ENTRIES have already started to come in for next year’s Hell of a Hill Marathon after its most successful staging yet last week.

The annual event, dubbed the toughest multi-marathon event in the world, saw 28 runners complete five 26-milers in five days.

A total of 38 took on the challenge, which began last Wednesday and finished on Sunday, with 10 unable to finish it.

Many others entered individual marathons during the event which is in its fifth year.

Phil Eccleston, who organises the Hell of a Hill race via his website time2runevents.co.uk, says the event is growing in popularity year on year.

“We only had 18 entries for all five marathons in the first year and it’s grown from that,” he said.

“What happens is people enter one marathon without knowing about the five and then come back and try the full five.

“Next year we’ll be staging it a week later on November 14 and we’ve already had entries for it.

“This year we had 350 runners take part over the five days, and we had 129 entries on the Saturday which is the most we have ever had and 90 of them finished.”

The route started from a new headquarters on the Chorley boundary from where competitors ran three miles to a loop route around the hills and fells of Rivington including up to the Pike.

They ran the 3.8-mile loop five times before running back to the headquarters.

“It was a new set-up this year and it went down well,” said Eccleston.

“Everyone was happy with it and we had as good feedback as we have ever got.

“We look after the runners well. We give them plenty of food and drinks and good support compared to other runs.

“The weather was a lot better this year than previous years so that was favourable for the runners.

“We had people from all over come and do it, including three from France who couldn’t speak a word of English and they completed the full five.”