Friday 11 September 2015

The Spine Challenger blog 1

The story so far.
As a number of you may or may not know, along with doing a fair amount of fellrunning and a job in physiotherapy, I'm also a member of Glossop Mountain Rescue Team. A group of volunteers who are a part of the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation, and Mountain Rescue England and Wales as a national organisation. 
In January last year, one of the guys from one of the local teams did the Spine Challenger race, that's the Pennine way from Edale to Hawes, nonstop in January. That's about 108 miles, and is the smaller brother of the Spine race, which is a nonstop continuous race along the entire Pennine way, from Edale to Kirk Yetholm.
This guy apparently had a great idea of potentially running a Mountain Rescue Spine Challenger type race, alongside the actual race, while the teams helped provide safety cover for everyone. He approached the organisers, they loved the idea, and so an invitation was sent out to teams, saying would you like to run one of the longest, coldest and gnarliest races in Britain, and in the meantime, if you can get sponsored for it, that'll go to Mountain rescue as well. 
(thats the version of events that I think I heard, it might not be 100% correct, but its what I remember... apologies if its wrong, let me know and I'll amend it).

So being me, I thought, its not everyday you get an invitation like that, I'll put my name in the hat and see if it gets drawn out, there are only limited places. 
Its the kind of thing I might get around to, but generally I prefer fell races where the entry fee is little more than a fiver, and you get tea and cake at the end. The Spine Challenger is a slightly different prospect, and harkens back to the days when I used to enter 24hour adventure races with a mate just because it got us out of London. 

So today I have found out that my entry has been processed and I am in, along with a couple of other guys from Glossop MRT. No idea about others teams, but I'm sure I'll find out in due course. 
At the moment I have a fair amount of experience of slightly longer distance than average, but I'm certainly not what you would call an out and out Ultra distance guy. I also have a few races in the calendar between now and January that need to not only be run, but raced... (fell relays, snowdonia marathon, need to get a decent park run for the club champs etc)  So although I'm going to be concentrating a fair amount on training for the Spine, I need to keep the speed up, hill pace good, and generally, not just long plodding fit... 
Added to that, I might know the Pennine way from Edale to Marsden pretty well, having run the Trigger a few times, and generally bashed about hereabouts for 4years, but thats the bit I'm going to be running in the daylight. I don't think I've ever walked any of the Pennine way north of Marsden. This might be an issue I need to rectify. 

Other than that, looking at the rather comprehensive kitlist, I think I have most of it, but am still going to see if I can beg or borrow (or, worst case, buy) some specific, and maybe lighter kit for the actual race. 

I have no idea if there is anyone interested in this, but I thought I might do a short series of blogs leading up to the race, it is, after all, only 4months away, detailing a bit on training, kit and such like. Even if others don't want to read it, it will serve as an interesting diary to look back on. 

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