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Calder Valley Fell Runners – 10 January 2022

This week saw a couple of the club’s hardiest ultra-runners finish preparations and set off on the Montane Spine race – one of the world’s toughest endurance races. This epic challenge sees racers run along the full Pennine Way, running non-stop from Edale to Kirk Yetholm on the Scottish border. Many of the club ran up on Sunday to cheer ‘Spiners’ on or even keep them company for a few miles, as they passed through or near our Valley.

With so much attention turned towards supporting club members on the Spine and settling into ‘dot watching’ for the rest of the week (as trackers mark racers progress along this iconic and tough route), racing was largely on the back burner for the club. However, five brave club members – Ed Hyland, Fiona Lynch, Emily Ledder, Stuart Russell and Jonny Croston completed the redoubtable Trigger Race on Sunday 9th January.

For the Trigger Race, competitors run in the opposite direction to Spine runners – towards Edale – this time all the way from Marsden, over Black Hill, Bleaklow and Kinder. Whilst the linear route measures 21 miles with an eye-watering 1650m feet climb, the race includes quite a lot of navigation. Runners have to run a few set points and ways around landmarks such as Butterley Reservoir, but they are free to choose their own routes or ‘lines’ across the moors. Consequently, some racers are likely to run further and ascend a lot more – depending on their navigation skills and  the ‘lines’ they choose, as they run between the three trig points that give this race its name: Black Hill, Higher Shelf and Kinder North Sandy Heys.

The 2022 event marked the 10th year of this race, after the 2021 edition had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. This year, 162 runners signed up and set off in rain, wind, snow and clag, but only 143 crossing the finish line. 19 had to abandon the race en route, struggling with the tough course and baltic conditions.  One competitor needed to be helicoptered off the moors.

Jonny concentrating so as not to fall in the cold water

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Spine and Splashing

Calder Valley Fell Runner – 17 January 2022

The Spine

The Spine Race is touted as Britain’s most Brutal race, covering the full 268 miles of the Pennine Way from Edale in the Peak District, passing through Charlestown, Blackshawhead and Colden to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. It’s also held in the middle of winter so competitors have 16 hours of darkness to cope with too.  Tiredness, fatigue, sleep deprivation and exposure to the extremes of winter weather are all to be expected.

Many top ultra-runners had entered this year’s race along with Calder Valley’s, Bill Johnson, Doug Gurr, and hotly tipped Dougie Zinis.  Dougie is building a reputation as an up and coming ultra-runner after winning the 108 mile Spine Challenger race in 2020 and gaining the record for a double Bob Graham, a mountainous 132 mile Lake District route.

Starting a week last Sunday, after a couple of days many of the favourites started to succumb to the energy sapping route.  Kim Collinson, previous winner of the Lakeland 100 and Sabrina Verjee, holder of the Wainwrights record both dropped out, while in the lead, at Malham.  Damian Hall, previous record holder for the Pennine Way and current holder of the Coast to Coast record, then took the lead only to drop out at Alston.  Previous Spine winner, Spaniard Eugeni Rosello Sole was then in 1st place, before dropping out himself after trying to recover by resting at a farm near Bellingham.  This left Eoin Keith to take the win in 92 hours 40 minutes and 30 seconds; bear in mind this time includes sleeping and eating.

Dougie tucking in for the long road ahead

All this time, self-reliant Dougie Zinis had kept on moving, running his own race.  With Eugeni dropping out, he moved up to joint second place with James Leavesley, winner of the summer version of the Spine.  This pair joined forces at Middleham, and ran together to the end, crossing the line in joint second place after 96 hours 06 minutes and 30 seconds.  Dougie had aimed to finish in less than 100 hours so was pleased with his time.

He said afterwards “I’m over the moon with my race, getting a podium finish was beyond my dreams but also the whole Spine experience, the Spine family, who really treat you like royalty. I’ve met some wonderful people and learned some massive lessons and sure I’ll be back for more.”

Bill at the end of the Spine

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Happy New Running Year

Calder Valley Fell Runners – 3 January 2022

Happy New Year! A lot of Calder Valley Fell Runners 2022 news to report already!

But let’s start with congratulations to one of our Juniors, Euan Logue who, at the Whinberry Naze Boxing day event, competed in his first Seniors race. Whinberry Naze is a tough 4 mile event, with 750 ft of climbing. In Euan’s own words, ‘this was my first Senior race, and I ran it dressed as an elf. It was a steep start, which led to a snowy scramble to the highest point on Cowpe Lowe, where Santa gave all the runners Smarties. Then it was a fast and furious downhill to the finish’. Euan was in 7th place before the descent, and he finished 8th overall, (3rd in the under-18 category) a remarkable debut, ‘only beaten by a Christmas tree out of those in fancy dress’. Great stuff, Euan Super-Elf Logue.

Euan ‘Super-Elf’ Logue coming 8th

On 28 December, 3 CVFR runners (Luke Melescko, Barney Horne, Dominic Camponi) ran the Coley Canter. This is a 7.7 mile muddy slog on the fells above Northowram, with a tricky river-crossing just to add to the effort and wetness! Luke stormed home in 01.03.06, to take 1st place in his M45 category, and a fine 8th place overall. Barry Horne was not far behind in 13th place, 01.04.31, and Dominic completed this excellent CVFR showing, in 25th place, 01.09.51. 122 runners took part.

Luke enjoying the mud

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Scores and Stoops

And they’re off into the mist

Calder Valley Fell Runners – 20 December 2021

Saturday saw a huge turnout of CVFR members, and other runners, for our annual Winter SCORE event. Many thanks to Phil and Jackie Scarf and team for organizing this fun and festive slog!

So, what is the SCORE event? Well, It’s a combination of running, navigation and observation skills, up on the moors. Individuals or small teams have to find their way to 17 (plus ‘start’ and ‘finish’) places, ticking off as many as possible within a 90 minute time limit. There are no rules about the order these ‘checkpoints’ have to be visited – so the trick is to do them in a time/distance-efficient way without getting hopelessly confused and lost! The race began at 10am with a mass-start from the car park at Withens Clough Reservoir, and ended at St John the Baptist Church just off Cragg Road (near the Hinchcliffe pub).

It was a misty morning when over 100 stalwarts powered off to score as many points as they could. The lovely thing about this race is runners can do it alone, or with friends – and there are even family teams: a fine gesture in the Christmas spirit.

The course is approximately 8 miles, but can be as long as 10 miles, depending on how the runners choose to tackle the checkpoints, which include such iconic sites as Erringden Moor, Sunderland Pasture, Stoodley Pike (or near enough!), High Green, Red Dykes, and many more.

Some of the happy prize winners

Congratulations to the overall winner Alisdair Pedley (316 points); James Williams/Gaz Perberton 1st male pair (262 points); Trudie Entwistle and Thomas, 1st family pair (233 points); Jocasta Fletcher/Christina Turner, 2nd female pair (175 points), and to all CVFR and other runners who took part. It would be a bit dull to list every CVFR runner so, with apologies to those not mentioned, here are a few who nailed the 2021 SCORE event in (and in no particular order):

Jonathan Emberton scored a cracking 272 points; Rachel Johnson stormed home with 216 points; Linda Hayles achieved an admirable 126 points; Tamsin Cooke, 145; Sue Martin/Angela Richards, 135; family teams Stella Cristanthou/Edward/Matthew, 216 – equalled by Ben Cliff/Harry/Noah, also 216; Mark O’Connor scored a remarkable solo 282 points; Kieran O’Prey/Jim Mosley a creditable 224 points. And your reporter thanks Oliver Beaumont for dragging him round to score 204 points.

Hot drinks, bacon butties, cakes galore were consumed at the finish, before we all went home to fatten up for Christmas.

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