A HARDY group of local runners are preparing to take on a Bolton event dubbed the toughest multi-marathon in the world.

The annual Hell of a Hill challenge of five marathons in five days takes place next month on the hills and fells around Rivington.

The 26-milers start on Wednesday, November 8 and continue each day until the following Sunday.

Around 80 runners have so far entered each individual event with a few dozen runners having committed to doing all five.

"We're in our fifth year of the event now and it's popular with proper endurance junkies," said organiser Phil Eccleston, one of the top local long-distance runners himself.

"Because of the kind of event it is it attracts runners from all over, including abroad.

"We've had people come from Devon, Aberdeen, France and Italy.

"The reason they come is because of the kind of event it is. It's the toughest five-in-five in the world, there's not even a double marathon as tough.

"The total climb in a day is around 5,000 feet, so overall you do about 25,000 feet. It's equivalent to climbing Everest in five days.

"There are normally about 50 who do the full five-in-five and about 25 who finish it.

"It's always sold out and this year we can fit more people in because we have moved to a new race headquarters at Bibby's Farm activity centre in Rivington."

The course runs around the fells and hills around Rivington and is stamina-sapping terrain for even the more resilient of endurance runners.

It used to be eight laps around Rivington Pike which last year reduced to six and this year is down to five.

The huge amount of training needed to get fit and strong enough to complete the five-in-five is epitomised by Tim Green who is doing all five for the first time this year.

The 28-year-old father-of-two from Astley Bridge is one of around a dozen runners from Bolton who have committed to tackling the full event.

He is no stranger to long-distance runs but admits this is by far the toughest he has ever taken on.

He has an idea what awaits him after doing one day of the Hell of a Hill last year and began his training for all five at the start of the year.

"I've done eight marathons in the past, four this year, and I've done long runs one day after another." he said.

"But I've never done anything as hard as this so it will be a nice surprise.

"I decided after doing one of the five last year that I would do it again. I enjoyed it and wanted to do it again.

"I said to my wife I might do two or three of them this year and she just said why don't you do all five.

"I'm doing it for McMillan cancer charity because someone in our family died of cancer last year and it's a good cause.

"I started my training in January and the fewest miles I've done in a month was 86 in January and the next fewest was 101 in August.

"The most I've done is 160 and I feel I'm in good enough shape to do it.

"I'll finish it, I'm numb enough to. The main thing for me is seeing how much I can push myself.

"I'm aiming to do each one under six hours and then Saturday and Sunday go as fast as I can."

The course record is held by Adam Holland with 3hrs 26mins he ran last year.

If anyone wants to sponsor Tim visit http://bit.ly/2xN2Ux6 and to enter any or all of this year's events visit www.time2runevents.co.uk.