A SHROUD of mist covering the West Pennines did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of 570 runners in the third running of the Pennine Bridleway Relay.
The marathon race, sponsored by our sister paper the Rossendale Free Press, is quickly becoming one of the most popular in the fell running calendar.
And this year it produced its most exciting finish with Clayton-le-Moors Men's A team missing out by a mere 12 seconds as Bowland A just raced to victory.
The race is run over five legs covering 47 gruelling miles in more than five hours with 54 teams tacking part. It was a tough day thanks to the rain, mist and, in some parts, ice over the course.
The Clayton Men's A team were winning after the first leg with Garry Wilkinson and Mark Aspinall but Bowland took over and managed to hold their nerve to win the event.
Clayton 'B' team were the first B team home finising in 10th place while Clayton Veterans A team were just two places behind
Clayton Ladies A were the first ladies to cross the line at Fearns High School in Bacup - in 28th place overall.
Accrington Road Runners put in three mixed teams and their A team finished 31st overall and third mixed team.
Much of the race organisation was done by Rossendale Harriers Graham Wright.
He said: 'The worst thing was the mist. You could not see a yard in front of you in places but I had about 10 e-mails after the race from people saying how much they enjoyed it.
'There is a lot of work went into it and I am pleased that it went so well. It makes it worthwhile when runners appreciate the work that has been done to put the event on.
'The Mountain Rescue were called to bring down one of the ladies down on the last leg and just to have them there is invaluable."