Gray second GB runner in Italy

editorial image

Calder Valley legend Karl Gray represented Great Britain at the World Mountain Running Championships counter event in Premana, Italy on Sunday, finishing 33rd in the gruelling 20 mile mountain race.

The Hove Edge physiotherapist was the second Great Britain runner to finish but the team was hampered by injuries.

Gray described the challenge as “amazing” and said that the course was really tough with 9500ft of ascent and descent.

A technical course was made even more tricky by thunderstorms and torrential rain.

Gray said: “With a huge amount of spectators on route, it made for a Tour de France style atmosphere from start to finish.

“While I don’t think this was my best performance, I still had a good consistent run and was pleased in the end with my 32nd position.”

Gray said the British team had suffered some really bad luck. One of the had fallen on the first descent and broke her wrist while one of the men had torn his calf muscle a third of the way into the race.

Victoria Wilkinson narrowly missed out on a medal by dropping from third to fifth place on the last descent.

Gray added: “Overall it was a disappointing GB team performance but what an amazing experience.

“I felt really proud and privileged to represent my country at such a fantastic event.”

Gray was part of the Great Britain team which had taken the silver medals in Slovenia last year. “Earl” Gray clocked a fantastic 4:00.19 to finish 12th on that occasion.

Hosts Todmorden Harriers and Calder Valley Fell Runners provided more than half of the 78-strong field for last week’s Crow Hill Reverse race.

Organiser Reg Czudek continued the tradition set up by Ali Mills of donating all proceeds to Ovarian Cancer charities.

The five mile event has 1001 feet of climbing and goes over Midgley Moor to the summit at Crow Hill and then back.

The winner was under 18 Josh Boyle from Ribble Valley in 31:52 with Tod’s Gemma Ford the first female home.

Chris Goddard was first back for Tod in fifth place (34.31) while Valley’s first was Ian Illstone in seventh (34:41) with Rob Allan eighth and Simon Ashton 10th, comfortably securing the men’s team prize.

Tod’s Rebecca Patrick won the female vet 40 prize in 39.26 while Calder Valley’s Karen Forster took over 50 prize in 43.35.

James Cooke and Lindsey Oldfield are now first and second in the Valley championship.