LOSTOCK AC’s Albert Sunter celebrated his 60th birthday in style by taking on one of the toughest and most prestigious mountain races in Europe – the Grand Raid des Pyrénées in southern France. 

Centred around Vielle Aure in the Pyrénées National Park and Neouville Nature Reserve, the various races of the Grand Raid cover some of the Pyrénées' toughest and most inhospitable peaks and valleys.

After a fall and resulting knee injury put him out of the race prematurely last year, Sunter had unfinished business with the Ultra Tour, which takes in a mammoth 220k and 12,500 metres of climbing.

He set off at 6am on Thursday and, after battling some horrendous conditions and brutal terrain, finished the race in an amazing 64hrs 9mins 8secs, taking fourth place in his age category.

The enormity of the challenge is again reflected in the 250 runners who started the race alongside Sunter and did not finish. 

The GRP was a family affair for the Sunters – while Albert was running the Ultra tour, Michelle and Jordan Sunter set off on Saturday morning on the 50-mile Tour de Lacs.

They retired early from the race after missing the cut-off at Sencours, but they put in a fantastic effort and were running for more than 11 hours in extremely tough conditions.

Closer to home, Cathy Stratton took part in the West Lancashire Summer Triathlon at Edge Hill University on Sunday.

She finished the 400m pool swim, 19k bike ride and 5k run in 1:16:00 to finish 16th out of a field of 174 women.

On Saturday, Jocelyn Chadderton put in a solid time of 29:22 at Bolton parkrun, while a team of six Lostockers headed to Haigh Woodland parkrun in the blazing heat.

Gareth Pratt finished in 26th place in 22:31, followed by Anthony Maxwell (24:52), David Wilcock (28:02), Kathryn Orrell (29:31), Sheila Garewal (29:34) and Karen Taylor (30:43).