THE 66th 'Three Peaks Race' – cancelled because of Covid 19 in 2020 and postponed from its usual date in April – will be run over Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough on Saturday (October 9).

Three former winners: Ian Ferguson, 61, from Bingley Harriers; Tom Owens, 40, from Shettlestone Harriers in Glasgow; and Ricky Lightfoot, a Cumbrian firefighter, from Ellenborough Athletic Club; are among 821 entrants.

The race, which is one of the most famous in the calendar, will start from Horton-in-Ribblesdale at 10am on a 37.4km course with 1,609 metres of ascent and decent. It is billed as the “Marathon with Mountains”.

Race record for the event, which has Inov-8, a world leading footwear, clothing and equipment brand for trail, fell and off-road runners as its main sponsor, dates from 1996.

Andy Peace, of Bingley Harriers, set 2hrs 46mins 3secs over the current course. A £500 bonus prize is on offer to anyone who can beat the men’s and women’s records.

Victoria Wilkinson, also of Bingley Harriers, set a time of 3hrs 9mins 19secs in 2017 when she knocked five minutes off the record made by Anna Pichrtova (Strakova), of the Czech Republic, when the Three Peaks hosted the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in 2008.

Five times winner Victoria, who has been first female for the last four years, and Brennan Townshend, who did no reconnaissance, but turned up and won at his first attempt in 2019, are not running because they both have injuries.

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 2021 Three Peaks Race, which has entries from nine overseas countries, has been organised within Covid 19 restrictions. The Three Peaks Race Association hopes to return to its normal date in 2022 when the event will be held on Saturday, April 30.