Karl and Holly are king and queen of mountains

Holly Page. Picture: Woodentops
Holly Page. Picture: Woodentops

Calder Valley Fell Runners pair Karl Gray and Holly Page demolished the men’s and women’s course records in last Saturday’s Heptonstall Grand Départ fell race.

The hugely popular 9.5k village event was switched to Tour de France weekend and Valley’s star pair revelled in the perfect evening conditions.

Gray, tackling the race for the first time, sped round in 49 mins 37 seconds, smashing Christopher Smale previous best of 52:09 set in 2012.

Joe Washington made it a 1-2 for Calder Valley with Richard Meade, an elite marathon runner who was part of a contingent of runners from Edinburgh in the area for the bike race, third.

All three beat the previous record of Smale, who was 12th this time.

Page came ninth of the 94 runners and won the women’s race for the third year in a row. Her time of 54:58 bettered the 55:42 of Holmfirth international runner Katie Walshaw in 2011.

The race was a club championship counter for Calder Valley and Gray, who is used to scaling The Three Peaks with the minim of fuss, remarked how tough the course had been.

The route, which has more than 1,600 feet of ascent, starts in the hilltop village and plunges deep into a neighbouring valley before finding its way to the top of a nearby peak.

It returns in similar fashion and there is a mixture of terrain with cobbles, grassy fields, muddy slopes, rocky bridle way and open moorland, some of it pathless.

That test wasn’t enough for Sikobe Litaba who ran approximately 30 miles from Glossop before taking part and still beating a dozen rivals home.

Organiser Steve Grimley of Heptonstall Hurriers and Calder Valley FR put the record times down to perfect conditions and slightly cooler temperatures due to the evening start.

He said it had been a real community event with 30 volunteers from the village acting as route marshals and others providing French-themed food.

The village had been decked in bunting and numerous campers had added to an “amazing buzz” surrounding bike race weekend.

The event raises money for the Heptonstall Festival later in the year.

Top 10 and other local positions: 1 Karl Gray (CV) 0:49:37, 2 Joe Washington (CV) 0:51:55, 3 Richard Meade Edinburgh 52:04, 4 Darren Fishwick Chorley 0:53:38, 5 Stephen Brock Wharfedale 0:53:53, 6 Robert White (CV) 0:54:23, 7 Paul Hobbs (Tod) 0:54:27 , 8 Ed Gambe Cheshire Hill Racers 0:54:37 , 9 Holly Page (CV) 0:54:58 , 10 Clive Fitzpatrick unattached 0:55:13 , 11 James Adey (CV) 0:55:15 , 14 Simon Bourne (CV) 0:56:17, 15 Tristan Sheard Stainland 0:56:21 , 18 Peter Bowles (Tod) 0:56:28, 19 Jonathan Collins Stainland 0:57:08, 20 Lee Shimwell (CV) 0:57:12, 22 Ben Frechette (CV) 0:58:22, 24 Richard Sunderland (CV) 0:58:40, 26 Bill Johnson (CV) 0:58:53, 27 Mark Wharton (CV) 0:58:55, 30 Graham Hill (CV) 0:59:25, 31 Robert Tyson (Tod) 0:59:30, 32 Lucy Collins Stainland 0:59:36, 33 Garry Traviss (CV) 0:59:40, 34 Robin Tuddenham (Tod) 1:00:19, 36 Dan Taylor (Tod) 1:01:14 , 37 Stephen Smithies (CV) 1:01:16, 40 Richard Ingram (CV) 1:02:30, 42 Ben Faulks (Heptonstall) 1:03:11, 43 Toby Cotterill (CV) 1:03:13, 44 Tim Brookes (CV) 1:03:24, 45 Lindsey Oldfield (CV) 1:03:32, 48 Sam Swindells (Heptonstall) 1:04:28, 49 Darren Sargent (CV) 1:04:31, 50 David Bardard (Tod) 1:04:45, 51 Jim Mosley (CV) 1:05:24 , 52 Kevin Jagger (Stainland L) 1:05:25, 57 Mike Wardle (CV) 1:07:51, 59 Simon Anderton (Tod) 1:08:25, 60 Ben Beckwith (Tod) Harriers 1:08:58, 61 Jeremy Wilkinson (CV) 1:09:03 , 66 Dave Culpan (CV) 1:10:44,74 (lady 7) Gillian Wisbey (CV) 1:11:59, 77 James Kershaw (CV) 1:13:52, 78 Paul Cruthers (Heptonstall) 1:14:01 , 79 Sally Chesworth (Hx Harriers) 1:15:18 , 80 Richard Law (Heptonstall) 1:15:52, 85 Susan Bladon (CV) 1:20:14, 86 Raymond Mooney (Stainland L) 1:21:07.