NEARLY 1,000 runners have entered the Three Peaks Race taking place in the Yorkshire Dales this weekend.
The gruelling fell run takes place on Saturday, April 26 in what is the 60th anniversary of the event.
Among those to have signed up is the 2011 winner Tom Owens. Last year’s winner Joe Symonds, 30, who was expected to return to attempt a third successive win, will be unable to attend.
Mr Symonds, a trainee paediatrician, who hopes to run for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in July, will be taking part in the two-day Highlander Mountain Marathon being run on the same weekend in the Lochaber region of Scotland.
After winning the 2013 Three Peaks in a time of 2hrs 54mins 39secs, Symonds, predicted he would be back this year to attempt to beat the achievement of his father, Hugh Symonds, of Kendal Athletics Club, who won in 1984, 1985 and 1987.
Now all eyes will be on Tom Owens, 32, from the Three Peaks main sponsor, the Salomon International Team, who won in 2hrs 53mins 34secs in 2011.
His team mate Thorbjorn Ludvigsen, 25, who has entered the Three Peaks for the first time, has an unusual pedigree.
The Norwegian won the men’s race in the Empire State Building Run-up in New York in February, which involves a dash up 1,576 steps to the 86th floor of the iconic building.
The 996 runners in the Three Peaks Race on Saturday will have to cover the 23-mile route over Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough with a total ascent of 5,279ft.