THE number of visitors to the Yorkshire Dales National Park this weekend is likely to rocket as spectators pour in to watch top international athletes run the 54th Three Peaks race tomorrow (Saturday 26 April).
This year the calibre of competitors covering the gruelling route up and down Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough has been cranked up because the race has been chosen by the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) as its 5th World Long Distance Challenge.
That status has meant that the world-class UK runners who take part will be joined on the starting line in Horton-in-Ribblesdale on Saturday morning by elite athletes from as far away as the US and Australia.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and Craven District Council have been working hard to find accommodation for all the competitors and to ensure the event goes smoothly on the day.
YDNPA Chairman Carl Lis, who will be welcoming the race organisers at a reception at the Crown Hotel in the village on Friday evening, said: “I am delighted that our beautiful Three Peaks have been chosen by the WMRA for their Mountain Challenge.
“Access onto the Three Peaks only works well because of the way the National Park Authority works together with local landowners to make it happen. This joint effort helps us to conserve this sometimes fragile landscape and ensure that the route is maintained.”
The prizes will be handed out to the winners by YDNPA deputy chairman Malcolm Petyt who is also the Authority’s member champion for recreation management.
Further information can be found at www.threepeaksrace.org.uk