Rob’s back on the Spine


Saltwell’s ultra-specialist Rob Brooks returned to the Spine Race this year, after his epic successful completion in 2022.

You can read the full story about the highs and lows of Rob’s 2023 adventure along the Pennine Way on his own blog:

Spine Race 2023 – The Three Geordigos

Here’s a short extract to whet your appetite:

When it’s the middle of the night and you’re being battered by the elements, your body is being battered and aching and all you have to look forward to is another 4/5/6 days of the same then you better have a good “why”.

The Spine race is badged as “Britain’s most brutal”. It’s certainly a tough race, the toughest I’ve done and although there’s lots of trudging through boggy fields & open featureless moorland, long dark nights, inhospitable weather, extreme tiredness, sleep deprivation and soreness.

But it’s not all like that all of the time.

There’s long periods of solitude to think about all the things you don’t have the time to think about during everyday busy life

There’s stunning sunrises and sunsets, beautiful starry skies, vast mountain vistas and stunning unspoilt scenery.

There’s the sense of achievement in pushing through some really dark times and coming out of the other side feeling invincible.

There’s the random people who invite you into their houses and feed you, and who come out on the trail call you by name and feed you jelly babies.

There’s the knowledge that no matter how bad the conditions get you have the skills and mentality to get through it.

There’s pushing for hours on end during the night and then be greeted by the first light of day.

There’s feeling like utter crap, sleeping for 10 minutes in the middle of a gold course on the ground in snow when it’s -5 degrees then waking up and feeling like a million dollars.

There’s the friendships, deep connections and shared experiences formed out on the trail which last a lifetime.

No other race I’ve been involved in comes close to replicating this– it’s the Spine bubble, the Spine family. It’s the reason people come back year after both as competitors and as volunteers.

That is my “why”.