WET CONDITIONS may have put paid to much of the district's sporting fixtures of late but the Stoop fell race usually takes place whatever the weather.

Heading into its 27th consecutive year, the event takes place on Sunday from Penistone Hill Country Park, near Haworth.

Organiser Dave Woodhead, who has been running Woodentops fell races on Bronte Moors for more than 30 years with his wife Eileen, has never once cancelled the event, even in terrible conditions.

He said: “Even in the snow and rain it goes ahead. It is going to be tough to run up there in this weather but the conditions are not too bad as the course drains quite well.

“The terrain often catches people out as it is very challenging, so competitors often have to compete more than once to really get their bearings.”

Three-time winner Tom Adams, of Ilkley Harriers, is once again favourite to come out on top, having beaten Simon Bailey by 39 seconds last year. The likes of Bailey and Jack Smith will be up there challenging along with Keighley's Ian Holmes, who is a regular face at this event, having competed for over 20 years, with many victories along the way.

Holmes has finished top in the V40 category all but once in the past 10 years, but he is now looking to stamp his mark at V50 level after recently celebrating his 50th birthday.

Woodhead expects the Bingley Harrier to smash a few records. He said: “I expect Holmes to knock several minutes off the V50 record as he is always near the front, last year he finished fifth overall.”

Meanwhile in the female section, Caitlin Rice will be looking to make it back-to-back wins after she finished as the highest-ranked female with a time of 39 minutes 20 seconds.

More than 500 competitors are expected to compete across all the age groups, with runners able to just turn up on the day.

The event will have its usual festive and fun feel, with the wearing of Santa hats compulsory as Woodhead explained. He said: “There are absolutely no exceptions, otherwise they will be disqualified! It is quite a sight to watch hundreds of Santa hats bouncing up and down the hill!”

“Many come in fancy dress anyway and there are special prizes for those best dressed. Along with free goodie bags for all of the junior racers, plus a free Curly Wurly and coffee for all competitors.”

The main race starts at 11.30am, with the Curly Wurly Junior Quarry runs an hour earlier.

Meanwhile the Brownlee brothers are once again set to return to race at the Auld Lang Syne race on New Year’s Eve. Olympic and Commonwealth champion Alistair came out victorious last year, with brother Jonny finishing third.

However, Mark Buckingham from Holmfirth and Slovakia Olympian Richard Varga will offer substantial threats.