3 Peaks – the joy of winning

Posted in At the Races on Wed 23 Apr ’14

© www.grough.co.uk

Three Peaks runners on Pen-y-Ghent

A reposting of a previous 3 Peaks article, but we think it’s still a relevant piece to be pushing out there this week, and is always a nice refresher for those who may have read it before – for those who haven’t it’s a nice history lesson from those who have won the mighty 3Ps…

The Three Peaks Race is all about the runners. Tales are told that become folk lore down the years, however it’s generally the winners that are remembered – here a few snippets from those who have experienced that joy of winning…

What it feels like to win the Three Peaks Race

(With kind permission of David Hodgson www.threepeaksrace.org.uk)

Only a select few have experienced winning the Three Peaks race . We asked some previous winners to say just how they felt after winning and here is a selection of their comments.

© www.threepeaksrace.org.uk

Harry Walker – Winner 1978, 1979,1981.

After seven attempts to win I finally fulfiled my ambition. I felt extremely proud, and still do. I have many happy memories and some very bad ones. After struggling to do 21 races I have great respect for the runners at the back of the field.

Wendy Dodds – Joint Ladies Winner 1983. Completion of most races by a woman.

I fell over several times on the descent from Ingleborough and was helped up by other runners. Carol (Walkington) and I passed each other several times during the descent, until a mile or so from the end we agreed to finish together. I had always hoped to do 21 races and after about ten races I kept thinking can I do another 11, 10 etc. but when it was decided to give women ‘the picture’ after 15 races it took the pressure off. It has become psychologically easier to think of reaching 21”. Wendy is attempting her 21st race this year.

Jeff Norman – Winner 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975.

From the age of 18 when I first read about this race, I couldn’t wait for my 21st birthday, when I would be old enough to compete. Completing the race that first year probably gave me more satisfaction than some later wins, but after two “down the field” finishes, followed by a 3rd, then a 2nd, my first win was very special – an ambition fulfilled.

© www.threepeaksrace.org.uk

Jeff Norman at Ribblehead

Hugh Symonds – Winner 1984,1985,1987.

The sensation of crossing the line, as winner at Horton is one of the best feelings in fell racing only rivalled by the atmosphere on winning the Ben Nevis. However, after my first win in 1984, feelings of euphoria transformed to shame within two hours, because post race celebrations in the pub meant that I completely forgot to attend the presentation. I wasn’t there to receive the magnificent carved trophy! Looking at it on the wall afterwards was a constant reminder of my stupidity and made me determined to win the race again. (He did – twice more)

© www.threepeaksrace.org.uk

Vanessa Peacock (Brindle) – Ladies Winner 1987, 1988, 1989.

Winning the Three Peaks Race gave me a greater satisfaction and sense of achievement than winning any other race. The demanding course, the spectator involvement, and the special history of the event all create a great sense of occasion. It’s the fell equivalent of the London Marathon.

Ian Ferguson – Winner 1991, 1992.

Most folks have heard of the Three Peaks so to win you are a hero. The only race that brought tears to my eyes whilst running the last 500 metres.

Gary Devine – Winner 1990.

I’ve come to realise that it was quite an achievement and that I am proud to have won it. I can still recall most of the race, mainly because of the tussle I had with Shaun Livesey.

Sarah Rowell – Ladies Winner 1991,1992,1994. Ladies record holder.

The Peaks was always a special race for me, one that I focused my training on during the winter. The emotions attached to winning depended how the race had gone – a real high when all went well, more a feeling of relief when it had been a struggle.

© www.pudseybramley.com

Sarah Rowell at the Three Peaks in 1999

Gavin Bland – Winner 1993.

I ran for three hours without a thought of winning but caught Mark Croasdale close to the finish and had a little bit left for a sprint finish. A very unexpected Peaks win that just goes to show: Never give up!

Jean Rawlinson – Ladies Winner 1995.

I remember the conditions were very good and I set off steadily. I climbed Whernside with Kath Drake but overtook her at the summit and from there pushed on, feeling really good. On the top of Ingleborough, I was told that the 2nd Lady was only just starting the final climb and I was able to enjoy the run-off. On reaching the final stretch of road I heard the race commentator announce that the first lady was about to enter the field. This brought a lump to my throat and I saw my husband Barry waiting for me with open arms. We both cried. This was and will always be the most memorable day of my running life and when I think back I still cannot believe I won such a prestigious race.

Carol Greenwood – Ladies Winner 1993,1997, 1998.

Winning the Three Peaks gave me a lot of pleasure and I really enjoyed the races even the last few miles. I particularly remember the river crossing in 1993 when I was nearly washed away and now I think it a great achievement for anyone to get round.

Andy Peace – Winner 1994, 1995, 1996. Course record holder.

I was always in awe of my dad watching him doing the race. I think it means more to me now than at the time I won. Then I was just interested in breaking records and getting to the pub first”.

© www.todharriers.co.uk

Ian Holmes

Ian Holmes – Winner 1997.

The Peaks is definitely one of the classic fell races to win, even more so for a Yorkshire man.

Mark Croasdale – Winner 1999.

Coming from Lancaster you can’t miss Ingleborough when training on the local fells so it was only a matter of time before I raced the classic event. I got it wrong the first time I ran in 1993. (Remember the television programme of the race, which featured the REM hit “Everybody Hurts”?) When I did win in 1999, the overwhelming feeling was that of relief. The Peaks is always very high on my list of achievements in fell running.

Angela Mudge – Ladies Winner 1999 and also first newcomer.

I was chuffed to win the first Lady and first Newcomer awards. I was surprised at the amount of fast running involved but the climbs are short and sweet. It can’t have been too bad though as I’ve entered again this year.

© www.saabsalomonoutdoorteam.com

Angela Mudge

Simon Booth – Winner 2000, 2002.

After not looking forward to the 2000 race I found I thoroughly enjoyed it and was very pleased to win. 2002 was very wet and windy with low cloud and it was the coldest I’ve ever felt in a fell race. In fact I almost dropped out at Hill Inn despite leading. Instead I put on full waterproof body cover, balaclava and gloves to the finish.

David Walker – Winner 2003.

The fulfillment of a childhood dream.

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

Tom Owens crosses the finish line in Horton

Tom Owens – Winner 2011

Winning the The Three Peaks means so much to me. I had to run the race of my life to overcome the opposition, but perhaps most of all at this race you need to overcome the conditions – the unpredictable wind, the changes in the terrain underfoot, the movement from essentially a fell race to a kind of trail transition, three times over! This is classic and has to be amongst the best races in the world!”

The comments of an anonymous runner who has run the race 14 times:

What brings me back to run this race each year? The nervous apprehension as the announcer counts down to start time. The spectators whose cheers can lift a weary and footsore runner through a bad patch. And of course the finish, with the field in sight from half a mile away and the tannoy announcing your arrival on the final run in. It is always a grand day out and it is in Yorkshire.

© farm4.static.flickr.com

The unknown runner…

Reactions so far
  1. Peter Mackie
    Apr 24, 05:41 PM

    The closest I’ll get to the coveted wooden trophy was having it in the boot of my car whilst Beinn Dubh was being run last evening. It had be passed by Joe Symonds to Shettleston Harriers for safe transportation to the race on Saturday 🙂

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