Valley’s elite pair smash race record

Lindsey Oldfield helping CVFR to Womens's Team Victory at the STANBURY SPLASH
Lindsey Oldfield helping CVFR to Womens's Team Victory at the STANBURY SPLASH

Calder Valley’s fell running aristocrats, ‘King of the Hill’ Ben Mounsey and Karl ‘Earl’ Gray, lorded it up over their local manor in the Hebden 22.

On an icy Saturday morning, Mounsey and Gray smashed the course record, finishing together in 2 hrs 42 mins.

The international pair were 18 minutes clear of third-placed club mate Kevin Hoult.

A large contingent of Calder Valley FR and Todmorden Harriers runners included the inspirational Kay Pierce, who celebrated her 70th birthday with 213th place in 6:30.

Calder women’s captain Helen Buchan was fourth lady in an impressive 4:02.

The event, in its ninth year, was organised by the Long Distance Walkers Association. Originally aimed at hikers and ramblers, it has developed into an unofficial fell race.

It features an epic 22 miles of moors, woods, and valleys and passes through Brearley, Wadsworth, Old Town, Hardcastle Crags, Heptonstall, Colden Clough, Blackshaw Head, Jumble Hole, Stoodley Pike, Broadhead Clough, and Cragg Vale. There is a 15-mile “short” option.

More than 30 Todmorden Harriers took part with Peter Kerridge sixth in the short race and Steve Radcliffe fourth in the long race.

The event was a credit to organiser Allan Greenwood and LDWA volunteers, who provided the 353 competitors with piles of food and hot drinks at checkpoints, plus a hot meal at the finish line.

Mounsey, also a member at Stainland Lions, said he and Gray had been in excellent form and had targeted the record.

“Despite the route being slightly shorter than the usual 22 we would’ve still broken my old record. I set a ferocious pace and Karl hung on and sat behind my lead.”

The snow and ice created a picture postcard winter scene around the Haworth moors for Sunday’s Soreen Stanbury Splash.

Calder Valley Fell Runners and Todmorden Harriers were among the clubs represented and Valley won the women’s team prize.

There was too much ice on the Splash course so the race was run over the Stoop course. The runners took on a pan handle-shaped route that led out to the Stoop stone and back, taking in trail, frozen bogs and thick icy mud along the five-mile course.

Valley’s winning women’s line-up comprised Jo Buckley, who was third lady to finish, Lindsey Oldfield and Rachael Crossland.

Valley’s Jon Smith put in a fantastic run to finish 12th.

The first runners home for Todmorden were Andrew Worster (24th in 37.56), Chris Goddard (41st in 40.09) and Paul Brannigan (63rd in 42.06). Tod’s sole senior lady, Gemma Ford, finished fifth lady and 84th overall in 43.01.

Calder Valley results: 12, Jon Smith 36.27 123; 36, Iain Powell 39.28; 40, Lee Shimwell 40.03; 54, Jo Buckley 41.12; 71, Jake Ackroyd 42.22; 78, Lindsey Oldfield 42.42; 119, Johnnie Watson 45.16; 157, Jeremy Wilkinson 47.48; 168, Rachael Crossland 48.50; 210, John Nunn 52.36; 219, Graham Watson 53.18.

Halifax Harriers have cancelled the Tour of Norland Moor race from Copley CC on Sunday, August 28 because of flood damage to a bridge on the route.

Todmorden Harriers’ Red-Hot Toddy 10K Road Race, cancelled due to floods just after Christmas, will now take place on Sunday, February 7 (11.0).

Profits from the 10k race and one mile fun run will go to the Community Foundation Flood Appeal. Entry details from the Harriers website.