After taking part in the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge last year, I thought I would offer everything I know about this fierce mountain marathon.
You can take part in the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge as part of one of the organised events, or form your own group. I ran with a good friend who had experience with the route which definitely helped.
What is the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge?
The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge is an intense fell race that includes climbing the Yorkshire Three Peaks: Pen-y-Ghent; Whernside; and Ingleborough in under 12 hours. All peaks reside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Your starting point for the route will be in Horton-in-Ribblesdale. It’s a circular route so you always end up where you started (or you should). I completed the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge in 2018 and you can read about my experience completing the challenge.
The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge Route
You will follow this route:
- Pen-y-Ghent (694m)
- Whernside (736m)
- Ingleborough (723m)
Each peak offers different challenges, for example Pen-y-Ghent is the smallest peak but has an abrupt, steep ascent for which you’ll need to get your hands involved. Next comes Whernside, the highest peak of the three, which is pretty rocky. You’ll finish the challenge with Ingleborough which offers an incredibly steep climb and descent.
How long is the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge?
The circular route is 24 miles long, with 1585m of ascent.
How long does the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge take?
You have up to 12 hours to complete the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge.
I managed the fell run in 6 hours 50 minutes. The fastest recorded time is a mind-blowing 2 hours 29 minutes, set by Jeff Norman in 1974.
What should I wear & take with me on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge?
- Hiking shoes or boots – boots are better for ankle support
- Hiking socks – the last thing you want is a blister
- Map & compass
- High-carb foods: sandwiches; energy bars; fruit; wine gums etc.
- Lots of fluids
- First aid kit
- Waterproof clothing
- Head torch
When should I start training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge?
This 24 mile fell race is no joke. You want to start training as soon as possible and give yourself 3-4 months as a minimum.
Get outdoors and start hiking as soon as possible. You want to get your legs ready for those climbs, so running trails and hills will help your body prepare for the challenge.
My marathon training programme focuses on creating a personalised plan to improve endurance, build strength and implement the right diet to get the most nutrition out of your meals.
Paired with hikes and trail running, you’ll be in the best shape for the race.
Which is harder between the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge or the National 3 Peaks Challenge?
Although the National 3 Peaks Challenge is slightly shorter, at 23 miles compared to 24 miles for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge, the ascent is almost twice as high at a dizzying 3064m.
However, since you climb each peak one at a time, it doesn’t boast the same challenge as running all three in one go.