Calder Valley runners make their mark in winter events

Junior racers in the quarry. Photo: Dave Woodhead
Junior racers in the quarry. Photo: Dave Woodhead

This week’s running calendar had two main events on Saturday - the annual Stoop race and junior quarry runs, and the Cragg Winter score.

The Winter Score was organised by club members Jackie and Phil Scarf and saw more than 80 runners looking to punch their cards at as many of the 17 controls as possible and get back to base at Cragg Vale Church before the cut off time of 90 minutes.James Logue won the event and made an astounding 15 of the 17 controls.

Todmorden Harrier Rosie Holdsworth

Todmorden Harrier Rosie Holdsworth

There was also particularly impressive running from the juniors, with Joe and Paul Hobbs running in the pairs race and securing 12 controls. Thanks goes to Little Valley Brewery for prizes, The Secret Cafe for pies and Cragg Vale Church. £660 was raised for charity.

There was also a good turnout of Todmorden Harriers. Chris Goddard was second overall, collecting 150 points, using his expert cartographic skills. The first male pair were Rob Gray and Andy Forbes, with 120 points.Paul and Joe Hobbs were the first family team, also collecting 120 points from 12 controls.

The First mixed pair were Rob Tyson and Rosie Holdsworth collecting 100 points as did the first female pair Zoe Dijkman and Rosa Blackwell. Sophie Cunningham successfully visited 90 points and was the first female.Wharfedale Harriers’ Stoop race starts from the quarry bottom on Penistone above Haworth, heads up to the Stoop standing stone and then drops back down again through some serious bogs.

This year, with many from the club taking part in the winter score, Jo Buckley and Mark Wharton were the sole Calder Valley Fell Runners to take on the snowy 4.9-mile Christmas run.Whilst official results have yet to be published, of the 190 to finish the race, Buckley placed a strong ninth lady and third in the LV40 category, and Wharton 45th overall and fifth MV50.

Todmorden Harrier Rob Holdsworth

Todmorden Harrier Rob Holdsworth

The junior Stoop races took place in the snow-covered quarry, with nine stoic Calder Valley juniors braving the elements to race, and all of them did their club proud.

In the U9s race, there was another sterling performance from Harry Cliff, who brought home the field for the second year running and third time overall in as many races. His younger sister, Charlotte, in her first time running the Stoop came in an impressive third girl.

In the main race, the red and white hooped juniors fielded seven of the 55 runners. For the U15 boys, Euan Logue - the sole CVFR runner in his age category - ran a strong race to finish second U15 (sixth overall).

The U13s races were hotly contested - flying the flag for the red & white hoops U13 girls, Fearne Hanson finished fourth and Alice Ritchie ninth.For the U13 boys, George McFie ran a storming race to finish third overall and second in his age category.

Harry Cliff. Photo: Dave Woodhead

Harry Cliff. Photo: Dave Woodhead

Fellow U13, Thomas McKee persevered to come in in a commendable eighth (19th overall), despite sustaining a nasty knock to his knee during the race. His younger sister Clara, who passed him two-thirds of the way through, wanted to stop to help him, but he bravely pushed her to racing, and she went on to storm home again - finishing first U11 girl and an amazing ninth overall.

Fellow U13 runner, David Ritchie also ran well, placing fifth U11 boy. Given that when asked for a few words about the race, the consensus among the junior runners was ‘cold’, the prize winners were suitably awarded with new pairs of Christmas socks as well as sweet treats!

Eight runners from Todmorden Harriers also took part, with Andrew Worster battling well to take fourth place and first Toddy to cross the line, while Annie Roberts was second in the Women’s race.

Saturday also saw the inaugural running of the ‘Night Howler’ race. The event, which offered two distances, Marathon and Half Marathon, started and finished at the Royal Arms pub in Tockholes, near Darwen, and as the name suggests, was an evening headtorch race, run across the West Pennine moors.Anthony Lee, sole Tod Harrier mad enough to take on this freezing cold challenge, set off with the half marathon bunch and soon found himself alone in second place: not quick enough to keep up with the leader, too impatient to hang around in the bunch behind, despite not having reccied the route and prone to going off-piste during races.

One of the teams having fun at the Winter Score.

One of the teams having fun at the Winter Score.

The route was marked however, and each tiny, occasional reflective flag that appeared out of the gloom along the way, was greeted by Lee like a lost friend, such was the uncertainty caused by running alone in the dark in unfamiliar territory.  However, Lee soon lost his way, missing a sharp left as the route headed down towards Entwhistle reservoir.

Finally realising his likely mistake, Lee turned to see a dim line of head torches snaking away in the opposite direction in the distance and headed back on himself to catch up with them.One final, schoolboy-like error for Lee, after battling his way back through the field to, was to head off at speed down a hill in the direction of a reflective flag, only to get to the bottom to find this was no flag, but a pair of sheep’s eyes glowing at him.

After much cursing, a final steep up-and-over Darwen moor and a fast descent down ‘step back’ the finish line was reached,The race was won by Stephen Thompson of Trawden AC in a time of 2.05.11, with Anthony Lee getting home in third place in 2.18.55.

Thomas Mckee in number 15 & Euan Logue in number 46. Photo: Dave Woodhead

Thomas Mckee in number 15 & Euan Logue in number 46. Photo: Dave Woodhead

George Mcfie. Photo: Dave Woodhead

George Mcfie. Photo: Dave Woodhead