Third place helps Fines share the title honours

Max Wharton with  James Hall hot on his heels.
Max Wharton with James Hall hot on his heels.

Calder Valley’s top guns headed to the Peak District on Sunday to compete in the re-arranged Edale Skyline.

As the name suggests, this takes you on an undulating, 22 mile plus route of the picturesque scenery above Edale village, famed for being the southern start point of the Pennine Way.

On a pleasant but windy day, the race was the final counter in this year’s English Fell running champs so a strong field inevitably turned up, including Calder’s Helen Fines who was looking to cement her share of the ladies’ spoils with Bingley’s Victoria Wilkinson.

Helen’s brilliant third place was enough to do just that, and in the men’s race James Logue led home a strong Calder contingent finishing in seventh place with Ben Mounsey (14th), an exhausted Gavin Mulholland (16th) and Ian Symington (20th) also having super runs.

Todmorden Harriers were well represented and Nick Barber recorded his highest finish in a championship race, with 29th place in 3:09:01.

Tod’s Paul Brannigan was 49th in 4:21:37, Jane Leonard 252nd in 4:45:00 and David Leslie 270th in 5:35:20.

Four Calder junior cadets made the trip to Kendal for the prestigious England Schools Championship race - Max Wharton and Edan Whitelaw for the year 12/13 race and Jack Denton and Martin Howard for the year 10/11 event.

The irrepressible Wharton left the field for dead to win easily, seeing off his main rival James Hall. Whitelaw (12th), Denton(4th) and Howard (24th) also gave excellent accounts of themselves.

Saturday’s Thieveley Pike fell race out of Cliviger saw plenty of red and white vests in attendance with it being a club championship race.

This tough little class A gem is becoming a real star of the calendar, its four mile burst really testing the stamina with steep climbing and sharp descents. With the adjacent farmers’ fair, sheep dog trials and dog agility contest going on, you really could have been at a Lakeland show.

On a lovely sunny day local postie Alex Whittem finished second, hard on the heels of Horwich’s Joe Mercer.

There was also a good scrap between Mark Wharton (dad of Max), housewives’ choice Rob Paradise, the bearded Lee Shimwell and new acquisition Giles Simon, all vying for precious championship points as the denouement of the season approaches.

Up in The Lake District at the Rab-sponsored Mountain Marathon, Jackie and Phil Scarf, Cragg Vale’s indestructible duo, claimed victory in the mixed ‘short score’ category.

Don’t be fooled by short though as the event involves two days of six hour running and map reading over some of Britain’s prettiest but toughest terrain, where you have to carry all you need to survive, such as tent, food, stove, pyjamas, dressing gown, the lot.

In the solo event, Calder’s Bill Johnson demonstrated his prowess with a splendid sixth place in the ‘long’ category, despite the unseasonable warm conditions which caused dehydration issues for all competitors.

It was especially good to see Charlie Boyce back competing after his dreadful cycling accident in the winter. He and Peter Bowles finished 104th.

Also on the short course, Linda Murgatroyd was 122nd with John McIntosh, and Neil Croasdell and Gerry Symes were 146th in Symes’s first mountain marathon.