Sat 27 April, Horton in Ribblesdale
The Three Peaks Race is a fell-running institution, first held in 1954, and won by Fred Bagley of Preston Harriers. Although no Prestonians have followed up with a win, many have pitted their strength against the mighty 23.3mi course, with 5279ft of ascent. Starting from the small village of Horton-In-Ribblesdale, competitors run anticlockwise over Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough. Plenty of the route is on rocky track or paved slabs, which protect the landscape from the side-effects of the popular walking challenge. If you’re moving faster, this can make for tricky underfoot conditions, especially when wet and muddy.
At 10:30am Saturday 27th April, 751 kitted-out runners set off for what Storm Hannah suggested would be a thrilling day out. As it turned out, the weather was perfect in parts, with beautiful views across the North Yorkshire Moors, and atrocious in others, particularly on the summits, with swirling winds and poor visibility. The marshals, safety teams, and organisers really earned all the accolades they received, being cheery and helpful throughout.
To keep everyone on track, there are seven checkpoints. Apart from the end, these were the mountain tops; two aid stations between PYG and Whernside; and the notorious Hill-Inn after a tricky and slippery Whernside descent. These ground level checkpoints had enforced cut-off times. After two mountains and around 16mi, the Hill-Inn marshals had to stop everyone reaching there after 14:00, or 3h30. Sadly, this just caught out Preston’s Vikki Sherrington. On a really tough day in challenging conditions this was a monumental effort! Well done on making it that far and hopefully you’ll be back!
Past Hill-Inn was the grim Ingleborough which involved scrambling and powering into the fog on the summit. Reward for this was a rocky descent, although some people seemed to know much better lines here…! A rocky run in and then through some kind family’s garden back to Horton-In-Ribblesdale finished things off.
671 of those 751 starters made it; the overall winner was Brennan Townsend of Keswick AC (2:50:22); first lady was returning champion Victoria Wilkinson of Bingley Harriers & AC (3:20:01); Preston Harriers had debutant Joseph Sharples (4:59:52) who, after a few days rest, thinks he’ll be back, having enjoyed the scenery and challenge.