Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

A couple of days ago I completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge* alongside a group of wonderful ladies, and as per my previous post on Richmond 10K, DO NOT PANIC – this is not a dull step-by-step account of the event. In fact, the inspiration behind this post was a fellow runner informing me that as someone who runs regularly, the Three Peaks would be “incredibly easy and barely a challenge.” I can confirm that this was not the case (I never thought it would be the case because I’m not an absolute moron) and would like to point out that arrogance is never an attractive trait.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge covers almost the same distance as a marathon. However, I would like to highlight below why hiking this distance is not necessarily ‘easier’ than running a marathon**:

  1. Although hiking and running have many similarities, the difference in speed and gradient between the two activities alters the way in which the muscles are used. Tackling the Three Peaks has resulted in some unexpected hip abductor pain, which I have never experienced with running!
  1. I was carrying a backpack, which of course had an impact on my back muscles. I also packed the backpack with copious unnecessary items, such as a wooly hat and thermal trousers (it was one of the hottest days of the year, yet I was convinced there would be snow at the top of each peak.)
  1. I found this a lot more difficult than marathon/long run nutrition! In order to keep my backpack as light as possible, I packed multiple energy/protein bars and (unlike the others in my team) did not include any ‘real food.’ Unsurprisingly, by the time I had consumed my 9th energy bar, I felt pretty vile. It was verging on dangerous, and nobody wants to do a Paula Radcliffe.
  1. I was incredibly lucky as I completed the Three Peaks with a team of ladies who were familiar with the route. This may have resulted in me being slightly lazy, as I didn’t even need to consider things such as navigation and travel arrangements – if I were in charge of navigation, we would have all been doomed.

All in all, the Yorkshire Three Peak Challenge was a fantastic experience, and I am now SO keen to take on the National Three Peaks Challenge. Have you taken part in any of the Three Peaks challenges? Do you have any tips on the National Three Peaks Challenge – when is the best time of year to complete this etc.?

*The Yorkshire Three Peaks is a hiking challenge, taking on the following peaks: Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

**I understand that some of these points may still be relevant for ultra marathons/trail marathons etc. However, I am comparing hiking the Three Peaks to my own marathon experiences thus far.

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