Hebden Bridge Fell Race, 2 June 2016
Report by David Leslie
Photo courtesy of woodentops.org.uk
The 10th running of the HEBDEN BRIDGE Fell race was held on a glorious summer evening on 2 June. First runner home was Jon Smith and first lady was Gayle Sugden, both of Calder Valley. First Men’s team was Calder Valley with Jon Smith, 1st, Mark O’Connor 3rd and Giles Simon 7th and first ladies team was Todmorden Harriers led home by Rebecca Patrick, 3rd lady, closely followed by Wendy Walker 4th lady and Kate Mansell 9th.
The route was slightly changed from previous years, now cutting across Erringden Moor on open, rather muddy ground mid-way through the race. At the end runners are now directed onto the canal path before the final turn into Calder Holmes Park for the finish, so avoiding the road crossing of previous years.
Prizes this year included a range of items made ‘in the Valley’ with articles from the Egg Factory, a first prize donation from outdoor equipment specialists Mountain Wild, both in Hebden Bridge, and some useful woollens from Whitehall Studio in Heptonstall. There was also a commemorative map of the course – with framed versions for the two race winners – prepared by Todmorden Harrier’s Chris Goddard, whose new book of local walks is on sale at bookshops in the town. This is a beautiful hand crafted route map with interesting detail added on local landmarks passed such as Johnny Gap, a brief history of Machpelah, the race HQ and of course information about Stoodley Pike itself.
Calder Valley runners were out in force with 43 of the total 137 runners and were well represented on the prize lists. Todmorden Harriers, who organised the race had 20 runners – and around 40 volunteers pressed into service as marshals, on the registration desk, finish funnel and so on. Some of the younger, newer Harriers had some great runs, with Wendy Walker fifth lady and Thorsen Andronik first Harrier home, both being newcomers to the sport and both in the prizes. We will surely hear those names more often over the coming years.
After the race, runners gathered in Machpelah House and were treated to tea and cakes provided by the Hope Baptist Church and beer (Bread and Butter) provided by the Fox and Goose where the prize giving finished off a really nice evening for all concerned.