Olympian Iwan Thomas to join Sedbergh Gala fell race

The Westmorland Gazette: Iwan Thomas Iwan Thomas

AN Olympic silver medallist will be filmed taking part in this weekend’s Sedbergh Gala Fell Race.

The BBC cameras will be following Iwan Thomas as he tackles the steep slopes of Winder in the Howgills in the opening fixture of the British Open Fell Runners’ Association (BOFRA) season.

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His exploits and those of his fellow competitors will be shown on flagship programme The One Show.

Arguably the finest 400m runner Britain has ever seen, Thomas is a former European champion, Commonwealth champion, World Cup winner and current British record holder.

He won his silver medal as part of Great Britain’s 400 metre relay team at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

In the past few years he has started carving out a career as a TV presenter and is a keen charity worker, running the London Marathon for the past three years in aid of Macmillan Cancer.

The programme will be looking at the relationship between fell races and the local communities in which they are held.

The brush with fame will be the ‘icing on the cake’ for the gala, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, according to secretary Neil Kernahan.

“It’s really exciting for us and we’re hoping it will be a real crowd puller,” he said.

BOFRA Secretary Tim Done said: “It’s great when anyone takes an interest in fell running, particularly something like The One Show, which is really popular. It will help raise awareness of the sport and hopefully get more people into it.

“I think this will be an interesting subject for them because fell running has been part of local communities for many years and BOFRA has tried to keep alive all the old traditional races.”

Mr Done, who has been fell running for 10 years, said, “What I enjoy about it is the freedom of the beautiful locations you go to and the challenges that some of our races give you.”

The Sedbergh Gala takes place on Saturday, May 17, at Lupton Field.

The event kicks off at 12.30pm with a procession through the town and the fell race begins with a junior race at 1.15pm.

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