General information on the Spine Challenger including dates, costs, application guidance and entry criteria.
The MONTANE® Spine Challenger is a non-stop, 108 mile race between Edale and Hawes with a time limit of 60hrs. This challenging and extremely technical section of the Pennine Way is a physically and psychologically demanding route that demands concentration, good physical fitness, resolve and respect. The MONTANE® Spine Challenger is a notoriously difficult event in its own right and should be considered as having a similar degree of difficulty as the longer MONTANE® Spine Race.
From appearances alone 60 hours looks like ample time to 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 in icy conditions, weather systems, navigation, available daylight and self-management.
In the 4 previous editions of the race competitors have faced storm force winds, snow, extreme ice, bogs, fog, hail, mud and almost anything else you can think of!
The race is scheduled to start on the 9 Jan 2016 at the start of the Pennine Way in the town of Edale in the Peak District. The race is scheduled to finish on the 11 Jan 2016 in the town of Hawes, set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.
There will be a pre-race brief on 8 Jan 2016, including a mandatory equipment check. This information will be contained in an Event Brief, which is sent to all registered athletes prior to the race.
Entry in the 2016 MONTANE® Spine Challenger costs £325.
The event is tough. Very tough at times. Included as part of your entry you will receive accommodation, food at all checkpoints, baggage transfer (1x20kg drop bag to CP1 & 2), GPS Tracking device, medical support, on-course support and when possible/ required course evacuation.
For 2016 we have a number of improvements planned for the MONTANE® Spine Challenger, to make your experience even better. Including an extra finish venue.
There are 2 main checkpoints (CPs) along the route where hot food, drinks, snacks, medical attention and resupply are available. In the Challenger the 2nd of these is the finish. In addition to these we also utilise a series of smaller stopping points available such as Malham Tarn and the Pen y Ghent Cafe in Horton in Ribblesdale . These additional venues were used during the 2015 events.
The event can be a lonely one if you wish or can be completed in the company of others. You may go for long periods without seeing anyone, due to the remote nature of the route or challenging weather. The race has been designed to have a more expedition approach, in that you carry what you need and you face what comes your way.
This event runs 24/7 to provide maximum flexibility to those competing.
Our online entry system allows you to apply to compete in either the 2016 MONTANE® Spine Race or Spine Challenger. All applications are reviewed on a first come first served basis and you will be informed of your success within approximately 48hrs (during weekdays) if you are deemed suitable for a place on one of the race rosters. In some cases additional information may be requested by a member of the Spine Team.
The first stage is to register your interest. Apply using the form, completing all of the required fields as best as you can. You will receive a username and password for our online entry system. You do not need to pay a registration fee at this stage. Please complete your application by submitting it to us.
If you are selected for an event, or we require additional information we will contact you via email.
If you receive an offer of a place: To confirm your entry the full entry fee for your chosen event must be paid within 14 days. Failure to do this will result in your place being forfeited. This can be paid via bank transfer, online or a card transaction over the phone.
We will email instructions on how to pay your race fees.
As part of your entry fee there is a non-refundable deposit which is applied to all successful entrants, please consider this prior to entering as once this is paid it is non-refundable, and make sure you read all of the documentation including the Terms and Conditions.
As part of your application for the MONTANE® Spine Race or Spine Challenger, you must provide us with information detailing your skills and experience. This helps us determine your suitability for the event. This experience can be drawn from various sources and is not just limited to competing in ultra or multi-day events. Have a look at some of the examples and see if you relate to any of these categories.
The race draws on many skills and is advantageous to be skilled in a number of areas related to outdoor activity in fell/ mountainous terrain.
Have you previously competed in the MONTANE® Spine Race or Spine Challenger? You know what to expect and are coming back for more! Please indicate this on your entry form.
Ultras, Multiday, Adventure Races, Fell Races, Expeditions or Challenges like the BGR, Ramsay Round are always looked on favourably. It goes without saying that the more relevant these are the better: Fellsman, Hardmoors 110, Lakeland 100, UTMB, Tor des Geants, Goldsteig, YAU etc. The more a challenge features mountainous/ fell terrain, cold, moorland and elements of navigation the better.
Long distance walking is also extremely beneficial and you may find yourself doing a lot of this!
Skilled navigator? Have you competed in orienteering events? The route is waymarked as it is a National Trail, but not to the point where you can forget about navigation. Many skilled navigators have made errors on this route. Especially in bad weather or whilst racing at night. The trail may also be difficult to see in sections. Solid navigation skills are very important.
Mountain Leaders, Winter Mountain Leaders, Mountain Rescue Team Members, Mountaineers, Active and Former Armed Forces Personnel have solid skills, fitness and can certainly look after themselves in these environments.
These are just some examples of what we look for in an applicant. If you feel you have skills or experience not mentioned in the above examples, please include this as part of your application.
Please ensure you read all of the information contained within the race documentation prior to entering, and especially before paying any fees.