Ben’s bold tactics pay off with county crown

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Ben Mounsey took the individual honours and Karl Gray and Gavin Mulholland chased him home in third and fourth places at the Yorkshire Championship at Great Whernside.

To complete an excellent day for the Calder Valley club, Molly Traviss finished third under 23 female and claimed a bronze medal.

‘God’s Own County’ is often guilty of overbearing self-aggrandisement: world’s best fish and chips, best cup of tea, best cricket team, best pint of bitter, fastest ferret etc. But it can lay claim to having some of the country’s best fell runners.

To be Yorkshire champion is very much a feather in one’s flat cap.

This year, Great Whernside - one third of the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks - was chosen for the winner takes all, four mile showdown.

Calder Valley sent three of their top guns, Mounsey, Gray and Mulholland, in pursuit of the team prize, with a candid agreement between them to go all out for the individual title. No F1-style team orders here, just all out racing.

As the wind and rain set in for a gloriously bracing Yorkshire afternoon it was Mounsey who got his tactics spot on.

Not one to clutter his mind with complex race strategies, Ben settled on a simple policy of “go as fast as I chuffin’ can and hope nobody catches me”. He blasted out of the blocks like a 200 metre sprinter who’d wrongly turned up for a 1500 metre race.

They don’t call him ‘Ben the ‘Bullet’ for nothing and he blazed toward the peak like a comet, the others vainly trailing in his wake.

Ben, who typically runs 250km a month, has recently won the Half Yorkshireman marathon, set the fastest leg time at the Ian Hodgson Relay with chum Gray and performed heroics at the British Relays. He is running as well as he ever has.

Ben said: “My plan was to set off in trademark ‘bullet’ style and try to blow everyone away in the first mile.

“ I did wonder if I’d gone too hard at the start but no one chased me down so I pressed on and kept stretching out a lead on the climb.

“ I knew if I got to the top first then no one would beat me on the descent but I still didn’t want to get in a battle with Karl and Ted Mason (Wharfedale Harriers) as they are both renowned for their descending ability.”

Ben actually extended the gap between himself and the field during the descent, and romped home in 30:48 to win by almost a minute.

Mulholland and Gray chased him home while Molly proved that the Traviss running genes are not exclusive to Garry and Brad.

Lancashire Lightning Sally Newman was first FV50, but as all Lancastrians know when visiting Yorkshire, they don’t give you owt for nowt, and it was Bingley’s Ally Raw who claimed the crown.

Calder’s Blair Garrett was an excellent 119th, new signing John Killerby a solid 77th, and old pro Allan Greenwood and ladies’ skip Helen Buchan 102nd and 103rd respectively.

Super Dave Culpan added another venue to his fell running global tour and has again run in more than 30 races this season.