AS many as 1,750 hardy souls will brave wintry conditions to take part in one of Britain's most celebrated roads races tomorrow.

The Brass Monkey half marathon will see elite and club runners come together to battle it out on the streets of York across the 13.1 mile route.

Tim Clarke, vice chair of Knavesmire Harriers, which stages the contest, said the club was prepared for frosty conditions.

“As long as it’s not flooded and not full of snow, we should be covered,” he said. “I have been round the course a few times.”

The race was started in 1983 by club president Brian Hughes who, it is said, founded the club with Ray Wilstrop after meeting under a tree on Knavesmire.

Getting under way at 10am, it starts on Bishopthorpe Road and travels through the village on to Acaster Lane and back through Bishopthorpe, via Appleton Roebuck, to a conclusion at York Racecourse.

Club members do not compete in the event, instead acting as marshalls manning the route.

The Brass Monkey was initially intended as a contest for club runners but has expanded enormously over its three and a half decades and has attracted some of the country’s best to take part.

These include Olympic 10,000 metres runner Angela Tooby-Smith and former world 100 kilometres champion Caroline Hunter-Rowe.

Clarke added: “We usually get some really elite runners competing and some very strong club runners because it is a fast race.

“A lot of people record personal bests at this event and we are expecting a good selection of elite runners.

“This year, the field was set at 1,750 and it was sold out within 80 minutes. They went on sale on 6am on a Saturday and, by 7.20am, all the places had been taken.

“That’s down to a combination of things. It is a very friendly and very engaging half marathon. The marshalls are really good and really supportive and the organisation is efficient.

“We all get involved in doing the organising and around 160 people are involved on the day.”