Athletes prepare for largest Montane Summer Spine Race ever

Hundreds of runners from across the globe are making final preparations as they look to take on the 12th edition of the Montane Summer Spine Race this weekend, starting on 15th June, in what is set to be the largest in the race’s history.

The event returns this year with a record-breaking field of runners signed up for the main event, all hoping to emulate last year’s winner, Dave Phillips, in claiming victory. The non-stop race spans 268 miles, from Edale to Kirk Yetholm, which will see participants navigate the Pennine Way, battling changeable weather conditions, sleep deprivation, and challenging terrain all within a maximum time limit of 156 hours.

Alongside the main race, runners can tackle the Montane Summer Spine Challenger North and Montane Summer Spine Challenger South races, which split the main 268-mile course into two 160 and 108-mile races respectively, as well as the Montane Summer Spine Sprint, a shorter, 46-mile race.

The Montane Summer Spine MRT Challenge South also returns this year and is joined by the inaugural Montane Summer Spine MRT Challenge North in forming separate events which follow the same route as those of the Montane Summer Spine Challenger South and Montane Summer Spine Challenger North races, but are exclusively open to active members of the Mountain Rescue teams. These races provide a platform for the rescue teams to draw attention to and raise funds for their respective charities.

All runners will be self-sufficient, carrying their own provisions throughout the race. Amongst them will be Team Montane athlete, Jon Shield, who is the reigning Montane Summer Spine Challenger South champion and previous Montane Winter Spine Sprint record holder, who is set to take part in the full Montane Summer Spine race this year. Elsewhere, rocket scientist and Spine Race regular Robert (Bobby) Cullen will again take up the challenging course – a runner who has likely covered more miles of the Pennine Way during Spine Race events across the years than any other. This year, Cullen will take part in the Montane Summer Spine Sprint before heading back down to do the full Montane Summer Spine race the next day. 2024 will also see ultrarunner Mel Skyes and author Allie Bailey take part in the Montane Summer Spine Challenger South, as well as seeing race veterans Alan Cormack and Raj Mahapatra return for another year.

Speaking ahead of the event, Montane’s Marketing Director, Matthew Hickman, said: “The Montane Summer Spine event gets bigger and bigger each year and we will welcome the largest ever field of hopeful athletes for the main race this weekend. After the hugely successful showing from last year’s event, we are set for a blockbuster week as the latest group of runners seek to break boundaries and write themselves into Montane Spine folklore.”

Race Director Phil Hayday-Brown said: “We see people coming back to the race again and again, looking to push themselves to the limit of what is possible and earn that medal. From the exciting roster of entrants and race veterans, it looks as though this year will be no different.

We’re also proud to extend our MRT race offerings with the introduction of the inaugural Montane Summer Spine MRT Challenge North, which complements the established Montane Summer Spine MRT Challenge South. These events offer a platform for our hugely respected Mountain Rescue Teams to shine while raising awareness of their charities to help fund the amazing work they do on a daily basis”.

The Montane Summer Spine event will commence on 15th June with the Challenger South, the MRT Challenge South, and the Sprint, followed on the 16th by the main event, the Spine, before the 17th sees competitors of the Challenger North and the MRT Challenge North set off.

The Montane Summer Spine event concludes the Montane Spine Series for 2024, following on from this year’s record-breaking Montane Winter Spine Race and inaugural Montane Arctic Spine Race, which were won by Jack Scott and Kev Leahy, respectively.

Follow along and get race update via The Montane Spine FacebookInstagram x, and YouTube. More information can be found here.

Header image: Race Director Phil Hayday-Brown at the start line of the Montane Summer Spine Race. Credit: Will Robert

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button