Martin Howard threw himself down the Yorkshire Downhill Time Trial in impressive fashion this weekend. 

With 524ft of descent (and only 131ft ascent) this fast, short course is described as 1.5km of mixed terrain – moorland, woodland and banked turns for extra pace! Martin Howard flew down to take the win and posted: “Had so much fun at the Yorkshire Downhill Time Trial hosted by Calder Valley Mountain Rescue. Managed to take the win and set a new course record, taking it off the legendary descender Ted Mason.”

Calder Valley’s Anthony Costello also had a great run to finish sixth in Keighley and Craven’s short, 3 mile Beefy’s Nab Fell Race this Sunday.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

Yorkshireman is always a favourite

This weekend was another bumper one in the fell-runner calendar. As usual, Sunday’s Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon was particularly popular with the red & white hoops. A number of the club’s runners took on this year’s full & half-marathon routes in the sunshine across the local hills, through bogs & mud.

Lucy – credit Dave Woodhead

Calder Valley’s Lucy Collins ran a fantastic 13.1-mile half marathon race, to finish in 1h57:52 – 10th overall & a full 4.5 minutes ahead of the second-placed female runner. Other notable results in the half marathon include Darren Earnshaw and Andrew Davies, who finished 26th overall (7th in the MV40 age category) & 80th overall (5th MV60) respectively.

Iain Illstone & Paul Haigh – credit Mick Fryer

In the full marathon, Dan Marsden was the first CVFR runner to cross the line – finishing the 26.2-mile route, with its 1,000m of ascent, in the top 15 overall & the top 10 in his age category. For the men, John Allen, Ben Cliff also ran strongly, finishing 33rd, 53rd (22nd MV40). In the women’s full marathon, Kate Pope of Calder Valley (79th overall) finished 5th FV40, closely followed by Gloria Aysuo & Christina Turner in joint 7th place. In the full marathon pairs, Paul Haigh & Iain Illstone not only ran well but managed to keep a smile on their faces nearly the whole way around – & finished an impressive 2nd place for the pairs race, in just over four hours.

CVFR on the YORM – credit Mick Fryer

Slightly further away from home, also on Sunday 8th September, Anthony Costello flew the red & white stripped flag for Calder Valley at the 2019 Bradley fell race, finishing the 3.5 miles with its 900ft of climb 27th overall & 5th in the MV50 category.

Further away again, this time in the Lake District & on Saturday, 7th September, a number of the club’s more serious racers competed in the English Championships counter the Derek Price Memorial Grisedale Horseshoe race. As a traditional fell race, runners must choose their own route over just shy of 10 miles between check points in this tough AM race. With its 1525m of climb across rough mountainous terrain, this race is well-known for its poor weather conditions. This year, however, it was the heat that posed more of a challenge than the more usual, rain, clag & mist.

CVFR’s Adam Osborne was the first red & white hopped runner across the finish line in 12th position overall (3rd M40) in 1h53:49. CVFR not only secured an impressive 1st, 2ndplaces in the MV45 age category with Karl Grey (19th place overall) finishing in 1h56:06, closely followed by Darren Kay (25th overall) in 1h58:42, but with good runs by Shaun Godsman & Mark Taylor had four of the first six finishers in this age category. U23 runner Martin Howard also ran well in a tough field to finish in the top five in this, the youngest age category for this tough race (65th overall).

Finally – & further away again – this time in Scotland: Saturday, 7th September, saw three of the club’s hardiest runners – Stephen Smithies, Helen Buchan and Blair Garrett – take on the infamous Ben Nevis 4000 race. Veteran runners Stephen Smithies & Helen Buchan both ran exceptionally well to finish in 2h13:46 & 2h47:12 & place (107th & 321st overall respectively). Given the heat and sunshine, many runners recorded slower times than hoped for the 46-km race, with its 4100m of climb on the UK’s most iconic mountain & highest point. Garrett, however, was delighted to buck this trend, finishing over four minutes faster than his 2018 time (312th overall). He commented how the ‘unusually clear’ conditions afforded the runners ‘sensational views’ on the way up but most were no doubt too focused on ‘scree surfing and navigating death defying rocks’ on the way down to appreciate the amazing panoramas.

Blair Garrett, Helen B & Stephen S – no credit

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones