The Spine sponsored by Montane – Britain’s most brutal race


January 11th – 18th 2014

The 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.

Competitors have 7 days to complete the race, cut-off 168-hours.


Ironically, the UK has had a very mild, if not wet and windy, 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; temperatures are looking to drop with lows of -6 deg and highs of 7 deg. It most certainly looks like a different race to last years extreme cold, ice and snow. Will the conditions make the race faster?

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; 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.

In dramatic circumstances the 2013 Dare 2b Spine Race was won by Eugeni Roselló Sole in an incredible 5d 4h 52m setting a new bench mark for the race and the distance in extreme Arctic conditions. Annabel Gates completed the race as 1st Female in 7d 4h 59m.

2013 finishers:

  • Ian Bowles
  • Jin Cao
  • Mark Cooper
  • Gregory Crowley
  • Paul Dickens
  • Thomas Emke
  • Annabel Gates
  • Richard Lendon
  • Gary Morrison
  • Brian Mullen
  • Eugeni Roselló Sole

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.

As Scott Gilmour (RD for the race) says, “Runners will face the most extreme weather conditions England has to offer 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 runners must be prepared and willing to push themselves harder than ever before.”

Ones to watch in 2014 (alphabetical order):

  • Mimi Anderson – multiple world record holder and really experienced at long distances. Mimi will test the men in the field and push them all the way. “I’m under NO illusions about the difficulty of this event.  I’m looking at it as an adventure rather than a race as it’s about managing yourself properly, getting enough sleep but keeping yourself moving.”
  • Anthony Bethell – relatively new to ultra running but Anthony finished Tor des Geants and is an accomplished fell and mountain runner with a recent top placing at the Tour of Helvellyn.
  • Neil Bryant – Neil is somewhat of an endurance machine. He loves long distances and has won the Viking Way ultra and completed Trans Euorope. Now living in Chamonix he has become used to the cold, snow, ice and mountains. He will do well at the Spine.
  • Annie Garcia – regular long distance competitor with plenty of grit and determination.
  • Mark Hines – Possibly one of the most experienced athletes in the field and plenty of cold weather experience. He knows how to put his head down and keep moving forward. His experiences in the Yukon will put him at a great advantage at the Spine if the weather turns particularly bad.
  • Richard Lendon – Third time at the Spine for Richard. He finished in 2013 and knows what is required to get the job done.
  • Moses Lovstad – Moses finished Hurt100, Transgrancanaria and Tor des Geants in 2013. That puts him in a great place for the Spine.
  • Andy Mouncey – Raced at the Spine in 2013 but DNF’d, pretty sure he is going to be at this years race with more focus. He said on his blog, “This one’s been twelve months in the making, I think I’ve got the leverage this time, but the only way to know is to do.”
  • Eugeni Roselló Sole – last years winner. Enough said!
  • Charlie Sharpe – Another regular competitor at all distances. Moved up a level with his Lakeland 100 performance in 2013 but this race will be a new challenge and test.
  • Charles Sproson – Montane athlete, Charlie is very accomplished and has some notable achievements that will put him in a great place for the Spine. He’s completed the OMM multiple times, done the Bob Graham solo and more importantly completed the Dragons Back in 2012.
  • Others?

Full entrants THE SPINE HERE


The route


The Montane 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
  • Hawes
  • Middleton-in-Teesdale
  • Alston
  • and Bellingham

A resupply/ drop bag is moved by the RD for you to the next CP as you progress through the race.

Spine Map

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.

Route Profile

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

Spine Profile

Entrants & Updates

You are able to see a list of entrants and follow the leader board HERE

Live Tracking HERE

Additional Race – Spine Challenger

The Montane 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.

  • RACE WEBSITE available HERE
  • Follow on Twitter @thespinerace

About Montane


For over 18 years now Montane® has worked closely with serious mountain professionals working in hostile conditions across the globe as a proving ground for garment design. From the British Antarctic Survey to Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue, the busiest Mountain Rescue team in the UK. Professionals who demand tough credentials from their clothing equipment choose Montane®.

3 thoughts on “The Spine sponsored by Montane – Britain’s most brutal race

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