Calder Valley’s international star, Helen Fines claimed a well deserved second place finish as the English Fell Running Championship got underway with the Long Mynd Valleys race at Church Streeton, Shropshire.
Most importantly, Fines beat local rival and last year’s English Championship winner Lauren Jeska, of Todmorden Harriers, who finished fourth.
The race features 4,500 feet of climbing over 11.5 miles with fast, grassy running interrupted by steep peaks and troughs.
Fines clocked a very impressive time of 1:57:58, just under eight minutes behind eventual race winner, Bingley Harrier and England international Victoria Wilkinson.
Fines is now sitting in a second position in the English championship and is amongst the favourites to collect a medal at the end of season.
Sharon Godsman (2:35:30) and Celia Mills (2:37:36) comprised the other ladies to count for the Calder ladies as they begin their English championship campaign.
Lloyd Taggart, brushed aside the disappointment of losing his first English championship win in a sprint finish on the last race of last year with a fantastic first place; beating the ever improving Chris Steele of Borrowdale by two seconds (1:34:25 and 1:34:27). The result was all the more impressive following Taggart’s victory in the Titterstone Clee warm-up race the day before.
Former British and English champion Rob Jebb was third (1:34:42), with last year’s English champion Rob Hope in fourth (1:34:56).
Other notable performances came from last week’s Noonstone winner Tom Addison who was seventh and the Wadsworth Trog’s second placed man, Tom Brunt, who was 14th.
Calder Valley’s men started well and Shaun Godsman beat team mate Alex Whittem by the width of his vest; the two men recording the same time of 1:41:54. Ben Mounsey was the next runner home just eight seconds behind with Gavin Mulholland (1:43:58) and James Logue (1:44:58) the next counters.
The Veterans also started well with Logue, V50 British champion Steve Oldfield (1:51:40), new recruit Andy Thorpe (1:53:28) and Steve Smithies (2:05:48) all counting. Dave Almond (1:56:45) and Kevin Hoult (2:00:26) showed improvement as they look to force their way into the first team for the relay events later in the year.