In a season full of achievement for Calder Valley Fell Runners, they can now boast a bona fide world champion among their ranks.
Brighouse’s Karl Gray, for many years the club’s leading light, claimed the over 45 crown last weekend at the World Mountain Running Championships in Betys-y-Coed in Snowdonia.
Gray, one of the country’s leading all round fell runners, showed that at 46, he still has fabulous ability.
Gray said “It feels amazing being a world champion.
“I’d had an eye on this race for most of the year and started to do shorter, intense training sessions to prepare me for the fast six mile course.
“I’m much more suited to races over 15 miles.”
Pre-race, Karl’s ambition was to be among the medals.
“I felt great and led the field up the first climb,” he said.
Near the top, and as the terrain started to level out, Salford Harriers’ ex-international mountain runner, Martin Cox, took up the running.
“I noticed that we were on our own at this point and I was on my limit following him.
“I hung in there and managed to open up a gap on the descent. A wet course suited my fell running style on the descents and twisty terrain.
“I managed to maintain this gap on the very tough second climb and opened it up a bit more on the descent into the finish, allowing me time to saver the moment during the last 100 metres to the line.”
Karl, whose team mate Ben Mounsey has hogged the headlines of late, said: “This is without doubt my proudest achievement so far.”
Gray said it had also been a great year for Calder Valley .
“The club has won both the men’s English and British open and veteran 40 fell titles.
“ The female v40 team has secured an English bronze and I’m the 2015 vet 45 joint English champion.
“The amazing team spirit has kept me focused and motivated all year.”