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Price hits the heights with double title

South Shropshire | Sport | Published:

The hills and mountains of Great Britain proved no obstacle for Shropshire's Mel Price in 2015 as she was crowned a double national champion.

Price, from Woolston near Church Stretton, claimed the British and English running titles in the over-40s category.

The 43-year-old, who runs for Mercia Fell Runners, became the first ever Mercian to win the English Championships.

She improved on her runner-up spot last year, and also equalled her team-mate, Anna Bartlett, who lifted the British title in 2012.

Fell running, also known as hill running or mountain running, takes place over upland country and sees competitors use mountain navigation skills and carry survival equipment.

Price said: "I'd had a couple of successful years during the build-up but I never expected to win both titles.

"I didn't do brilliantly in the first race but I think this competition is all about persistence and consistency."

Price, who was born in Coventry, did not start fell running until she was in her 30s when she moved to the Shropshire countryside.

The mother-of-two immediately fell in love with the sport – and also found it was something at which she was very good.

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She said: "I bumped into someone in the local butchers who told me about Mercia Fell Runners, so I went along one Tuesday evening.

"The next thing I knew I was competing in the championships. I used to keep fit but I was never drawn to sport before. I really enjoyed fell running straight away."

The British Championships includes races from all corners of Great Britain throughout the year – points from a runner's three best races going towards the overall score.

The event began with the Y Moelwyn 10.5 mile race near Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, in April. Price managed to secure second in the over-40 category behind 2014 champion Lauren Jeska.

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The Durisdeer nine-mile race in the Scottish Southern Uplands came in June, with Price finishing fourth overall.

The action moved to the Lake District for the Lingmell Dash, an English Championship race held over 4.5 miles, a month later.

Price ended the race fifth overall as the quickest female competitor over 40. The final British race saw athletes travel to County Down in August for the 18-mile Seven Sevens race.

Price finished third in the over-40 group, which saw her finish on 66 points in the British championship, eight points ahead of second-placed Scottish runner Sona Robertson.

The English Championships sees runners add up their top four results out of six races.

The opening race took place around the 5.6 mile Flower Scar Race in Tomorden, Yorkshire, in March. Price finished 11th overall but topped the over-40 age category.

Next up was her home run – the Stretton Six Summits, a 6.3 mile course over the Long Mynd – in May. Price again finished first in her age category and fifth overall.

The Mercia runner went on to secure third in her category over the 18-mile Duddon Valley in the Lake District.

She also got second in the 15-mile Bradda Niarbyl run on the Isle of Man, fifth in the Lingmell Dash – which had doubled as a British championship race – and second in the eight-mile Guisborough Three Tops race in the North York Moors.

Her 85 points secured her the English over-40s title, seven points ahead of Judith Jepson.

Price's performances helped her club finish second behind Ambleside, who won the English title for the third year.

She also finished the year winning the Cardington Cracker for a third consecutive year.

She set a new record of eight hours and 56 minutes coming first in the Long Mynd Hike, lifting the Shropshire summer and winter fell running series titles in the process.

Price is now planning to set up her own personal fitness business, Viking Elite Training, with her husband, Jon.

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