Medal eludes Gray but Mounsey bags a victory

Ben Mounsey won Sunday's Yorkshire Half Marathon, having run well in the English Championship counter the previous day
Ben Mounsey won Sunday's Yorkshire Half Marathon, having run well in the English Championship counter the previous day

The final English Championship counter of the season at Hodder Valley near Clitheroe and the popular Yorkshireman Off Road Marathon took place last weekend.

Both attracted large fields, with the Hodder race being particularly blessed with elite runners as the cream of UK fell running lined up to do battle.

Yet again, Calder Valley’s Karl Gray, for whom superlatives run short, put in a splendid run.

He finished seventh, one place behind his main rival for the Vets 40 title, Bingley’s Ian Holmes, perhaps the finest fell runner of recent times.

No shame then for Karl to agonisingly miss out on a medal by 10 seconds.

Gav Mulholland and Ben Mounsey, Calder’s teaching Chuckle Brothers, were ninth and 10th.

Star signing Darren Kay, looking like a barber’s shop pole in his matching red and white gear, was an impressive 12th, and Dave Culpan ran superbly to hold off a clutch of Clayton and Bowland runners lower down the field.

Mounsey was right back on it the day after with a blistering run to win the Yorkshireman half marathon, out of Haworth.

He romped home more than six minutes ahead of his nearest rival and broke his own record in the process, demonstrating that dedication, mileage and hard work is the way to the top. Roy Castle would have been proud.

In the ladies’ race, the bolt of lightning that is Gayle Sugden made light work of the moorland routewith a brilliant sub two hour time and 12th overall. Gayle has been in prime form in the second half of this year, plus it gives her full bragging rights in the Sugden household over husband Darren, who finished 55th.

Just behind was leading Stravarian, Michael Dean, who is another exemplar of mileage and hard work. His 65th place and excellent 2:16 time was further reward for his punishing schedule of late.

Lower down the field, the Three Amigos Graham Davy, Carolyn Shimwell and debutant Liz Lloyd can be delighted with their runs, with Liz in particular taking great credit from her sub-three hour time.

In the full marathon, King of the Kilometres Kevin Hoult carded a superb seventh place in the solo category. A marathon is a mere soupcon for Kevin, who is part human, part machine and part dynamo, his Krypton Core rarely needing recharging.

Recent signing Richard Pattinson, another man who likes the miles, ran a superb race with his partner as they were the first pair home .

Heptonstall’s young star Max Wharton was part of the under 20s GB team which took bronze in World Mountain Running Championships in Italy.

Max ran a good race him in 28th in a field which included some Kenyans, including Phillip Kipyeko who took gold.