Victoria Wilkinson on Ingleborough in the 2018 event. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Victoria Wilkinson on Ingleborough in the 2018 event. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A second major Yorkshire Dales outdoors sports event has been hit by the coronavirus.

Organisers of the Three Peaks Race have postponed this year’s event to September.

The Three Peaks Race, in its 66th year, was due to take place on 25 April.

Three Peaks Race Association chairman, Martin Bullock, said: “Hopefully, we are looking to re-arrange the race for Saturday, 26 September, but this is under discussion with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and others.

“Our prime consideration is the safety and wellbeing of entrants and our 250 marshals, including Raynet radio operators, the Cave Rescue Organisation mountain rescue team and Horton-in-Ribblesdale Playing Field Association members, who host our event.”

Race director Paul Dennison said: “Although runners spread out over the race route, they start the day close together at registration in the race marquee and return for refreshments and the prizegiving.

“It is the close assembly of more than 1,000 people which we see as possibly risking the spread of infection.”

The race, which has the footwear brand Inov-8 as its main sponsor, costs £45,000 to stage and £7,000 has already been paid out.

The Three Peaks Race Association said it has been considering coronavirus for 10 days and has had discussions with its contractors. By postponing the event, contractors, including marquee suppliers and caterers, are prepared to honour their commitments without the association losing money, it said.

Runners who have already registered online will have their entries transferred to the revised date. Anyone who cannot attend will have their entries returned minus a small administration charge.

Details will be emailed to those registered. Runners will be able to transfer to the September race up to 25 March, after which the re-arranged challenge will be opened up to other runners.

The Three Peaks Race first took place in 1954, and follows a 37.4km (23⅓ miles) with 1,609m (5,279ft) of ascent and descent over Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

The Three Peaks Race record over the current route of 2hrs 49mins 3secs was set by Andy Peace of Bingley Harriers in 1996.

In 2017 another Bingley Harrier, Victoria Wilkinson, knocked five minutes off the women’s record set by Anna Pichrtova (Strakova), of the Czech Republic, when the Three Peaks hosted the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in 2008.

Wilkinson cut the women’s record to 3hrs 9mins 19secs. She claimed a £500 bonus prize, which is on offer to male and female winners who set new records. She finished 13th overall, the highest race position by a female runner in the race’s history.

Organisers said 26 September has been provisionally chosen as the replacement because it is one of the few dates available in the calendar which does not clash with a major fell running event.

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