Joint winners Adam Perry, left, and Kim Colllinson arrive at the Fellsman finish at Threshfield

Joint winners Adam Perry, left, and Kim Colllison arrive at the Fellsman finish at Threshfield

One of the country’s toughest ultrarunning events finished in a tie for the first time in many years.

Adam Perry and Kim Collison crossed the line together, hands linked, after more than 60 miles battling for lead over the fells of the Yorkshire Dales yesterday.

Third place went to Jez Bragg, who arrived at the Threshfield race headquarters 37 minutes after the lead pair.

Strong winds, cool conditions and boggy underfoot terrain put a record time beyond the winners, who finished the 98km (61-mile) course in 10hrs 51mins.

Sedbergh-based Perry and Collison of Penrith decided to finish the Fellsman together after summiting the final peak, Great Whernside.

Collison, 33, who works for Outward Bound at Ullswater, and who finished third last year in his first attempt at the challenge, said: “We were working together, sharing the wind, waiting for each other at stops.

“After sharing such a journey together, we didn’t really want to race down a road and up a road to the finish.

“It was more in the spirit of the event, I think. A journey through the Yorkshire Dales.”

Amanda Heading makes the ascent of Gragareth during the Fellsman

Amanda Heading makes the ascent of Gragareth during the Fellsman

Perry, 26, who works for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “It seemed to me that we ran hard all the way. That was the hardest I’ve ever had to run it. It was all day into the wind and it was wet as well.”

The day dawned wet with heavy rain and the fell-tops in cloud, with the prospect of thunder storms but, in the end, sunny spells helped dry out the runners and walkers.

There were 117 non-starters out of the 500 entrants to the race, which involves more than 3,350m (11,000ft) of ascent. 383 tackled the route over most of the fells of the southern Dales, 19 fewer than made the start in 2013.

Three-times winner Jez Bragg admitted his race sharpness was not back to its peak after his record-breaking completion of the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand, running the full length of the country and paddling between the two islands.

But he was also hampered in this year’s Fellsman by confusion over the location of one of the checkpoints on Middle Tongue above Yockenthwaite, a situation reported by other runners.

Jez Bragg heads out of Ingleton early in the race

Jez Bragg heads out of Ingleton early in the race

He said: “I was probably about 15 minutes back from the two lead guys and I was on a bit of a charge. I had the bit between my teeth. Then there was this scenario on Middle Tongue where I couldn’t find the checkpoint.

“I was scouting round, using the GPS, to zig-zag, just scanning the area to make sure I hadn’t missed it.

“Then I just thought: maybe it hasn’t been set up and I just carried on.

“I think it was maybe 20 or 25 minutes it put me back. I was a bit demoralised. I just thought: I’ll settle for third.”

But he was relaxed about the incident.

“It’s always a great day out, just being on the hills,” he said. “It doesn’t really feel like a race.

“There’s always an adventure; there’s always a bit of drama; there’s always a smiley face at all the checkpoints. It’s almost like a grassroots event, which is very refreshing these days.

“A lot of the events are getting quite commercial. It [the Fellsman] just really appeals to me.”

The North Face runner says he will come back and ‘get a bit sharper’.

First woman to finish the course was 40-year-old nursing sister Carol Morgan.

The Fellsman, which is organised by Keighley Scout Service Team, was first run in 1962 and has taken place each year since, apart from 2001, when the foot and mouth disease epidemic led to its cancellation.

In 2012, the event was abandoned at 2am when many competitors began succumbing to hypothermia in biting winds and low temperatures.

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