A TOUGH athletic challenge is taking place on local moors next month.

People who fancy a the challenge of getting round ultra distances on rough terrain are invited to enter the Two Crosses races.

The event offers either a 25-mile or a 17-mile course described by organisers Long Distance Walkers Association East Lancs branch as one of the toughest moorland challenges the West Pennines has to offer.

Around 300 people are expected to take part in the races on Sunday, March 23, which can be run, walked or got round using a mixture of the two.

While the field is open to all, the challenging nature of the races demand a high standard of mental and physical fitness.

Top fell runners compete alongside ordinary distance hikers at the event which starts and finishes in Tottington.

They are circular routes taking in Affetside, the Jumbles, Turton Tower, Belmont, Turton and Entwistle Reservoir, Edgworth, Holcolme Moor, Bull Hill and Peel Tower. The races begin at 8am.

To give prospective competitors an indication of the standard of competition, these are the winning times from last year’s event: Male runner 17 miles 2:49; female runner 17 miles 2:49; male walker 17 miles 4:03; female walker 17 miles 5:13; male runner 25 miles: 3:47; female runner 25 miles 4:44; male walker 25 miles 5:42; female walker 25 miles 6:47.

Entrants are registered and given a route description, a slip of card and piece of string.

The card is punched, orienteering style, at each of the checkpoints the competitor passes through.

The event is both a test of fitness and stamina, and of the ability to interpret and execute the instructions in the route description.

Participants are registered at each checkpoint, and at the finish everyone is given a certificate documenting their finishing time.

Liquid refreshments are available at each checkpoint, with plenty of food at the halfway stage and at the finish. Entry is £9 in advance, £10 on the day and £7 for LDWA members, and to book contact Paul or Alison Wadsworth on 07596 451788 or 07985 920009 or email two_cross es@hotmail.com.

Full details and a link to the entry form are available on the club’s website www.ldwa.org.uk/ eastlancashire.