Debbie Martin-Consani with Jon Hall during the 2020 Montane Spine Race on the section between Edale and Hebden Bridge. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Debbie Martin-Consani with Jon Hall during the 2020 Montane Spine Race on the section between Edale and Hebden Bridge. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Runners who fancy a sprint with a difference are being offered a new challenge event along part of the Pennine Way.

But they will need plenty of stamina as the new Spine Sprint involves traversing 43 miles of the national trail.

Organisers of the challenge describe the race as an ‘entry-level’ event.

The route of the June race runs from the southern terminus of the Pennine Way, Edale, to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire.

Organisers have also announced the launch of a new winter race, the Spine Challenger North, following the national trail from Hawes in North Yorkshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.

The Spine Sprint will take place on the same day as two other stable-mate events, the Summer Spine Race and the Summer Spine Challenger both of which also start at Edale. The former involves completing the full 268-mile length of the Pennine Way, while the Challenger is a 108-mile event along the southern stretch of the trail, from its Derbyshire start to Hardraw near Hawes.

All the races are sponsored by outdoor brand Montane.

The Sprint event must be completed in 18 hours and competitors should have good physical fitness and resolve. There are no checkpoints on the route, but there will be welfare checks at road crossings, and runners will carry GPS trackers with an emergency button. Entry fee is £100.

The three Montane Spine summer races will start on Saturday 19 June.

The full Montane Spine Race which was due to run early in 2021 had to be cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions and a virtual race was staged for competitors.

Race director Phil Hayday-Brown said: “The massive support we saw for the virtual race in January convinced us that there is a place for a Spine event that caters to those who are ready and eager for a taste of the Spine but need to work their way up to the ‘big’ race’.”

Though a shorter race, runners will still need to be self-sufficient, and the organisers said it will still be a serious test of endurance with no more hand-holding for ‘sprinters’ than there is for starters in the full race.

“It’s a shorter event but it’s still the Pennine Way,” said Hayday-Brown, “so it’s still physically and psychologically demanding and requires a good level of physical fitness, and resolve.”

A winter version of the Spine Sprint is planned for January 2022.

Organisers of the Montane Spine events also plan a complementary run to the Spine Challenger, the Spine Challenger North, along the northernmost section of the Pennine Way. The race will take place over the 160 miles of the trail between Hawes and Kirk Yetholm.

The four winter events will start on Saturday 8 January 2022.

Details of all the races are on the Montane Spine Race website.

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