Ben helps England to gold

Seven members of Calder Valley Fell Runners and one Todmorden Harrier were among the 548 competitors who did battle at the International Snowdon Race.

Thursday, 21st July 2016, 4:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:47 pm
The England team after their Snowdon victory. Ben Mounsey, left.

It is a fiercely fought contest with elite mountain runners from around the world doing battle.

Leading the way for the local contingent was the in-form Ben Mounsey, who was wearing an England vest and was among the favourites.

The route takes the runners up 1,000 metres of climbing to the summit of Wales’ highest mountain and straight back down, requiring a tough mix of stamina and speed.

The wind, rain and thick cloud only added to the challenge.

England took team gold, beating high quality Italian and Scotland squads, with Mounsey finishing in an impressive seventh place in just under 69 minutes.

The next Calder Valley runner was Karl Gray, just a few places behind in 12th overall and first in the V45 category.

Next back for Calder was Jason Williams in 26th, followed by Matt Roberts, Richard Sunderland, Calvin Ferguson, Blair Garrett and Helen Buchan.

The Todmorden Harriers runners was Paul Hobbs and he could feel proud of his efforts, finishing 65th in 1:23:45.

Calder Valley Fell Runners’ summer handicap, a key fixture in the club calendar, gives everyone an opportunity to take the top spot.

Runners set off at different times based on their speeds over the last year, with the fastest going last.

If everyone runs as expected, they should all cross the finishing line at exactly the same time.

The race is over seven miles, with 1,500 feet of climbing.

With a steep descent, a brutal climb, a long fast flat section and an end through waist deep bogs and tussocks, it’s a classic local race.

There was fierce competition among the 48 runners and, though they didn’t finish together, most were wading through the final bogs en masse, like a scene from a zombie movie.

The race winner was young Erik Powell, showing that he is getting faster and faster.

He had already run the 1,500 metres at a school sports day earlier in the afternoon.

He completed the course in 1 hour 7 minutes.

Second was Tony Stewart and Erik’s dad Iain finished third - clearly a fell running dynasty in the making.

The fastest runner was James Logue, who completed in a few seconds over 50 minutes.

For the women, Holly Page finished in just over 57 minutes.