Here is a list of items I took with me on The Spine Race which may help competitors taking part next year. The weather this year started with rain, followed by a blizzard then snow together with high winds. Not once did my body feel cold and I get cold very easily, even my hands which can turn white when cold for too long were absolutely perfect.
The kit for a race like this is very expensive and I certainly realise how lucky I am having sponsors who supplied me with most of my kit. I would suggest starting to buy your race gear as soon as you have entered the race, spreading the cost. All the kit I need to purchase I get from Likeys
This is one race that you can’t afford to skimp on. I had all the compulsory kit plus a couple of extra mid-layer tops and thankfully started with my waterproof gloves in my pack. Total weight for my pack was just over 9km but don’t get hung-up on the weight, it is what it is you WILL need all the kit – the Pennine Way in the winter is a dangerous place, weather conditions can change in a matter of moments.
I STARTED THE RACE WEARING:
X-Bionic Running pants,
X-Bionic Energy Accumulator base layer top
X-Bionic Energizer Sports Bra
RAB – Vidda jacket (pink of course)
X-Bionic Soma Cap (Pink!)
Marmot – Power Stretch Gloves.
Polar Buff (pink)
Hoka One One Mafate 3
Within about half an hour of the race starting I put on my Montane Waterproof trousers and waterproof gloves (make unknown)
Backpack – INOV-8 32L with the front pouch.
This was perfect and fitted everything I needed. The front pouch sits flat against the body so an ideal addition for maps (in map case), GPS and food.
Usually in a race I use bottles, BUT for the Spine I used a 2L camelbak with an insulated hose – perfect. I also had a 800ml water-bottle for emergencies.
INSIDE MY PACK
1 x Sleeping Bag Marmot Plasma
Marmot Alpinist Bivy
Mat – Thermorest
Montane Waterproof trousers
X-Bionic Spherewind jacket
Mid-layer – X-Bionic Symframe Evo (Pink)
knife – Victorinox Classic (pink)
MSR Micro Rocket Stove plus 1 gas cylinder (2nd one in drop bag)
MSR Titan Kettle
Little flashing light on the back of my pack
Food for 2 days,
First Aid kit, electrolytes (Elete)
Silva Expedition 4 Compass
Petzl Myo RXP headtorch – plus a small one for emergencies
Sunwise Sunglasses – SuperGrass White
GPS – Garmin 62S – easy to use & very robust. The battery life was 20 hrs, but in cold conditions it didn’t last this long.
Poles – Leki Micro Vario Carbon
Spare pair of socks & waterproof gloves
A cheap, lightweight pay as you go phone.
ITEMS IN MY DROP BAG:
Everything in the drop bag was packed up into separate bags i.e. tops in one, socks in another etc. This made it much easier when arriving at a CP trying to find things.
2 x pairs of X-Bionic long running pants
1 x Marmot Power Stretch Pants
3 x crop tops
5 pairs of underwear
1 x X-Bionic Energy Accumulator base layer top
2 x Accumulator EVO base layer tops with cushioned shoulders
1 x Under Armour base layer
2 x Beaver Shirt (X-Bionic) Midlayer
1 x Montane Prism Jacket – Lightweight insulating midlayer
8 x pairs of socks – Wigwam
4 x Polar Buffs
Gloves – 3 x waterproof (they had a thermal lining in them)
2 x thin thermal gloves
2 x powerstretch gloves
Sealskin waterproof cap
Mammut Arctic soft shell hat – gortex and windproof
1 x X-Bionic balaclava
1 x Stinson Evo Hoka One One
Terra Nova Tent (never used)
Sleeping bag for inside CPs
Loads of food, Batteries, Wash-kit, travel towel, extra medical kit, Nordic Oil capsuals Maps (except the one I was using)
Waterproof bag for dirty items.
My pack felt very comfortable to run with no bouncing of chafing and the weight wasn’t an issue. My Hokas were fantastic, even in the mud but were useless on the icy slabs (to be honest the only trainers that seemed to be good were the ones with spikes) I found putting on my spikes helped.
WHAT WOULD I CHANGE
I was delighted with my kit, it worked perfectly keeping me warm and dry. I carried extra mid-layer tops in my pack incase the weather was to get worse – my father always taught me to be prepared for any eventuality.
Although I had a tent in my drop bag next time I don’t think I would bother – going from CP to CP works well for me as I can cope without much sleep.
I would take a couple of pairs of Yaktraks as well as my Spikes. These would have been invaluable to have worn from the start to prevent me slipping on the icy slabs and finally I would take a one man Bothy bag which could have been used if I had needed to sort myself out up on the hill protection me against the elements while.
Have a routine for arriving at the CP’s otherwise you will waste a huge amount of time faffing around when you could be sleeping or eating. Have a plan for the race, even if it’s only a rough one as this will help your motivation to get going again when it’s warm inside and cold. wet and windy outside!
My routine was:
Arrive, give your name and number, eat, sort kit for next stage, sleep, eat, make sure someone knows you are leaving – leave.
I hope you find this useful and if anyone would like some help or advice please don’t hesitate to get in contact.