Calder Valley Fell Runners – 16 May 2022
Storming the Calderdale Way Relay
As usual, the mid May racing calendar was dominated by the Calder Way Relay (CWR). The biggest off-road racing event in the country, this team event sees racers run the length of the Calder Way (just shy of 50 miles/80km), which follows the old packhorse ways in a circuit around Calderdale.
Some happy runners after they’ve raced
The full course is split into six legs of varied lengths, profiles & ascents, and clubs submit teams consisting of 12 runners each, with two per leg. Pairs must run closely together or face disqualification. Racers who cross their leg finishing line before the ‘cut off’ time, pass a baton to the next pair in their team. However, after each leg’s cut-off time, all remaining runners set off in a mass start. Consequently, in addition to racing, it also presents quite a challenge to know exactly where your team is placed in the rankings as the day progresses, making for some nail-biting finishes and calculations.
For the 2022 edition, held this year on Sunday 15th May, CVFR were delighted to have sufficient runners for six teams (72 runners). This year, 88 teams finished the race – well over 1,000 runners in total!
Calder Valley Men’s (Open) A Team took overall first place, with the 12 men – Andy Worster and Chris Holdsworth (Leg 1), Martin Howard and Shaun Godsman (Leg 2), Alex Whittem and Elijah Peers Webb (Leg 3), Karl Gray and Gav Mullholland (Leg 4), Andy Ford and Stephen Hall (Leg 5) with Ben Mounsey and Ed Hyland on the final Leg 6. The team stormed the six-leg 50 mile relay in an impressive 6 hours 1 minute and 58 seconds. This astounding result saw them run the relay faster, by over 16 minutes, than second place Barlick Fell Runners A Team and a full 26 minutes quicker than third-placed Wharfedale Men’s A Team.
Taking the win for the A team – Ed and Ben. Photo Courtesy of Nick Small
CVFR’s veteran teams also ran out of their socks, despite a few injuries meaning rejigging the men’s team. The male vet’s team – consisting of Dan Marsden and Dan Jones (Leg 1), Stephen Smithies and James Williams (Leg 2), Lee Shimwell and Gavin Roper (Leg 3), Dougie Zinnis and Jonny Croston (Leg 4), Bill Johnson and Matt Kay (Leg 5), Kevin Hoult and Paul Haigh (Leg 6) crossed the line in a solid 11th place overall, to take first place in the over 40s race, in a combined time of just shy of 7 hours and 10 minutes.
Lee and Gavin before their run for the Vets Team
Whilst the 3 minute and 47 second winning margin may seem small over second-placed Todmorden Harriers Veterans, at the start of Leg 4, the CVFR Men’s Vets were a full 18 minutes down on Todmorden, who were leading comfortably at that point. The red and white striped vets managed to claw back an impressive ten minutes over legs 4 and 5, plus an amazing 11 minutes more on Leg 6 alone, as veteran ultra-runner Kevin Hoult kept partner Paul Haigh paced to perfection, despite the unexpected heat. Both CVFR and Todmorden Harriers easily outpaced all other veteran teams with Rossendale Men’s Vets in third place.
Fresh faced Kev with Paul who’s done in after giving it his all for the team
Here’s what Paul had to say ‘With a depleted team (as members were either doing other races or pulled into the Calder Valley Men’s open team); injuries (2 of our original 12 pulled out the week before the race) and myself and Kev pictured having ran Ultras within a week of the race (a day before in Kev’s case) we were not expected to win. At one stage we were 18 minutes down, but Dougie and Jonny on Leg 4 and Matt and Bill on Leg 5 managed to reduce the deficit to 8 minutes at the start of Leg 6. After running 90 miles the weekend before I knew it was going to be tough. But Kev paced us to perfection so we raced hard but still had something left in the tank at the end. I quietly cursed when I saw the Todmorden team at the top of the hill in Southowram with 2.5 miles to go and turned to Kev and said ‘I can’t race this last bit’. But when they didn’t chase after us autopilot kicked in and Kev and I kicked up a gear to lose them. As it started to hurt all I could think over and over in my head was “2 minutes, 2 minutes, 2 minutes” (the margin I lost the 90 miles Dales High Way the week before). The Hebble Trail at the end seemed to go on forever. A first and historic win for the men’s vets team’.
Do you think they were pleased with the Vets Win – Ecstatic Kev and Paul. Photo courtesy of Nick Small
Lucky Team No 13 was the women’s veteran runners – Christina Turner and Sarah Noots (Leg 1), Stella Chrisanthou and Trudi Entwistle (Leg 2), Emily Ledder and Rachel Johnston (Leg 3), Susie Richardson and Natasha Butterfield (Leg 4), Catherine Holden and Rachael Beaumont (Leg 5) with Helen Buchan and Gayle Sugden on the final Leg 6 – also ran amazingly well. The female veterans finished the relay in a combined time of just over 8 hours and 15 minutes. This saw them not only record a time that was nearly two hours faster than the second placed female veteran’s team, but also one that had them place second amongst all female teams – only beaten by the winning open ladies team Barlick Ladies A.
Stella and Trudi after their storming run
In the mixed team category, to qualify at least half of the 12 runners must be female, the red and white hooped mixed A team – comprising George Kettlewell and Jake Smallbones (Leg 1), Cass Chisholm and Sonia Pascal (Leg 2), Rebecca Alathoor and Sophie Baggot (Leg 3), Aaron Roberts and Chris Norman (Leg 4), April Caulfield and Ambi Swindells (Leg 5) with Chris Hall and Cam Rushworth on the final Leg 6 – finished in an impressive second place, with a combined time dipping in just under seven hours and 55 minutes. The Mixed A Team were only beaten by a very strong set of runners from Chorlton.
Andy and Will crossing the finish line for the mixed B team
CVFR’s Mixed B Team – Andy Davies and Alex Deltenre (Leg 1), Carolyn Shimwell and Liz Lloyd (Leg 2), Gill Dickson and Glorida Ayuso (Leg 3), Martin Davies and Iain Powell (Leg 4), Catherine Jones and Lindsay McMillan (Leg 5), with Andy Greenwood and Will Stewart (Leg 6) – crossed the line with a combined time of less than 9 hours and ten minutes. They took 9th place in the mixed category.
CVFR’s Mixed C Team – Ben Mason and Charlotte Wetton (Leg 1), Kate Lycett and Nicki Latham (Leg 2), Jocasta Fletcher and Bob Howard (Leg 3), Di Wright and Tamsin Cooke (Leg 4), James Cooke and Toby Sydes (Leg 5) with Oli Beaumont and Dominic Camponi on Leg 6 – came in in 18th overall, finishing the full route in just shy of 9 hours and 43 minutes.
Big thanks go as always to Halifax Harriers and especially Nick Small for organizing & running this mammoth event.
Away from our local fells, a special mention must go to Stuart Russell, who on Saturday 14th May completed the famous Paddy Buckley Round in Wales. Runners can start anywhere on the course & proceed either clockwise or anticlockwise. Russell set off on this punishing 100-km route with its lung busting 47 peaks at 10am from Capel Curig and finished this huge test of mental fitness, stamina & endurance in 26 hours and 57 minutes. Whilst the aim is to finish in under 24h, just getting round the course at all is a major achievement. Russell, who describes the experience as ‘an amazing day out with mates’, reports how the first leg went well and to schedule, but by the second, he had started feeling quite sick and experiencing bad cramps. This unfortunately caused him to drop quite a bit of time off his target. He was amazingly grateful to his support team, who kept him going, not least Charlie Parkinson, Helen Buchan and Fiona Lynch who kept him company on three legs of the whole course!
Stuart on his PB on a beautiful day
In the mid-week races, on Tuesday, 10th May at Mearley Clough fell race (sponsored by Moorhouse Brewery), it was a fourth time win for Calder Valley’s Darren Kay. Veteran runner Kay finished the 3.5 mile course with its 1247ft of climbing with a strong time of 31 minutes and 24 seconds – only 72 seconds shy of the overall course record, set in 2015!
It goes without saying, given his first place outright, that as well as winning the overall race, Kay also took the V50’s title. He is also no stranger to success in Mearley Clough, having won the race on three previous occasions (2006, 2007 and 2013), which coupled with this 2022 win, means Kay has now won the race more times than anybody else.
Darren receiving the trophy and his goodies as race winner
Also on Tuesday, 10th May, following a two-year absence due to COVID, the 35th edition of the Jack Bloor fell race took place in the brilliant sunshine on Ilkley Moor. This classic 5.2-mile navigational fell race was established in 1985 to commemorate the life of the acclaimed Yorkshire sportsman whose name it carries. In this year’s race, CVFR’s Adam Osborne ran well to finish 5th overall, and first in the V40’s race.
Adam Osborne with his V40 winner’s trophy at Jack Bloor fell race – with Bloor’s daughter Hilary – photo courtesy of Dave Woodhead
CVFR Juniors doing us proud
This Sunday, 15th May also saw a couple of our U17s & U19 CVFR juniors have the honour of racing not only for club, but also for their counties of birth at the inter counties event at Great Whernside on the outskirts of Kettlewell. As well as an inter-counties event, this was also the third counter for the junior English championships competition, meaning there was a decent turnout and a high standard of racing.
The U19s Inter Counties team winners Yorkshire – photo courtesy of Dave Woodhead
CVFR junior runner William Hall ran a cracking race in the British U19 Inter Counties Fell and Hill Championship race, securing a top three finish and so also win a third-place medal for Yorkshire. This helped Yorkshire to win the Team Gold.
Will Hall (Yorkshire), Charlie Pickens (Greater Manchester) and Euan Logue CVFR proudly wearing their vest
In the U17, Charlie Pickens, competing for Greater Manchester, ran very well to come 6th – only just over a minute and a half behind the first placed runner. Pickens recalls how ‘proud’ he was to wear his new orange & black vest for the first time and represent not only CVFR but also Greater Manchester. On the race, he describes a ‘fast start up a long steep hill’, and how following on from this, ‘despite less gradient, the strong headwind made it hard to pick up any speed’, meaning he had to just ‘keep on pushing through the pain’. After a short respite of flat, it was into the second, ‘steep & rocky ascent up to a ledge’. Here, ‘with many paths to choose from’, he was able to gain places by choosing ‘a steeper but more direct route’ up to the top, where ‘there was a 200m sprint to the turnaround’, after which it was a case of ‘haring it back down the way you came’, i.e., down a ‘challenging & rocky descent’, ‘with loose footholds and scree preventing any proper speed’. The race finished with a sprint, with a following wind and ‘the freedom to choose paths’, which allowed him to choose a ‘very direct route to the finishing funnel’. Pickens was quick to praise the organisers & comment how much he appreciated seeing so many competitors, especially running for their respective counties. In the U17 boy’s race, there were also top 20 finishes for Calder Valley’s Leo Illstone & Euan Logue (16th and 20th respectively).
In the U13 race Clara McKee won another outstanding race to win outright (beating all the boys) by over half a minute and finishing more than one and a half minutes ahead of the second-placed female runner. Also in the U13, Archie Cole & Harry Cliff finished 12th & 14th boy respectively.
In the U15, Thomas McKee ran well to get a top ten finish (8th), with Wynn Standish finishing 42nd boy. Finally, in the U11 race, Georgie Illstone was the only CVFR runner & did well to take 16th place in the girl’s race.
CALDER VALLEY NEWS REPORTER: catherine jones