Racers blessed before the run

Chris Goddard has drawn the special map trophy for the Heptonstall fell race
Chris Goddard has drawn the special map trophy for the Heptonstall fell race

The fourth running of Heptonstall Fell Race takes place on Saturday, March 29, with upper Calder Valley runners expected to be represented at what is a real community event as well as a sports one.

The spectacular 15-mile run has become a popular event in the fell running calendar, with runners raising funds for local scouts, church, and Calder Valley Search and Rescue team. In a unique feature, proceedings begin with Rev Howard Pask providing a start-line blessing to the assembled participants. Suitably inspired, runners will then surge out of the village to tackle the challenging moor and dale route.

The race route climbs a total of 3,200 feet as it passes through Colden Clough, across Heptonstall Moor, over Standing Stone Hill, before a glorious mile-long descent to Blake Dean. It has a sting in its tail, with all the tough climbs in the second half of the gruelling course. Having already slogged across miles of moor land, runners are then confronted with ascents to Greave Height, High Rakes, Turn Hill, Shackleton Knoll, and the final 500 feet ascent from the Blue Pig back to Heptonstall

This year the race has a new headquarters at the Cross Inn, where the landlord has generously provided bottled beer as prizes, and the race coincides with a three-day beer festival.

Hebden Bridge runner Chris Goddard, wishing to support the race, has created a hand-drawn map of the route as the winner’s trophy, to be used annually. Chris has started drawing and publishing fell routes - a little like a runners’ Wainwright.

Race organsier Steve Grimley said: “Spectators can enjoy the spectacular start outside the Cross Inn at 10.30am, before cheering home the finishers in the fields off Town Field Lane from 12.30pm.”

Entry of £6 to the race, which is only suitable for experienced fell runners, is on the day at the event HQ. Registration opens at 9am. Full details are available at heptonstallfellrace.wordpress.com.