A non-stop, 160 mile Mountain Rescue Team race along the Pennine Way
New to the Montane Summer Spine Races for 2024 will be the MRT Challenge North. A special edition of the Montane Spine Challenger South and North has been created exclusively for active Mountain Rescue members. It provides the MRT an event where team members can compete against each other along the Pennine Way. The creation of the race allows serving members to have their own race and receive a subsidised entry (to cover costs for food and tracker hire) and in return a number of MRT provide vehicles and crew along the race route. Read more about the partnership between the MRT and the Spine Race here.
The MRT Challenge North follows the same 160 mile route and races under the same conditions as the Challenger North. Beginning from Hardraw in North Yorkshire, competitors have a time limit of 90 hours to get to the finish line at Kirk Yetholm. The trail crosses some of the most beautiful and difficult terrains in Britain including; the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland National Park, Hadrian’s Wall, and the Cheviots; finishing at the Scottish Borders. This race is open to those who wish to test themselves and compete in a truly demanding race.
- Start: Hardraw, North Yorkshire, UK
- Start Time: 08:00 June 17th 2024
- Distance: 160 miles
- Time Limit: 90 hours
- Finish: Kirk Yetholm, Scottish Borders
- Finish Time: 02:00 June 21st 2024
- Daytime Temperature: 5°C / 25°C
- Night-time Temperature: 0°C / 10°C
- Total Ascent: 5,290 metres
- Total Descent: 5,591 metres
- Daylight Hours in June: 19 hours
- Places Available: 25
Get your Race Information Pack
Find out everything you need to know about The Montane Summer Spine MRT Challenge North by downloading our free race information pack. It includes all the details about the route, checkpoints and some tips from the experts.
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My advice to anyone considering the Summer Spine is to get out there and hike. It's big days on your feet. I think my 'skip' has become a patterned approach to taking on the challenge!
There's a respect for this course. You can't compare it to anything because of the non stop aspect. You get to have a 30 minute kip on Hadrian's Wall! I really wanted to test myself and that's what the Spine Race does.
It's got the name "Britain's Most Brutal" and it absolutely is! But it's the volunteers that make this race work. It's an amazing Spine family and that's the reason why everyone keeps coming back.
This isn’t a beginner friendly race. We want you to be safe out there and experience of similar challenges will make you safer, but Mountain Leaders, Winter Mountain Leaders and Mountain Rescue Team members will likely all have the experience necessary, too.
Firstly, you must be aged 21 years or over at the time of the race.
If you have run an ultra over 60 miles, or have previously completed The Montane Challenger South or The Montane Spine, then this will qualify you for the race.
If you don’t meet these criteria, your experience can be drawn from various sources and is not limited to ultra or multi-stage events. Mountain marathons, adventure races, orienteering events, fell races, expeditions or challenges like the Bob Graham Round or similar are are looked on favourably. Long distance walking is also extremely beneficial and you may find yourself doing a lot of this! The more a challenge features mountainous terrain, cold, moorland and elements of navigation the better.
We are also very happy to advise those who feel they don’t yet have the experience level required, on what races, challenges or experiences they could do to gain entry.
SUMMER SPINE CHALLENGER NORTH RACE RULE UPDATE:
As the Montane Spine Race continues to evolve, we regularly monitor and review race rules and regulations.
When developing the Challenger North we employed the cut offs used in the full spine as a starting point for the inaugural event. After an analysis of the race this year we find that those in the Challenger North are understandably fresher, so making them quicker, hence the change.
After careful consideration, the summer 2024 cut-offs have been reduced by six hours and the race time limit will be 90 hours. The cut off times will be as follows:
Checkpoint 1: 18 hours
Checkpoint 2: 44 hours
Checkpoint 3: 70 hours
Checkpoint 3.5: 76 hours
Finish: 90 hours
To put these timings into context, the new cut-offs would have impacted on just Seven athletes at the finish line (No one was affected at any of the main CPs and the five over the cut-off at the 3.5 monitoring station were all within about 30 minutes). At the finish, two were only 9 minutes over, five between three and four hours. 82% of participants finished. The new cut-offs would reduce this to 61% which is in line with the Challenger South and full Spine.
These are not changes we have made lightly but feel the new times present an appropriate challenge and one we will continue to monitor.
We would always recommend that every runner purchases appropriate insurance to cover your participation in a Montane Spine event and the costs of your entry fee, should you not be able to take part.
The race has enormous infrastructure costs, most of which are fixed and committed up to twelve months in advance, which unfortunately prevents the option of a full refund. We want to be as fair as possible though, so while your entry fee includes a non-refundable deposit, if you notify us 100 days before the race, you will get a partial refund. Please read the T&Cs before you make your payment.
At each of the check points (Middleton-in-Teesdale, Alston and Bellingham) Spiners are offered hot meals (both a dinner-type meal, such as pasta, as well as porridge), hot drinks, somewhere to sleep (we recommend ear plugs and sleeping masks), toilets, showers (Alston and Bellingham), medical staff, weather updates, race information and ample encouragement from friendly, helpful volunteers.
The Spine races are unsupported events. But you are welcome to utilise cafes and pubs along the route for sustenance and shelter. There’s some history of Spiners being offered sustenance by locals, which is a nice touch and very difficult to police, so we deem that to be fine. What’s not okay though is pacing, receiving planned support or having a private support vehicle follow your progress.
The total cost for The Montane Summer Spine MRT Challenge North is £95.
To secure your place, you will need to make your payment of £95 on entry. This includes a non refundable deposit of £40.
Payments can be made online via your debit or credit card.
To secure your place in the race, you will need to make your payment of £95 on entry. This includes a non refundable deposit of £40.
You can use your debit or credit card to make your payments online. Stripe Payments handles the steps between you providing your card information and learning that the payment has been accepted. Some of the world’s largest companies, including Amazon and Shopify, use Stripe.
Payment on entry
Pay £95 to secure your place.