Determined Gray defies illness in world event

Holly Page, Emma Clayton and Helen Fines  in Italy with their trophies after the Tre Refugi Relay
Holly Page, Emma Clayton and Helen Fines in Italy with their trophies after the Tre Refugi Relay

Calder Valley’s globe-trotting runners Karl Gray, Holly Page and Helen Fines have been flying the flag for their country overseas in the last few days.

Gray defied sickness to take part in the World Mountain Running Championships in America, representing England in the Pikes Peak Ascent in Manitou, Colorado.

The staggeringly tough, up-hill only course climbs for 13 miles to the top of the 14,115 foot peak.

Gray was disappointed with his run, having been taken ill the night before.

The Brighouse runner was sick during the race but toughed it out with some of world’s greatest mountain runners to finish 38th.

He helped a three man England team to fifth place, ahead of Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Ukraine, Japan, and Poland.

Gray completed his ascent in 2hrs 38mins, just behind England team mates Josh Tighe and Thomas Cornthwaite who finished together in 2hrs35min.

USA had the first and third runners home to win from Italy, Germany and Slovenia.

Page and Fines raced for Great Britain in the in the Tre Refugi relay in the Italian Dolomites.

Each team has three runners and the Calder Valley pair were joined by Bingley’s Emma Clayton to form a formidable trio of Yorkshire lasses.

The race is run over rocky and limestone terrain, between three mountain huts.

Leg one is uphill, leg two starts with a downhill stretch and then has a section of rock face that runners climb with ladders and cables before heading to the high point of the race. Leg three is downhill only, dropping 900 metres.

The British trio put in a blistering performance to finish in 1,34.37, 30 seconds behind the winning Italian team who must have had the benefit of local knowledge.

Calder Valley’s Alistair Morris and Barbara Lonsdale were eighth in the World Series itera adventure race in Wales.

The five-day contest, over 400 miles and with only seven hours sleep,takes place in the highest and wildest parts of the country. Many international teams take part.

Morris and Lonsdale, racing with team Ellis Brigham, got trapped by rising flood waters and had to take a detour through deep bogs and forest.

Valley’s Phil Scarf, racing for the Endurance Life team, was an impressive sixth.

High winds and heavy rain played havoc with the event.

Todmorden Harriers’ Paul Brannigan came off second best in a battle with old rival Derek Crewe at the Northern 5K Road Championships.

Gareth Raven, a sub 2:20 marathon runner, beat a high-quality field of 492 runners at Wythenshawe, Manchester.

Brannigan and Salford’s Crewe battled it out for the Northern Vet 50 crown. Brannigan had prevailed at the British 5K championships but Crewe gained revenge in 16 mins 54 secs, 18 seconds ahead of Brannigan.

Calder Valley’s Joe Washington finished second, 12 seconds behind winner Andy Swift from Penistone, in the Dennis Stitt Memorial Race.

The course at Holmfirth featured two laps of two miles on roads and through woodland.

Calder results: 2, Joe Washington 00:30:54; 20, Matthew Murray 00:38:18; 27, Blair Garret 00:40:06; 33, Brian Horsley 00:42:14; 37, Craig Hall 00:43:40;