Valley come to the boil in Kettlewell

CALDER Valley Fell Runner’s veteran fraternity were In fine form at the Yorkshire Fell Running Championships at Great Whernside in Kettlewell.

Although only four miles in length, the route manages almost 1600ft of climb with many running surfaces to contend with from sheep mown fields to slippery rock and knee deep marsh.

Calder Valley’s men were out to defend their title as first team for the third year on the trot, with a strong trio including last years senior champion Karl Gray, with Gavin Mulholland and James Logue also running in Calder colours.

Indeed it was Gray and Mulholland who set the early pace with Mulholland summiting second behind Leeds City’s Chris Birchall.

As the runners turned at the trig point Mulholland overtook Birchall to establish a leading position. However, Bingley’s Ian Holmes and Howgill’s Carl Bell had found a better line which earned them the lead.

Bell has been winning many races recently and is a man in fine form, although on this occasion a fall by Holmes at the finish gave him a decisive advantage.

Mulholland was caught by Chris Birchall and the brilliant descending skills of Mike Fanning of Borrowdale, although he did manage to hold off another great descender, team mate Karl Gray, for a famous club victory and a Yorkshire bronze to boot.

With Mulholland in fifth, Gray in sixth and Logue in eighth, Calder Valley were once again first team and gold medal winners.

Jo Waites is another veteran who enjoyed a great run at the same race as she took a Yorkshire gold and well deserved second place.

If Carl Bell has shown huge improvement in men’s fell running then the winner of the ladies race has also shown a similar step up in pedigree, Eryri Harrier’s Australian mountain guide Sarah Ridgeway was convincing winner of the race, the technical descents suiting the Snowdonia based runner.

Finally, there was further success for Calder Valley in the super veterans class, with Brian Horsley first over-sixty.

ALISTAIR Morris and Kim Threadgill took third place at the Elite Mixed Pairs in this years Original Mountain Marathon, placing 17th overall.

Jon Underwood and Bill Johnson finished 22nd overall in the Elite Class.

Renowned for its extremely challenging courses and typically bad weather the OMM is now in its 44th year.

This years event took place in the hills south of Loch Tay near Perth, a wild desolate and rarely visited area.

This year turned out to be harder due to the tough weather conditions with driving rain, strong winds, low cloud and absence of tracks.

The navigation was technically extremely challenging finding small features such as stream beds amongst a complex maze of hillocks and mountains especially in the cloud clad hills.

After 25 miles of racing on day one teams stopped overnight, having pitched the tents they were carrying, before heading out for a further 21 miles on day two.  

Morris’s navigation was precise saving the pair significant amounts of time evidenced by the fact that they kept beating the same male pair who were faster to each checkpoint on day two.

Morris and Threadgill completed the course in 14 hours 12 mins (winning time 10:56) with Johnson and Underwood finishing in a strong 15 hours and 9 minutes.