An unseasonal deluge of snow failed to stop almost 150 brave souls from throwing a bag of coal on their backs for a lung busting race through the streets.
The annual Gawthorpe Coal Race went ahead after a snow plough and a rain shower saved the day.
There was doubt the spectacle would take place this morning after several inches of snow fell on the course in Ossett, causing the cancellation of the children’s event.
But at 11am with the thaw beginning to set in, organisers decided to go ahead and allow the more than 100 competitors to complete the challenge – which sees the men carry 50kg coal sacks, and women 20kg sacks, along the 1,012m uphill course.
In the end, victory was taken by reigning men’s champion Andrew Corrigan of Driffield, who actually improved his time from 2017 by two seconds.
Women’s champion, was local teacher Danielle Sidebottom, who has entered numerous times but never won before.
The veteran winner was Scottish entrant, Jimmy McIntyre.
Organiser Duncan Smith said after all being clear first thing they had been forced to watching the snow settle as the morning went on.
He said: “We got up in the early hours and it was just rain but then when we were setting up it turned to sleet and then snow, and then lying snow.
“We were constantly re-assessing and we were gambling on the rain coming and washing it away.
“We were lucky enough to get a snow plough to clear the course and when the rain came that made it safe enough to go ahead.
“They were attrocious conditions to run something like this but a bit of old Dunkirk spirit and Yorkshire grit got people through.
“The competitors were keen to run as some had travelled from other parts of the country such as Scotland, Dublin and London.
“Obviously some people didn’t make it but they were keen to go, so we stuck with it.
“We had reduced numbers so we combined some of the races so everybody that wanted to run did run.”
The winning time this year was 4 minutes 31 seconds for the men and 4 minutes 56 for the women.
The veteran winner finished in 5 minutes 22 seconds.
The slowest time was over 15 minutes by Joel Hicks, who had an excellent excuse.
Joel, who has done the race ten times before, was carrying 120kg of coal – more than double everyone else and 20kg more than last year.