The Spine is one of Britain’s most brutal races. The longest, coldest and most demanding mountain marathon in Britain. 268 miles of ice, snow, cold and savage winds. Competitors have 7 days to complete the race.
Ironically, the UK has had a very mild, if not wet, October, November and December. But with this weekend, just as The Spine is set to leave Edale the weather looks to be on the change and as the race says, it may very well be : 268 miles of ice, snow, cold and savage winds.
At 268 miles this is not a multi stage race in a Marathon des Sables style format, this race has a start and a finish. Quite simply, the first one to reach the end wins the race. So this is all about managing your effort and minimising your time resting or sleeping.
The Spine Race was first attempted in January 2012. During this first attempt they witnessed many courageous attempts to finish the 268 mile course. Three athletes would eventually finish. The race was won jointly by Gary Morrison and Steve Thompson, closely followed by Mark Caldwell.
Who is running?
The Spine Race is open to anyone with appropriate experience who wishes to test themselves and compete in a truly brutal race. You will face the most extreme weather conditions England has to offer; deep snow, ice, gale force winds and rain in a gruelling non-stop, 7 day race from Edale to Kirk Yetholm. It’s not just the conditions that are against you – your own body could become your worst enemy with tiredness, fatigue, sleep deprivation and exposure playing havoc with your performance. To finish you must be prepared and willing to push yourself harder than ever before. Entrants list HERE
The Dare 2b Spine Race is a 268 mile, non-stop, winter mountain marathon encompassing the entire Pennine Way. Widely recognised as the most demanding National Trail in Britain, the Pennine Way crosses some of the most beautiful, difficult and challenging terrain found in England, including; the Peak District, Cheviots, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park – finishing on the Scottish Borders.
There are 5 checkpoints that you must visit along the route to complete the race. The CP’s are distributed evenly along the course and it is here you will receive hot food and water, resupply, beds and showers (available at 4 of 5 CP’s) and medical attention should you require it. These checkpoints run from the start to the completion of the event. The CP’s are staffed 24/7 to provide as little disruption to your race as possible. They provide a haven from the sometimes hostile weather.
Checkpoints are located at:
- Hebden Bridge
- and Bellingham
A resupply/ drop bag is moved by the RD for you to the next CP as you progress through the race.
The longest day on the race is the second day. This is the longest section of the course between CP’s (approx. 60 miles). In 2012 the average completion time for this section was between 22 and 30 hours. Most competing athletes withdrew at this point of the race.
The Spine Team also monitor the course 24/7 to ensure competitor safety and our support vehicles carry additional hydration for competing athletes (minimum 2 litres per athlete per day). Along with the course monitoring you are permitted the use of a personal support team.
410.5 – 431 Km (255.1 miles – 268 miles dependent on route)
11,195 m (36,729 ft) ascent
890 m (2,920 ft) maximum height
Entrants & Updates
You are able to see a list of entrants and follow the leader board HERE
Currently they have 31 participants listed.
Additional Race – Spine Challenger
The Dare 2b Spine Challenger is a 108 mile, non-stop, 60 hour, winter mountain marathon between Edale and Hawes. This challenging and extremely technical section of the Pennine Way is not just the baby brother to the Spine Race – it is a physically and psychologically demanding route that demands concentration and respect.
The Spine Challenger is a wickedly difficult event. From appearances 60 hours looks like ample time to easily complete this course; however, appearances can be deceptive. The rugged and very technical nature of this race is mentally taxing as you have to constantly be aware of foot placement. Coupled with the limited daylight hours, and the necessity to run in the dark, you can start to build a very clear picture as to why we had only 1 official Challenger finisher in 2012.