Gray heads a strong Valley challenge in the Lake District

Challenging terrain: Calder Valley's Gayle Sugden and Jo Buckley head towards Dow Crag.  Picture: Amanda Seims
Challenging terrain: Calder Valley's Gayle Sugden and Jo Buckley head towards Dow Crag. Picture: Amanda Seims

Calder Valley’s men had to settle for second place among the teams at the latest round of the English Fell Running Championship in the Southern Lake District last Saturday.

They packed four runners into the top 10, headed by Karl ‘Earl’ Gray in third, but their final counter was in 52nd place and they were pipped by Dark Peak.

The Duddon race is a monster with almost 20 miles of hard fell running.

The route starts from the hamlet of Seathwaite and takes in Harter Fell, Hardknott, Little Stand, The Three Shires Stone, Swirl How, Dow Crag, White Pike and Caw before dropping back down to Seathwaite.

There is also 6000ft of climbing, most of it crammed into the climb up the inappropriately named Little Stand.

Gray ran a consistent race. In contention all the way, he chased home Rob Hope (Pudsey and Bramley, 2:44:01) and Rhys Findlay-Robinson (Dark Peak).

He was backed by Math Roberts, Tim Ellis, Gavin Mullholland and Jason ‘Wilf’ Williams in eighth, ninth, 10th and 52nd places respectively.

Math, the Welsh Wizard, was 10th at the top of Caw but overtook team mates with a blistering second fastest descent of the day.

Gayle Sudgen was Calder’s first woman in ninth behind winner Sharon Taylor (Helm Hill, 3:23:26), who was 61st overall. Sugden and Jo Buckley ran together until the last four miles.

The race was a counter for Calder Valley’s club championship so there was a good turn out from members. Iain Powell, Jake Ackroyd and Ben Frechette all had good runs.

Chris Goddard was first Todmorden Harrier home in a very respectable 3h 39 mins.

The first lady Harrier was V55 runner Jane Leonard, followed closely by Kath Brierley.

Richard Butterwick made a rare appearance off road and in the Lake District, with a very creditable 4 hours 30 minutes.

Both Butterwick and David Leslie were the grateful recipients of two of the day’s spot prizes, a new pair of fell shoes.

Calder Valley results: 3, Karl Gray 2:48:15; 8, Math Edwin Roberts 2:52:29; 9, Tim Ellis 2:52:38; 10, Gavin Mulholland 2:52:51; 52, Jason Williams 3:20:05; 75, Ian Symington 3:27:11; 90, Bill Johnson 3:33:30; 110, Gayle Sugden 3:40:24; 116,Mark O’Connor 3:41:44; 123, Jo Buckley 3:43:59; 163, Iain Powell 4:01:39; 168, Jake Ackroyd 4:04:12; 174, Ben Frechette 4:05:35; 182, Mike Wardle 4:08:50; 185, Mark Wharton 4:11:03; 235, Helen Buchan 4:31:13; 238, Jackie Scarf 4:32:54; 262, Tim Brooks 4:47:23; 268, Karon Forster 4:57:24; 272. Dave Culpan 5:06:30; 277, Gavin Roper 5:14:17; 289, Darren Sugden 5:23:36; 295, Dan Biggs 6:08:42.

Other Todmorden Harriers times: Paul Hobbs 3h 50 mins; Dave Collins 3h 57 mins; Dave Garner 4h 18 mins; Richard Butterwick 4h 30 mins; Kath Brierley 4h 44 mins; Claire Harris 5h 21 mins; Fiona Armer 5h 24 mins.

The Long Duddon Race’s younger sibling, the Short Duddon, gives runners the chance to gain a taste of selected sections of the main route.

At 10 miles and 3000 feet of climb, it is, in its own right, a challenging medium fell race.

Todmorden Harriers’ Martin Roberts, Mandy Goth and Sue Roberts all got round in under 2h 45mins.

Calder’s women’s team went one better on Sunday and took the team prize at the Saddleworth Fell Race.

In a short fast three miles, from Greenfield, Sally Newman, Lindsey Oldfield and Rachael Crossland carried the red and white banner to victory.

Joe Crossfield was third in the men’s race and first under 23.

Calder Valley had the first five in the under 10s race, spearheaded by James Duffy, Billy Blacker and Joseph Hobbs.