Calder Valley Fell Runners – 1st November 2021

The weekend had weather aplenty which did limit some racing, with a number of events in the Lakes cancelled. But as most fell runners will tell you, their sport is all about running through ankle-deep if not knee-high bogs! And CVFR certainly made a muddy splash at two races this weekend. 

Saturday, 30th October saw the 54th edition of the always expertly organised CraggRunner ‘Race you to the Summit’. This classic local 4.3-mile fell race, completed with over 800 punishing feet of climb, sees competitors start at the Summit Inn in Littleborough and run up to the White House pub near Blackstone Edge – where they touch the pub wall & turn around to run back to the Summit for a well-earnt pint!

A firm favourite with Calderdale clubs, organisers Craggrunner always ensures a friendly atmosphere & encourages those racing to run in fancy dress for Halloween. Moreover, with the event actually falling on the Halloween weekend this year, there was an extra push for people to get into the holiday spirit. Spectators got a real treat with many of the 133 racers turning up in full fancy dress – anyone wandering past may well have wondered if they had fallen into an alternate universe!

The start with fancy dress on display – photo courtesy of CraggRunner

An event in its 54th year in Autumn in Calderdale, has seen its fair share of adverse weather conditions & the average storm was not about to stop play. There was a great turnout from the club at both junior & senior level, with wins in both the men’s & the women’s race for CVFR. The junior races were held before the seniors, with U9, U11, U13 & U15 age categories (the over 15s joined the senior race). Whilst junior results were not yet published on going to press – the race organisers commended these younger runners, who gave it their all, despite definitely drawing the short-straw when it came to the weather!I

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35th Anniversary Relay

23rd October 2021 – Race Organiser’s report

RO Marc giving teams final instructions

No running club anniversary would be complete without a race and so, the Anniversary Relay was conceived to form a big part of the celebrations. With fifty-six club members racing in 14 teams of 4 plus marshals, event field helpers, photographers and film-makers, prize production elves and event organisers. Everyone gave it their all…and some a little more.

And they’re off

The course, a 4.65km loop from Stubb Field, was devised for the event to take account of juniors’ welfare, slower runners, potentially poor weather conditions and still provide some competitive racing and a good bit of bog snorkelling along the way. On the day, a few unexpected visitors arrived to spectate including a large herd of cows on the moor and four very excited horses in the first field. The runners took it all in their stride.

The race started with a decent climb to below and then behind Daisy Bank before levelling off for a long trod skirting the top of Broadhead Clough before turning right onto Erringden Moor to a boundary stone sporting a vintage club vest. The rest of the race follows the Winter Handicap route back down to Park Fold before a fast finish to Race HQ.

And we certainly got some exciting finishes with Andy Smith narrowly beating a tiring Andrew Davies to the line, a close finish between Sarah Noot and Charlotte Wetton on Leg 3 and junior, JD Anderson-Martin, putting in an amazing effort to hold the fast-approaching Martin Howard to a tie on the line with both teams finishing with an identical time. Martin also put in the fastest leg overall in 20:37.

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Golden Oldies

Calder Valley Fell Runners – 18th October 2021

British Fell Running Relay Championships 2021

This weekend saw one of the most exciting dates in the fell running calendar with the British Fell Running Relay Championships hosted by Helm Hill Runners and British Athletics on the fells around Tebay just north of Kendal. And what a day it was. With 220 teams each represented by 6 runners the event brought together 1,320 runners chasing glory in eight categories.

Calder Valley Fell Runners again showed their strength in depth and despite some sore legs after the heroics of the Three Peaks the week before, put out three men’s and two women’s teams – Men’s and Women’s Open, Men’s and Women’s V40 and Men’s V50.

The relays are ultra-competitive and the course is designed to test teams to the limit. Run over four legs, with each starting and finishing in the event field, teams run in a mix of solo and pairs. Leg 1 is the short, sharp 5.9km loosener for a solo runner taking on 490m of climbing after ducking under the M6 Motorway and climbing up towards Grayrigg Pike and back. Leg 2 follows and is probably the most challenging of the day. Run in pairs over 10km, this is the navigation leg with each team using their map reading skills to navigate between checkpoints. The pairs theme continues into Leg 3 with a flagged 10.3km route, a gruelling 940m of ascent that takes in Blease Fell, Uldale Head, Linghaw and Blease Fell again before dropping back down. And finally, the Leg 4 solo runner is off to bring back glory for the team, maintain a position, overhaul a close competitor, try to keep a small advantage over the chasing pack. A swift 5.3km and the race ends in the to the Event Field.

The Golden Boys

CVFR teams put on a great display. The Men’s Open team finished a creditable 6th overall whilst the Women’s V40 outpaced the Women’s Open team pulling off 6th place in their category. Not to be outdone, the Men’s V50 team put in a fantastic team effort but missed out on a category podium place by 15 seconds earning a 4th place spot. The club’s glory team on the day was the Men’s V40. Taking 15th place overall in the competition, they claimed top spot in their category as British MV40 Champions 2021 in a brilliant time of 3:29:16.

Layla making her club debut

A real credit to the teams and to CVFR’s Women’s Captain Carolyn Shimwell, as, despite last minute injury and illness, the club put out two committed women’s teams at short notice. In the words of Gill Dickson, “What a brilliant day”.

And a final word from Shaun Godsman, Men’s Captain and anchor leg runner for the new British Fell Relays MV40 Champions. Asked by a reporter how much you have to train for the relays. “Enough. Just Enough!”

CVFR Teams

Men’s Open: Time 3:16:14. Position 6th Overall

Team: 1. Martin Howard 2. Darren Kay/Matty Roberts 3. Andy Worster/Chris Holdsworth
4. Ben Mounsey

Women’s Open: Time 5:41:28. Position 33rd in Category
Team: 1. Ambi Swindells 2. Lindsay McMillan/Rebecca Alathoor 3. Gill Dickson/Charlotte Wetton 4. Layla Hirst

Men’s V40: Time 3:29:16. Position 15th Overall – 1st in Category

Team: 1 Adam Osborne 2. James Logue/Dougie Zinis 3. Karl Gray/Gav Mulholland
4. Shaun Godsman

Women’s V40: Time 5:08:00. Position 6th in Category

Team: 1. Jocasta Fletcher 2. Helen Buchan/Helen Curtis 3. Rachael Beaumont/Suzanna Richardson 4. Fiona Lynch

Men’s V50: Time 4:28:23. Position 96th Overall – 4th in Category

Team: 1. Toby Sydes 2. Steve Smithies/Simon Bourne 3. Mark Wharton/Jonathan Emberton
4. Andrew Davies


Chocolates Galore

Calder Valley Fell Runners – 11th October 

Closer to home and in far more pleasant conditions, Sunday 8th October, saw a group of red & white hooped runners enjoying the Autumnal sunshine around Brontë Country at the well-organised Within’s Skyline fell race. The 6.2-mile race, with its 820ft of ascent, takes in a steep climb and plenty of bogs, as racers slog up to Top Withins, before enjoying some fast downhill trails back to Penistone Hill, via the famous Brontë Bridge.

Whilst provisional results had yet to be published on going to press, this year, Phil Wells was the first CVFR over the line in 22nd place overall. He was followed Tristan Watson in 52nd place, with veteran runners Andrew Davies & Anthony Costello respectively 63rd & 74th overall, & Andy Smith the fifth CVFR to complete the course in 120th place overall.

Chocolate and more chocolate prizes

However, the day belonged to the CVFR juniors, who put in a cracking show of force in the day’s earlier ‘rat run’ races around the Penistone Hill quarry. The younger Calder Valley runners won a slew of podium places. Third place spots went to Ishbel Symington in the U9’s girls’ race & to Thomas McKee in the U15’s boys’ race. Second place went to Noah de Wit in the U13’s race. However, it was the pocket rocket, Clara McKee, who once again smashed expectations. McKee topped an amazing ‘squeezed’ season of races by not only finishing first girl in the U15’s (& U13’s races) but crossing the line fourth overall in the U15’s race & shredding the previous girls’ race record time in the process. There were also strong runs from Leo Illstone (2nd Under 17) & his sister Georgie – all in all, an incredibly successful morning’s work for our juniors.