Ricky Lightfoot in action during the 2018 race. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Ricky Lightfoot in action during the 2018 race. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Runners will return to a historic Yorkshire Dales challenge on Saturday when the Three Peaks Race resumes after a break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ‘marathon with mountains’ was last staged in 2019 and this year has been postponed from its usual April date.

The 66th race will begin at 10am in Horton in Ribblesdale, and will see the field tackle the 37.4km (23.24-mile) course with 1,609m of ascent and descent over Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

A £500 bonus is on offer for a winner who can beat the existing record of 2hrs 46mins 3secs set in 1996 by Andy Peace of Bingley Harriers. Fellow club runner Victoria Wilkinson posted a new women’s record four years ago with a time of 3hrs 9mins 19secs but is not taking part this year because of injury. The 2019 winner Brennan Townshend is also ruled out because he too is injured.

The 2021 Three Peaks Race, which has entries from nine overseas countries, has been organised within Covid 19 restrictions.

Race organisers said: “In Victoria’s absence, those in the know are tipping Sara Willhoit, 32, of Mercia Fell Runners. She was part of the Great Britain team at the 2019 World Mountain Running Championships in Patagonia. But Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn, 37, the Lakeland 50 record holder, of Keswick Athletic Club, and Hatti Archer, 39, of Dark Peak Fell Runners, are stiff competition.

“The race has three entrants selected for the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in February. They are Billy Cartwright, 26, the 2021 England Fell Champion, who runs for Inov-8, and Three Peaks winner in 2014 and 2015, Ricky Lightfoot, a Salomon team member since 2008.

“Cartwright and Lightfoot are in the 40k race in Thailand while Nick Swinburn, 33, of Northumberland Fell Runners, a Three Peaks first-timer, will run in the 80k category. Swinburn, a farmer, has represented England and Great Britain more than 15 times in mountain running and cross-country events.”

The Three Peaks Race Association said it hopes to return to its normal date in 2022 when it plans to stage the event Saturday 30 April.

Main sponsor of the event is outdoor brand inov-8. More details are on the Three Peaks Race website.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Three Peaks Race postponed to October due to Covid-19 pandemic
  2. Covid-19 forces Three Peaks Race postponement to September
  3. Marc Lauenstein wins wintry Three Peaks Race by nine seconds
  4. Runner Joe Symonds chases father’s tally with second Three Peaks Race win
  5. Jim Mann and Carol Morgan head Montane Spine Challenger runners as night falls