Sunday, 10 January 2016


I just got home from the Spine Race after dropping out just a few miles from the start.

I had thought about the race all last year. I got as much information as I could, read all the blogs, tested all my kit and reccied 80% of the course, often in pretty testing conditions. I enjoyed all this and was looking forward to the race.

On the day of the start, I didn't have the same anticipation of an adventure about to start that I usually do with a big event. The weather was benign by Spine standards; a bit of rain to start then two or three hours of dry, later a couple of hours with heavy rain showers and a chill but not excessive wind. The ground underfoot was quite testing, lots of boggy ground and mud which made uncertain sliding a constant threat and going downhill over pasture land tricky enough, but again, the regulars get this every year and I knew what I was getting into.

Once we got started I progressed well enough. I kept a pace that I was comfortable with, ate and drank plenty, and stayed warm and dry. I didn't make any navigational errors and eventually wound up at the first checkpoint at Hebden Bridge, 45 miles from the start, in seventeen and a half hours  -  a couple of hours slower than I would have guessed probably due to slow careful progress on the muddy downhills but certainly good enough to be comfortable for the exit cutoff of 24 hours. I checked in, had a shower and cleaned up my feet, no blisters or other significant damage, tea and a big bowl of chilli then slept for a couple of hours or so.

Half way through repacking my bag for the next leg, a sudden realisation hit me hard. I was doing this and I was doing ok but I just wasn't enjoying it.  I was going to go on not enjoying it for the next six days and I didn't want the end result badly enough for that. My head simply wasn't in the right place.

So I stopped. I won't go again.

Just before the M62 crossing


Chris said...

A good honest post. I hope you feel able to write more on the background to your decision.

Unknown said...

In 2015 and only doing the Challenger. Felt exactly the same. Rang my Dad, got him to pick me up at the M62 and quit. Didn't enjoy it and no desire to repeat BUT would love to have done the same event in Summertime.