The general manager of the Hotel Cristina, Steve Hayes, has recently completed the Spine Race, a 268-mile, non-stop, 7-day winter marathon across the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales in England.
The event, which took place between the 11th and 18th of January, is regarded as one of the toughest physical endurance challenges in Britain, with only a third of the 80 competitors finishing the race in 2014. Mr Hayes completed the ultra-marathon in 155 hours and 45 minutes, finishing in 17th place.
Mr Hayes was also commended for his bravery and compassion after helping an injured competitor to descend a mountain four miles from the finish line. He carried the runner’s rucksack and called for medical assistance when the person became dangerously hypothermic. This, along with his persistence to finish the race against all odds, led to Mr Hayes receiving the Cognitive Fitness Award 2014 in recognition of his flexibility, resilience, mental toughness, sense of humour and self-management.
The Spine Race encompasses the entire Pennine Way, producing some of the most demanding terrain and severe weather conditions in Northern Europe. The course spans across the Peak District, Cheviots, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park – finishing on the Scottish boarders.
During the race, Mr Hayes had to endure extreme fatigue, sleep deprivation, illness and freezing weather conditions as he battled to survive. He explained:
‘It was incredibly tough out there. The weather was appalling – at one point my eyes had frozen shut, my water bottle froze and my Mars bar had turned to solid ice. The main challenge was sleep deprivation, especially on day two which took around 28 hours of constant walking and running. I hallucinated many times and fell asleep whilst walking.’
There were many other challenges along the course, including severe waterlogging, illness, blistered feet and trench foot. There were a number of difficult mountains to climb, with the highest point reaching 893 metres. The competitors also had to scale a 60-metre waterfall, the Cauldron Snout on the River Tees.
‘The ground we were covering was extremely muddy and on several occasions I was waist deep in a bog, with one particular section taking over an hour to cover 400 metres. Each day I suffered quite bad trench foot and was constantly fighting a painful left knee that needed regular medical attention at the checkpoints. I also developed a nasty chest infection, which led to me losing my voice on day four. The medics put me on drugs and antibiotics to fight the pain and infection, allowing me to carry on and complete the race,’ said Mr Hayes.
The Spine Race follows a number of other challenges that Mr Hayes has accomplished in recent years. In October 2012, he completed the English Channel Swim Challenge in 17 hours and 47 minutes. The encounter involved a 21-mile swim from Dover to Callais and raised over £4,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. He plans to take part in more local events, including Round the Rock and the Jersey Marathon in 2014 and hopes to compete in further international challenges in the future such as the Deca Ironman and the Race across America.
Mr Hayes is hosting a charity event at the St Helier Yacht Club from 18:30 on Monday 10th March in aid of the Grace Crocker Family Support Foundation. He will be talking more about his background and recent adventures, including a detailed account of his experiences during the Spine Race. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased by emailing Mr Hayes directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are priced at £10 and food and drinks will be available for purchase following the talk.