Ben Mounsey extended his lead at the top of the national championship
standings with a fine fifth place at Sedbergh last week. Brooksbank School teacher Mounsey is bidding to become the first man in the history of the Calder Valley club to ever win an individual medal in the open category. However, the timing of the race in Cumbria, which was the third counter in the English Fell Running Championship and and second in the British, came at a bad time for Mounsey, sandwiched between international fixtures.
Last week he competed for Great Britain in the European Championships and next week he’ll compete for England in the Snowdon International mountain race – a hectic fixture list even for a for a full time athlete.
Calder Valley’s Karl Gray was also keen to test his racing legs after also competing for Great Britain in Slovenia a few weeks ago and is clearly in the form of his life.
The weather in Sedbergh was typically wet and miserable and the summit was covered in mist. Thankfully the 3.5 mile route was well flagged so navigation was never going to be a problem for those competing.
The pace at the start of the men’s race was incredible and immediately the favourites hit the front to try and open up a lead on the flat track to the start of the main climb.
However, the Calder Valley team used all of their experience to sensibly sit in the middle of the pack and conserve their energy so they could attack on the ascent.
It was a tactic that paid dividends, especially for Mounsey who worked his way into the top 15 from 30th within a matter of minutes as the gradient began to climb sharply.
By the summit he was in 10th and all that was left was the steep descent to the finish.
It was here that he made his move and flew into the top five, finishing just 26 seconds behind eventual winner and current English champion Simon Bailey. “I’m really happy with this result and it puts me in a very strong position in the Championships,” he said.“What I’m most happy about is the fact I’ve really trained hard this week in preparation for Snowdon so to get a top five and be so close to the win shows I’m in great form.”
Gray also had a good run to finish 32nd with club mate Tim Ellis in 38th, Shaun Godsman in 42nd, Gav Mulholland in 45th and James Logue in 77th.
Dick Spendlove won in the V70 category and looks favourite to be crowned English champion at the end of the season with only one race to count towards his category in the championships.
In the women’s race Gayle Sugden demonstrated what amazing form she is in by finishing 11th, and 3rd lady vet. She;’s still in the mix for a medal. She was followed by Lucy Collins in 13th, with Lindsey Oldfield in 26th, Jo Buckley in 28th, Womens’ captain Hlen Buchan in 60th and under 23 Rachael Crossland a further 5 places behind.The ladies team placed 3rd on the day and again they are in with a good shout of a team medal.
Calder Valley’s Holly Page was quickly back into her stride after a spell in South Africa.
The 26-year-old Calder Valley Fell Runners ace has been working in Pretoria and dashed from the airport before sweeping aside the female opposition at last Saturday’s Baildon Canter. The 5km contest included 500 feet of climbing and attracted a field of 60 runners.
Page was fifth to finish in 21 minutes 36 seconds. The winner, host club Baildon Harriers’ Michael Malyon, clocked 19:20. The second woman to finish, Linda Farley of Bradford Airedale, 96 seconds behind Page.
– Calder Valley News Reporter: Thirza Hyde –