Hot favourites Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee took first and second places at the Auld Lang Syne Race from Penistone Hill, near Haworth on New Year’s Eve.

The mud, river crossings and tough ascents ascents were a far cry from the Olympic triathlon course they will face in London this summer but the Brownlees revel in the testing conditions of West Yorkshire’s moorland.

Alistair said: “I took the lead 50 yards from the trig, and on the rough descent back to the Pennine Way took my chance.

“Out of Sladen Beck, I just kept pushing, knowing that Jonny never gives up. I crossed the line exhausted, but very happy to win the race for the third time.”

He added: “Two races – the Reebok 10k and this – have taken their toll, but I’m happy to be running so well because last year I was injured.

“After the prize-giving, we celebrated the New Year in Ilkley.”

Jonathan said: “Ali is fresher than me at the moment, and just had the edge.

“He even pulled a few more seconds out of me on the last really muddy moorland crossing back to the finish.”

He added: “This is my fifth year here, and it’s always so much fun. The 2008 race was amazing – everybody finished with grey hair because of the freezing conditions and had ice crystals everywhere.

“I crossed the line and my shoes were frozen solid, whereas this time the weather was ‘boiling’.

“Training is going well, especially after winning the Chevin Chase for the second time, although all this rain is getting to be a bit tedious.”

The younger Brownlee, who will be defending his Yorkshire cross-country title in Wakefield on Saturday, added: “I wouldn’t mind some snow!”

Their nearest rival among the other 397 starters, Lakelander Chris Steele, was two minutes behind.

Twelve-times winner Ian Holmes (Bingley) came a cropper in the the crowded quarry start area and did well to battle back to seventh overall and achieve his pre-race aim of retaining the over-40 title, just 18 seconds ahead of Karl Gray (Calder).

Matthew Lockyer (Pudsey & Bramley) took fourth to improve on his fifth place at the Chevin Chase on Boxing Day.

Norman Bush (Ilkley), who had set an amazing over-70s record of at The Stoop race of 41min 03sec just before Christmas, won his age category again.

West Yorkshire cross-country champion Katie Walshaw (Holmfirth) won a strong ladies’ race by over two minutes from Jo Buckley (Bingley), with Kate Bailey (Staffordshire) third.

The Giant’s Tooth, a three-mile blast on New Year’s Day around the undulating woodland of Ogden Water, attracts many talented youngsters.

Annabel Mason (Wakefield), an under-18, achieved the performance of the day, winning the ladies’ race in a course record 18min 18sec and was seventh overall.

The Hot Toddy, a 5.8-mile Todmorden road race, was narrowly won by Ian Grime (Newham & Essex).