Last year I was proud to announce that several club members had competed on an international stage at the World Masters’ Championships in Keswick.  This year I am pleased to announce another first from the fell running section as we made our debut at the prestigious FRA relay champs.


Calder Valley Fell Runners organised the event at Castle Carr; this is the deep valley at the end of leg 4 on the Calderdale Way.  All who attended will confirm that this was a really good event.  The start/finish area was on a reservoir dam and each lap returned here so it was possible to follow easily the progress of the race.  In addition you could see laps 1 and 4 at their halfway point, and depending on route choice some of the competitors on lap 3 were also visible.  Competition at the front of the field was really fierce but in the end Bingley won, Calder Valley were first ladies and Dark Peak first vets.


It is fair to say we did not have our strongest team in action but I am really grateful to everybody who answered the call and got the baton round for us.  The team was:

Leg 1  5.9 miles Andrew Cutts

Leg 2  9.4 miles Steve Webb and Mick Wrench

Leg 3  7 miles navigational Madeleine Watson and Sylvia Watson

Leg 4  5.9 miles Geoff Webster


It would be great if we can make this a regular fixture and maybe get two teams in action.  Next year the event is at Bowland; so still within easy travelling distance.


Unfortunately we seem to have overlooked the Danefield Relay and Badgerstone Relay this year, for which I apologise.  But we had two teams complete the Calderdale Way; the mixed team managed an excellent 37th overall (3rd mixed team) and the A team was 41st.  We have entered two teams for Calderdale again this year on Sunday 10 December; please tell Geoff if you would like to run.  It is a great race; a bit like the Leeds Country Way but with added Millstone Grit. 


Hutch and Bob organised siege tactics for the VS entrants in the very strange 40 mile Lyke Wake Race from Osmotherley to Ravenscar.  The team comprised Sara, Simon, Ross, Micks Loftus and Wrench, and Mrs Hutch’s friend Pam.  All made a successful crossing of the North York Moors: Mick the Wrench was going particularly well that day and achieved joint fastest time.  A few weeks earlier Sara had walked 100 miles around and over the Cheviot Hills in 38 hours in the LDWA 100 so I got plenty of practice driving round the countryside from one checkpoint to another.


Over the year the VS vest has been seen at a number of fell races and mountain marathons.  By the time of this meeting Ross, Mick, Mick and Laura will have experienced the OMM (“Original Mountain Marathon”; formerly the KIMM) in Galloway and I hope they survived it OK.  This year I tried the Saunders for the first time.  The general format is the same as the KIMM/OMM, but it is always in the Lake District (so easy to get to) and it is always in summer (with obvious climatic advantages) and I certainly recommend it. 


We have also featured in the press.  The current edition of “The Fellrunner” features Madeleine, who is now junior co-ordinator as well as FRA statistician.  And in my copy of the Ilkley Gazette there is a good photo of the field storming away from the start at The Withins Skyline Fell Race – tucked right behind race winner Alastair Brownlee and P&B star John Heneghan is none other than our flying starter Dave Middlemas.


As always I encourage everybody to have a go at fell running.  There is a great variety of local events to try; you do not have to start with an “A Long” Lakeland Classic.  Above all remember that as a hunter-gatherer man was designed to run in terrain.  Tarmac is a wholly alien surface on which to run, and ultimately no good will come of it.  Far better to be sloshing through marshes, high stepping through heather and surfing on scree, all to the accompaniment of the skylark, curlew and red grouse.  Running as nature intended!



Steve Webb


PS  I am happy to remain as Fell Captain for next year, but will quite understand if, at the Halloween meeting, there is a “night of the long knives” and I am swept out of office by an unruly mob!