The Challenge route passes along the Pennine Way through the Calder Valley team's area

The Challenge route passes along the Pennine Way through the Calder Valley team's area

Mountain rescue team members are being challenged to tackle a gruelling Pennine race in the depths of winter.

Organisers of The Spine, the annual January race along the backbone of England, have set up a special event for rescuers.

The Montane Spine Mountain Rescue Challenge will follow the route of the shorter Spine Challenger, a mere 174km (108 miles), run over three days.

Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team is among the first to declare its team members will take part. The race route, which starts in Edale in the Peak District and ends in Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales, runs through a large section of the team’ patch in the South Pennines.

Calder Valley volunteers Steve Westwood, Alistair Morris, Howard Barton, Bob Keeler and Tim Ingram will compete for the trophy against colleagues from teams with links to the Pennine Way, the 431km (268-mile) race course for The Spine full race.

The team, based in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, is using the challenge as a fundraiser, with a target of bringing in £2,500.

The Spine, dubbed Britain’s most brutal race, starts in Edale on 9 January and the first competitors are expected at Kirk Yetholm up to seven days later, depending on weather and conditions.

Czech runner Pavel Paloncy won the 2015 race, with Cork-based Eoin Keith taking second place. The racers were held at checkpoints at times as high winds and severe weather made progress too dangerous.

Surrey-based runner Edward Catmur won The Challenger race, which follows the same route along the Pennine Way as far as Hawes.

More details are on The Spine website.

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