GSK Ulverston sports ladies compete at national level

GSK Ulverston antibiotics site has become something of a centre of gravity for sports ladies competing at national level in their particular disciplines.

Astrid Gibbs and Cally Read are both runners while Kasia Parfitt competes on wheels representing England at roller hockey.

Astrid, who is the site’s Occupational Health Advisor, took up fell running when she and her husband moved to Bristol in 2001.

She was often to be found running in the hills of South Wales but was just as likely to be in the saddle of her road bike taking part in time trials, or combing both running and cycling with kayaking in adventure racing – events which can vary from five hours to six days!

Moving to Cumbria in 2011 Astrid’s interest in fell running really took off.

She joined Ambleside Athletics Club and is a member of the ladies team, which won both the 2013 British and English fell racing championships, Astrid achieving personal best performances in each.

Last year was another notable one for Astrid as a member of the Ambleside ladies team which again won both the English and British fell championships, as well as the UK Athletics Fell and Hill relays and the Ian Hodgson mountain relay, a prestigious local event. It was the first time that a Lakeland based club scooped all events in a single year.

Cally has spent several months at Ulverston as part of the company’s graduate rotation scheme. A runner since her school days, she started at 100 metres. Today her specialist distance is 800m, also competing at 400m. She maintained her interest while gaining a master’s degree in Human Biology, supported by the University of Birmingham scholarship team.

Back at home she trains with Birchfield Harriers in Birmingham, whose women won the national league opening up opportunities to compete in Europe. Cally represented the Midlands in Belgium in 2009 and has since run in several overseas events. The highlight of her sporting career to date was being selected for the England senior middle distance team and being chosen for the ‘On Camp with Kelly Holmes’ initiative, being mentored by Dame Kelly herself.

Kasia, who is an industrial placement student at Ulverston, first pulled on roller boots when she visited a local sports centre while at primary school. She quickly joined Ely Roller Hockey Club moving about eight years ago to play for King’s Lynn, competing in the first division of the Eastern Counties league. While at Ulverston Kasia has been training with Halifax and regularly travels to Peterborough for national squad coaching.

She made the national team in 2008 and the following year kept goal in the squad which beat Germany to gain the under-20s bronze medal, which was a first for England. She was also in the side which repeated the result the following year.

Keen on retaining her England place for many years to come, Kasia also would like to become a qualified coach and possibly to set up her own club. Increasing awareness in the sport is also on her agenda, hopefully eventually seeing it achieve professional status.


Photo caption

Cally, Kasia and Astrid (left to right) with essential items of their kit as they look forward to retaining national honours this year.

Issued by

GSK Ulverston site

For further details please contact

Philip Brown

01748 833822

07932 120858