Martin’s Midgley Moor success

Martin taking a healthy lead from the start

Much to his delight and just three weeks after winning the 20 mile Wadsworth Trog, Martin Howard added winning the 2020 Midgley Moor Fell Race to his growing list of trophies last Sunday. This was a relief as he was heard to say beforehand that he’d a round of beers for his club mates if he didn’t pick the best lines on the route and didn’t win it!!!

The race is a much shorter 5 mile fell race around the south-western corner of Midgley Moor, Howard’s local training ground.  His local knowledge paid off as the route requires visiting six checkpoints with no defined route in between.  The hours of training have worked as he came in nearly seven minutes ahead of second placed Rob James of Royton.  Rowen Pymm of Saddleworth Runners was first woman in 52:53.

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“Dennis” didn’t stop them!!!

With the onslaught of another storm, in the form of Storm Dennis, very limited racing and lots of race cancellations. But what we did have on this Saturday was a bunch of hardy souls braving the fells, for the Calder Valley Resolution Run. It was the sixth instalment of the 9:30am jaunt on the moors. In the words of CVFR helper Christina Turner “It was wet and windy but still beautiful through the woods and across the fields in Heptonstall.  Great company and so satisfying to be out on the hills before breakfast on a Saturday!”. 

In other news, our international superstar Ben Mounsey bagged another win in Southern Spain. He fought off some of the finest trail runners the region has to offer. The race was Gegant De Pedra with challenging distance of 21km and an equally challenging climb of 1150m. And he went and set a new course record. Well done Ben!

‘Ben the Bullet’ off to a flying start

Straight from Ben’s mouth, his account of the race “It was my 2nd race in less than 15 hours, so the legs were tired and I had to work hard against some strong competition!.

It was a crazy route in parts, super-technical, with gnarly descents, steep climbs, make-shift wooden bridges and narrow drainage channels – just a sample of the terrain and obstacles we had to encounter.”


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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Howards Way at Wadsworth

Good job January is ‘dry’! You know it’s February when the ‘beast’ that is, the Wadsworth Trog, is upon us! This classic fell race takes in 19 miles of rugged, local moorland and fells with 3640ft of tough climbing.

Calder Valley’s international star, Ben Mounsey summed up The Trog and his attempts to ‘tame it’: “What makes this route so challenging is the terrain. The boggy ground saps your legs of energy and it’s a constant battle with the tussocks and the mud. The weather is usually inclement on race day and you have to be able to navigate as very little of the route is flagged. Not surprising then that many people refer to it as ‘The Beast’. Only tough, seasoned fell runners need apply.”

With thirteen checkpoints and cut off times, speed and navigational skills are of the essence.

Start line of The Trog

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