The tough Three Peaks Race is described as a 'marathon with mountains'

The tough Three Peaks Race is described as a 'marathon with mountains'

A £500 bounty is on offer for a fellrunner who can beat an 18-year-old race record on its diamond jubilee event.

The Three Peaks Race will be run this Saturday over the 37km (23-mile) course ascending Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

Bingley Harrier Andy Peace set a record time of 2hrs 46mins 3secs in 1996 and organisers of the ‘marathon with mountains’ are hoping for a new record.

The bonus £500 will be won if Peace’s time is broken, but the closest anyone has come to beating it was fellow Bingley runner Rob Jebb in 2007, with a time just over five minutes slower.

The race committee admits weather will play a big part in the record attempt, but hope the cash incentive will spur on runners.

Andy Peace's record has stood for 18 years

Andy Peace's record has stood for 18 years

The Met Office is currently forecasting a cloudy day with outbreaks of rain and an easterly wind, while the Mountain Weather Information Service is more pessimistic, with constant rain possible before showery outbreaks later in the day.

A £500 bonus is also being offered to any woman who can beat the time set by Czech runner Anna Pichrtova, who set the fastest female time when she won the race six years ago when it hosted the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge.

Almost 1,000 runners have entered the race, which involves 1,606m (5,270ft) of ascent.

Chairman of the Three Peaks Race Association Paul Dennison said: “Our race has had a special place in the hearts of fellrunners for decades, but the 2014 Race is the 60th, so it is extra special and we thought it was time for a challenge.

“It is now 18 years since Andy Peace set the men’s record over the current course, so we think it is time it was broken.

“It will obviously depend on the weather conditions we get in advance of race day and what runners have to contend with on Saturday, but it would be good if the record could be broken on our diamond jubilee event.”

Last year’s winner Joe Symonds, who also came first in 2012, will be absent from the Three Peaks Race.

The 30-year-old trainee paediatrician is believed to be taking part in the Highlander Mountain Marathon this weekend, so eyes are turning to Tom Owens, 32, from the Three Peaks main sponsor, the Salomon International Team, who won in 2hrs 53mins 34secs in 2011 and finished 8th in 2012.

Anna Pichrtova set the fastest women's time in 2008

Anna Pichrtova set the fastest women's time in 2008

His Salomon team mate Thorbjorn Ludvigsen, 25, has entered the Three Peaks for the first time.

The Norwegian finished fourth in the International Union of Ultra Runners Trail World Championships in Connemara, Ireland, in 2011.

The race starts in Horton in Ribblesdale at 10.30am on Saturday, half-an-hour later than usual to try to avoid a bottleneck on Whernside where runners in the Fellsman, a 100km (61-mile) ultra-race, cross paths with Three Peaks Racers.

The Fellsman will start half-an-hour earlier than normal at 8.30am from Ingleton, before ascending Ingleborough, Whernside, Gragareth, Great Coum, Blea Moor, Great Knoutberry, Dodd Fell, Middle Tongue, Buckden Pike and Great Whernside before dropping down to the finish at Threshfield.

Past winner Jez Bragg will face opposition from last year’s victor Adam Perry in the gruelling race, which sees all but the fastest competitors also having to contend with navigating the Wharfedale peaks by night.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Three Peaks Race runners face snow again in pursuit of Dales event’s records
  2. Marc Lauenstein wins wintry Three Peaks Race by nine seconds
  3. Runner Joe Symonds chases father’s tally with second Three Peaks Race win
  4. ‘Mission accomplished’ as Victoria Wilkinson breaks women’s Three Peaks record
  5. Jez Bragg leads strong field of contenders for this year’s Dragon’s Back race