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Copyright Racing Snakes

Britain's most brutal race is back!

by Press Release
Monday 9th January 2017
Tags  MONTANE Spine Race   |   The Spine   |   Montane Spine   |   Spine Race
 
 
One of the toughest ultra races in Europe is set to take place along the entirety of the Pennine Way 14th - 22nd January 2017. The non-stop, 268 mile Montane® Spine Race, will see competitors race in unrelenting winter conditions whilst overcoming challenges from severe fatigue and all the physical demands that accompany a race in these conditions. 
 
The Montane® Spine Race is a collection of three savage ultra races:
  • The Montane® Spine Race – the original 268 mile race from Edale to Kirk Yetholm
  • The Montane® Spine Challenger – shorter and faster than the Spine Race at 108 miles, but no less brutal.
  • The Montane® Spine MRT Challenge – the same as the Spine Challenger but specifically for Mountain Rescue personnel from England, Wales and the Scottish Borders, who will be raising funds for their respective teams
This year will see 260 heroic competitors line up at the start of the three races.  The inaugural Spine Race first took place in 2012 with only 11 entrants, of which 3 ultimately crossed the finish line. Since then, the race’s notorious brutality attracts competitors from around the world and has propelled further and further into the spotlight, attracting new racers each year who seek the next scalp on their endurance race hitlist. 
 
At the helm of the Montane® Spine ship stand are race directors Scott Gilmour and Phil Hayday-Brown who have been the energetic driving force from the beginning:
 
“The Montane® Spine Race was born out of a desire to test not just ultra racing skills, but expedition skills. We watched as the ultra-distance race trend grew and grew and wanted to take that challenge to a whole different level, so we took an iconic trail route, added the usual demands of non-stop ultra distance racing and set it in winter to give it real ferocity and bite. We knew that it would attract a much more hardcore type of athlete – those who are tough, self-sufficient, mentally resilient and able to function on limited sleep, who are physically at the top of their game and able to grapple with the full intensity of British winter. All the usual rules go out of the window and it comes down to survival. The Montane® Spine Race is unique.”
 
Gilmour and Hayday-Brown are meticulous in their planning of each year’s offerings, from establishing warm, welcoming check points along the 268 mile route to keeping continuous tabs on all competitors via GPS trackers, ensuring their safety and coordinating with Mountain Rescue and medical teams in case of emergencies. A set of stringent entry criteria also helps to prevent serious incidents by ensuring athletes do not enter ‘on a whim’ and are fully cognisant of the enormity of the undertaking. 
 
Even with the abundant pitfalls and dangers placed at their feet (quite literally in many cases) a knot of super hardcore runners come back time and time again to participate. Czech Pavel Paloncy is one such competitor, having completed the Montane® Spine Race in 2014, 2015 and 2016, winning in both 2014 and 2015 and narrowly missing out to Ireland’s Eoin Keith in 2016 (who is also the current Montane® Spine Race record holder). Paloncy is on the race rosters for 2017. As is Keith. We are expecting fireworks.
 
The Montane® Spine Race is referred to as Britain’s most brutal race as competitors are allowed seven days to travel the 268-mile Pennine Way from Edale to Kirk Yetholm (that's just over 38 miles per day). The Pennine Way is one of the most demanding National Trails in Britain, and certainly the most iconic. The trail crosses some of the most beautiful and at times difficult terrain found in England, including; the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland National Park, Hadrian’s Wall and the Cheviots; finishing at the Scottish Borders.
 
Along the route are five checkpoints, providing hot meals, medical support and a place to sleep, but athletes are still required to carry a lengthy list of compulsory items such as a tent or bivi bag, a stove, and two days of rations, all of which tends to weigh 5-10kg. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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