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Death of Dales fell runner Karen Slater
4:52pm Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
A GIGGLESWICK woman who took up fell running following a challenge from her daughter, Nicole, and then became a champion, has died aged 55.
Karen Slater began the sport aged 39 and joined Keighley Hill Runners and later Wharfedale Harriers. She went on to become British ladies fell running champion and ran for England, collecting three gold medals and two silvers.
She is remembered by David Hird, secretary of Wharfedale Harriers, as 'an amazing woman'.
“She was a brilliant runner and also so nice to be around and fun to be with. Her death is great sadness,” he said.
Karen died earlier this month after an eight-month fight against cancer. She lived long enough to see the birth of her first granddaughter, Mia, last November and the blessing at Kelbrook of the marriage of her youngest daughter Sheryl and her husband Arlo, who live in Australia.
Her death from cancer is a double blow to the family - she and her husband, Barry, 57, lost their eldest daughter, Charlotte, who was also a runner, to a rare form of the disease when she was just 16.
Barry, of Parson’s Close, Giggleswick , said: “I would say Karen was a driven person. She had dogged determination to make things work which never ended.
“It showed in her running. In only her second year, she became British Open Fell Running Lady Champion, defending it successfully in following years and breaking records.”
It was that personality which spurred her on to take up another challenge and move from Kelbrook, where they had run the fish bar for 20 years, to Giggleswick. She took on managing the village post office to prevent its closure turning potential loss into triumph and winning many friends along the way.
“The cancer was diagnosed just after Christmas. It brought a heartbreak you cannot imagine,” said Barry. “But Karen, being Karen, she accepted her fate and began her final race.”
A funeral service was held at Kelbrook Church last Wednesday.