Founder Q&A: Arctic Spine Race

Not sure what to expect from our new ultra this year? We catch up with race founder Phil Hayday Brown to learn more about the Arctic Spine Race, a non-stop foot race based in the Swedish wilderness this winter…

We are thrilled to be supporting the Arctic Spine Race this year, a new non-stop foot race brought to you by the founders of the iconic Winter Spine Race. Located in Northern Sweden,  racers will tackle below-zero temperatures and remote arctic terrain, taking on a truly authentic winter expedition.

Eager to find out more about what the Arctic Spine Race will involve, we caught up with race founder Phil Hay Day Brown to learn more…Montane Arctic Spine Race

Where did the idea for the Arctic Spine come from?

I am the co-founder and race director of the Spine race. I set up the UK Spine Race back in 2011, with the first race delivered in 2012. I come from a polar background having raced to the South Pole myself and guided people to the North Pole. I also helped organise a race to the magnetic North Pole for many years. The Arctic Spine will be like returning to my polar days and has been a long ambition of mine. I can’t wait to take the Spine race to the Arctic!

For me, I love the adventure that these events provide. There are a lot of ultras out there that give you the running a long-distance experience, but the Spine does things a little differently. We give you that expedition adventure feel to it.

Why is Sweden the ultimate Arctic adventure location?

The Kungsleden (also known as The King’s Trail) is a national trail, very like the Pennine Way. It has a lot of similarities, such as the distance and being a linear course. This 293-mile trail takes in Sweden’s highest mountains and lies above the Arctic Circle. Its northern location therefore promises to provide participants with a true winter expedition experience and some of the most stunning winter landscapes in the world. 

The vastness of the terrain, and remoteness, is truly epic here. Participants will enjoy many amazing vistas along the way and traverse a variety of landscapes, from frozen lakes and woodlands to Arctic tundra and mountains.

Montane arctic spine race

What can racers expect?

This will be like no other cold weather race. Most if not all of the cold races out there are on roads or good firm trails. This race will be on unbeaten trails, sometimes through deep powder snow, as well as over frozen lakes. Navigation will be tough at times, but there are good signs to follow. It is likely participants could experience temperatures as low as -35 and as high as -5, normally averaging around -20 degrees Celsius. Participants will have 8 days to complete this challenge. 

Montane Arctic Spine Race

Do you have any advice for someone considering signing up?

A good understanding of the cold is needed to join this race. How to deal with extreme cold will be a must, not only being able to survive in it but to perform in it. Outdoor expedition skills will also be a must, which includes good camp craft, as well as good navigation skills. On the Arctic Spine, they will need the ability to keep going, so this is where the ultra-running experience will come in handy. Racers will be traveling for around 40 - 50 miles a day, so will need to be comfortable completing this level of mileage.

Keep up with the Arctic action

Can’t wait to find out more? Head over to our official Arctic Winter Spine event hub.

Montane Arctic Spine Race