Stockton's River Rat Race has notched up a record entry after 1,000 people signed up to run, splash, walk the plank and kayak around the River Tees on Sunday, August 26.
The record entry easily tops the 970 who entered in 2011 and organisers expect applications to continue rising over the coming days. Subject to capacity, people can register on the day.
River Rat Racers will be tackling the tough-but-fun 10 kilometre course around the Tees riverbanks. Challenges along the route include running up hills, across the top of the Newport Bridge, through swamps and obstacles, not to mention kayaking on the River Tees and jumping into it off the replica of Captain Cook's Endeavour. An addition to this year's course is wading through the Queen Elizabeth II White Water Course at the Tees Barrage.
Jim Mee, of Rat Race Adventure Sports, is the self-styled ''Rat in Chief' who works with Stockton Council and plans the course and puts on the event. He said: "This proves just how popular the River Rat Race has become. Breaking the 1,000-entry mark is fantastic – but there's still plenty of time to join.
"Everyone – well, nearly everyone – who finishes the race has a huge grin on their face and so many who finished last year's event have come back for more, so it must be fun!
"Really, while the course is the ultimate urban adventure event, it's something people of all abilities should be able to complete safely.
Councillor Ken Dixon, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member of Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: "I'm delighted we've broken the course record before the event has even started. Now I'd love to see more joining in the River Rat Race and finding out just how much Stockton's river and riverbanks have to offer.
"River Rat Racing may not be an Olympic sport, but there's no denying it's a fun way to challenge yourself."
The Stockton River Rat Race starts and finishes on Stockton's Riverside, where music and other supporting events will create a carnival atmosphere. At roughly 10 kilometres in distance, competitors will be fully supported with safety equipment and supervision.
New for this year is a special team entry offer, with a £10 discount off the £39 entry fee for each member of a team of ten, or £5 off for teams of five.
Tees Valley residents can get a £5 discount by quoting "stock5" when entering online at www.ratraceadventure.com/riverratrace. The discounts are on a first come first served basis.
The entry fee also includes a high performance technical tee shirt, electronic chip timing and entertainments and refreshments on the day. Entrants are also entitled to 15 per cent off RRP on all Rat Race Adventure Sports events, kit and training via www.ratraceadventure.com.