#148 – Here we go again! The Spine Race 2014

Photograph © John Bamber

Photograph © John Bamber

It’s that time of year again.  Time for the ‘Spine Race’.  For those of you who don’t already know the ‘Spine Race’, it’s an epic seven-day event following the Pennine Way, the national trail that runs along the Pennine Hills, otherwise known as the ‘Backbone of England’.  In those seven days the athletes will have to cover 430 kms (268 miles) and ascend 11343 metres (37,215 ft).  They also have to carry enough kit to survive 24 hrs.

Most hikers take 2-3 weeks to cover this walk, and usually go in summer – the Spine athletes are setting off in a British winter, which may include anything from wet, muddy days to the full fury of an Atlantic-fuelled blizzard.  Along with several others, I’m on the support team, working to keep these athletes safe, but at the end of the day their safety may well depend on their own resources!

That’s why I don’t have a blog for you this week, but you may enjoy visiting these previous posts to get a flavour of the event.  See you in a couple of weeks with an update of this years race.

(See posts #61, #62, #114 and #141

Home for two days on the Spine Race – Greg’s Hut in the Northern Pennines (Photograph © John Bamber)

Home for two days on the Spine Race – Greg’s Hut in the Northern Pennines (Photograph © John Bamber)

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
This entry was posted in 3. Yorkshire Dales, 4. Northern England and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to #148 – Here we go again! The Spine Race 2014

  1. So why is it they don’t move it to summer? Seems to make more sense if you’re doing 30 odd plus miles per day?

    • The race sets out to be a unique challenge Carol, and the winter element is the cherry on the cake!!
      If it was a summer race, ordinary (AKA sensible) people like you and me might be tempted to try it 😉

      • I just thought maybe they were just hoping the mud would have frozen solid in winter! 😉

      • Yes, the mud did freeze last year – the problem then was runners slipping on icy stone slab paths. It seems that ideal conditions in winter just don’t exist!

      • or very rarely in Britain that’s for sure. I’ve just been out for a quick half-hour walk to try to get my chest freed-up a bit and I had thunder and lightning, hail, snow and rain!

  2. Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    It never surprises me what humans will do for fun!

    • Well, there are times on the race when it doesn’t seem too much like fun for those competing – I guess finishing must feel pretty good though 🙂

  3. lanceleuven says:

    Rather them than me! 😀

  4. daveq210 says:

    Keep up the good work! You have to be pretty loopy to want to do this race, but it takes someone just as loopy to go out there and make sure they are ok.

    • Cheers Dave, and sorry for the delay in replying – still sorting out gear!!
      The whole thing is loopy, but is now developing a bit of a cult status in the mysterious world of ultra-events.

  5. LensScaper says:

    I think one can safely conclude that the mud this year will be epic. Good luck Paul and Mist. Hope everyone survives the ordeal.

    • A very perceptive comment Andy – although conditions were milder than last time, it was the mud that contributed to the high rate of attrition this year.
      Having said that, there was a brief spell (12 hours?) when there were 2 metre snowdrifts on the way up Great Dun Fell – this is not an event for the faint hearted!

      • LensScaper says:

        Good to hear from you, Paul. Snow so far has been a rare event this winter. 2 metres of the stuff? That’s a snowfall!

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