Holmfirth Harrier Helen Berry will be in the Great Britain fell running team for the World Championship event in Slovenia next month.
An impressive showing in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Race, where she finished second British runner home, Berry booked the trip on June 18.
The women’s race was won by GB international Victoria Wilkinson of Bingley in 3 hours 26 minutes 47 seconds.
Nepalese athlete Mira Rai, the Mont Blanc 80K race record holder, was second in 3.35.55, making Berry the second home runner and securing GB selection for the World Championship team.
Berry is joined by Wilkinson, GB team member Annie Conway of Ambleside and Helen Bonsor of Carnethy, who was pre-selected having won last year’s Three Peaks race.
Berry had a superbly paced race, holding back while others got carried away on the descent from Pen-y-Ghent and on the 10 mile stretch all the way to Ribblehead viaduct. Undeterred by ‘losing’ over 50 places from 114th to 165th, she set off up Whernside and by the Hill Inn checkpoint had regained all those places.
Feeling relatively fresh and having conserved energy for the final peak, Helen set off strongly up Ingleborough, overtaking three women on the ascent that had not paced the race quite as well.
Off the top she given vital encouragement from Holmfirth supporters and was in a battle with third placed GB international Conway.
Determined not to let a podium place out of her sights, a fast descent off Ingleborough ensured that she passed Conway within a few minutes of the summit, coming home to Horton in third place and 71st overall in a personal best of 3.37.20.
A field of 800 runners set off from Horton-in-Ribblesdale on the 23.5 mile course with 5,276ft of ascent.
Holmfirth Harriers had chosen the race as one of the fell Championship counters and had eight men and three women starters, four of whom were novices at this event.
An hour into the race the athletes contended with hail and rain, but it didn’t seem to put off too many.
Jim Durrans was forced to retire at Hill Inn, two-thirds of the way into the race, however with cold feet from the snow on Whernside.
The men’s race was won by Swiss Marc Lauenstein in 2.48.58 only nine seconds ahead of his Salomon teammate Ricky Lightfoot.
Lightfoot along with four other GB athletes will be heading to Slovenia next month.
Holmfirth’s other athletes were having mixed fortunes. Tim Street, in his first attempt at this tough race, tired a little in the second half but did very well to finish in 3:53:43 in 135th.
Helena Croft, another novice, surpassed her own expectations completing the race in an excellent 4.13.11.
Veteran Andy Hauser, on his 36th running of the Three Peaks, was next home in 4.16.39.
He is allegedly the only man to have run this race so many times and still be competing in it – a very impressive achievement for the Vet 60.
Mark Law had hoped for a quicker finish on his first attempt and suffered with cramp in the second half, but was pleased to be back in 4.21.17.
The women’s trio of Helen, Helena and Jean Shotter, in her 22nd Three Peaks race, also secured second team place behind Bingley Harriers.
Holmfirth results: 71st Helen Berry 3:37:20 (3rd lady, 1st FV40), 257th Helena Croft 4:13:11, 284th Andy Hauser 4:16:39 (2nd V60), 329th James Knapper 4:23:53, 317th Mark Law 4:21:17 347th, Chris Beadle 4:27:02, 348th Keelan Serjeant 4:27:05, 517th Logan Anderson 4:51:47, 576th David Milton 5:02:03, 609th Jean Shotter 5:08:23