Kenneth Malton ascends Ingleborough during the 2018 race. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Kenneth Malton ascends Ingleborough during the 2018 race. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Three Peaks Race has been called off for only the second time in its history.

Organisers said the coronavirus crisis has led to the cancellation of this year’s event.

The race, over the Yorkshire Three Peaks, was due to take place in April but was postponed to September, but the race committee decided to abandon the 2020 ‘marathon with mountains’ for the safety of all those involved, along with residents in the area.

The Three Peaks Race Association spends £40,000 staging the event, with footwear brand inov-8 as its main sponsor.

An association spokesperson said: “The association hopes the 66th race can be held on its normal date on Saturday 24 April 2021. It is only the second cancellation in its long history. Foot and mouth disease closed access to the countryside and forced its cancellation in 2001.”

Race director Paul Dennison said: “The decision has not been made lightly, but to put on this event we have to think about the safety of all the people of Horton in Ribblesdale, race marshals, first aiders, Cave Rescue Organisation, Raynet radio operators, committee members and all competitors and supporters.”

The race has its start and finish on the playing field in Horton in Ribblesdale, in North Yorkshire. Up to 1,000 entrants register in a large marquee before a mass start takes runners over a 37.4km (23.3-mile) route over the summits of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. They return for a prizegiving and meal in the marquee.

The race record over the current course is held by Andy Peace of Bingley Harriers, who set a time of 2hrs 46mins 3secs in 1996. That record has not been broken even though the Three Peaks hosted the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in 2008. Bonus prizes of £1,000 are on offer to male and female record breakers.

The women’s record is held by another Bingley Harrier and England international, Victoria Wilkinson, who recorded 3hrs 9mins 19secs in 2017. She knocked five minutes off the time set by the Czech Republic runner Anna Pichrtova at the World Long Distance event in 2008.

The race association has told runners who have already entered that their fees will be carried forward to 2021. Anybody who is unable to compete will be eligible for a refund, minus a small amount to cover administration costs, it said.

Organisers said details on the transfer or refund process will be confirmed by email to entrants shortly. Online entry will be restricted to transfer or refund requests until 28 June, 2020. Entries will reopen in February 2021.

The association also pleaded with runners not to train over the Three Peaks while the pandemic continues. It pointed out that the Cave Rescue Organisation, which is responsible for mountain rescue in the area, has had to wear personal protective equipment to respond to emergency calls from walkers in the last few weeks.

The 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross Race also visits each summit. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross Race also visits each summit. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross race, which was due to take place the day after the Three Peaks Race, has also been cancelled.

Organisers said: “This decision has been reached by the organising group in the interest of the local community, competitors, spectators and the general public alike. It is also the right decision to safeguard future editions of the race.

“There are many factors that have been taken into account and the outcome is a considered decision.”

The annual cyclo-cross race is run over a 61km (38-mile) course, again taking in the summits of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. More than half the race is on unsurfaced routes, with riders having to dismount and carry their bikes for between 6km and 8km. The race involves 1,524m (5,000ft) of ascent.

The event is also a major fundraiser for the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team. Race organisers said would-be competitors might like to donate to the team in lieu of their race entry fee.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Marc Lauenstein wins wintry Three Peaks Race by nine seconds
  2. Ricky Lightfoot looks for hat-trick of victories in Three Peaks Race
  3. Tom Owens wins Three Peaks Race but Peace’s record stands
  4. Fellsman falls victim to Covid-19 and spectators told to stay away from climb festival
  5. Runner Joe Symonds chases father’s tally with second Three Peaks Race win