Sign up for this year’s coal race

Mens winner Matthew Wainwright and three times womens winner Catherine Foley.

Mens winner Matthew Wainwright and three times womens winner Catherine Foley.

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STRENGTH and endurance will be put to the test when Gawthorpe’s world-famous coal race takes place in April.

Entrants can now apply for this year’s Coal Carrying Championship which will take place on Easter Monday.

The age-old tradition involves athletes of all ages and abilities racing just under a mile, from the Royal Oak pub on Owl Lane to the village maypole, with sacks of coal on their backs.

Male entrants carry sacks of 50kg, while women carry 25kg sacks, and winners get a cash prize and their names in the event’s history books.

The family event also features 100m children’s races with small sacks of sand for several age categries.

Event organiser Samantha Wood said: “Previously compared to as an Olympic sport, this event is one to add to your calendar.

“Places are limited so applications must be returned as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

Matthew Wainwright took last year’s men’s crown in four minutes 28 seconds, while Catherine Foley set a new women’s record, finishing in four minutes 25 seconds.

Then men’s record is four minutes and five seconds.

Children can register on the day from 9am on the village green.

Application forms are available from the Gawthorpe Maypole Committee website at www.gawthorpemaypole.org.uk or by contacting Susan Walshaw on 01924 260141.