MORE than 200 runners and walkers took part in the annual Cave Rescue Organisation Ingleborough Challenge.

In what organisers expect to be the most successful of its fundraising challenges yet, entrants included nine year old Ella Jackson from Ingleton, and a runner dressed as a Roman Centurion, a regular participant who always runs the course with cape and carrying a ‘gladius’ sword.

Ella, who has been a keen walker ever since doing the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail when she was just two years old, completed the shorter 12 mile route last year and this year, was determined to complete the full 26 mile marathon route, which includes climbing Ingleborough - the second highest mountain in the Yorkshire Dales.

Organisers say Ella, who was joined on the walk by her mum, Andrea Jackson and friend Becky Townend, crossed the finishing line looking as ‘fresh as a daisy’ and alone has so far raised around £1,500 for the cave rescue team.

The CRO’s Jonty Rhodes said the organisation expected the final tally to be in the region of £10,000.

“ We think we have had our best year to date from a fund raising perspective. We had our highest number of participants ever and the feedback we’ve had so far was that everyone had a really great day,” he said.

“The CRO team love putting this event on, it’s great to see old and new faces taking part, and everyone always seems to have a really great day. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who does take part, every penny raised in entry fees and sponsorship goes directly towards helping us help others in our wonderful part of the Dales.

“On behalf of the whole team, I would like to thank everyone who took part in making the CRO Challenge 2019 the best so far, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.”

The CRO is based in Clapham and since 1935 has been helping people and animals in trouble in the area of the Three Peaks.

Its all-volunteer team has assisted thousands of lost or injured walkers, runners, cavers, climbers, and trapped or injured animals, responding to up to 100 incidents every year. It provides a vital service, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and relies entirely on donations.