I’m thinking of entering
How hard is the Peak District Challenge?
There are five levels of difficulty, to cater for all participants. You will need a basic level of fitness for all of the challenges, and the Silver and Gold challenges in particular should not be entered lightly. If entering the Silver and Gold challenges, you’ll start the event at 9pm, walking or running in darkness. For all five challenges you have the choice of self navigating, in which case you’ll be walking unaccompanied, met only at checkpoints, and covering a large distance. The 25-100kms route are NOT flagged, so a minimum level of navigational skill is required. For those without good navigational skills, we offer the option of joining a led group on the Copper, Bronze, or overnight leg of the Silver challenge (before completing the daytime leg of the Silver challenge in daylight).
Here are some comparisons with other challenges:
- 2km fun run – most reasonably healthy people could walk this in under an hour with little difficulty.
- 5km Park Run or Colour Run – You’ll need to train a little to run the whole way.
- Back Before Dark 10km Peak District Challenge – With some training you’ll run the whole way, but a healthy person will be able to walk 10km if you have to! Don’t walk too slowly though, otherwise you won’t be Back Before Dark.
- Tough Muddy obstacle courses. Typically 20km, 4 hours, with physical wet / icy / electrified obstacles.
- Peak District Challenge Copper route: 25km, 9 hours, 700m of ascent. You will need to maintain a steady, but not extremely fast walking pace throughout the day. We expect most reasonably fit people could manage this challenge in under this time, with a little perseverence, and you should have time for a break or two along the way.
- Yorkshire three peaks challenge – 39km, 12 hours, 1600m of ascent. The Yorkshire three peaks challenge can be completed by most reasonably fit and active people, but about 10% of those who attempt it do not complete it, and about a further 30% don’t achieve the 12 hour target.
- Peak District Challenge Bronze route. 50km, 12 hours, 1200m of ascent. You’ll need to maintain a fast walking pace for the entire 12 hours, and are not likely to have time for long breaks. A fit, regular hillwalker, who has walked 20miles / 30km or more in one go previously, is likely to complete this challenge with enough perseverance.
- National three peaks challenge: 44km, 2900m of ascent, 14 hours of walking in total, broken up with ten hours of rest breaks.
- Peak District Challenge Silver route. 75km, 24 continuous hours 2000m of ascent. You’ll need to be physically fit with plenty of perseverence to find your way around this course.
- Welsh 3000ers. 48km in 24 continuous hours, about 3500m of ascent.
- Lake District 3000ers. 72km in 24 continuous hours, 3823m of ascent.
- Peak District Challenge Gold Ultra route. 100km, 24 continuous hours, 3000m of ascent. The ultimate challenge, for experienced walkers and runners with extensive reserves of perseverance, who have successfully run marathons previously.
How much does it cost?
We charge an entry fee (of between £20-70 depending on challenge chosen) to cover all the arrangements for this event. On top of this, your expenses are really minimised:
- You don’t have to travel over the whole of the UK to attempt a really difficult challenge. Why drive to three corners of the country for a challenging walk? That also means…
- Your fuel and vehicle costs are minimal, and you’re saving the planet!
- No fundraising requirements.
- We provide delicious vegetarian drinks and snacks. You won’t be buying all your food from motorway service stations over the weekend.
We can do all this, because we ask for supporters to volunteer for us over the weekend.
Is fundraising compulsory?
No, your entry fee covers the whole cost of putting on the challenge to professional standards. There is no additional fundraising commitment.
What if there are Covid19 restrictions in force? Will the event definitely go ahead?
Don’t let Covid19 put you off! We’ll go ahead with the Peak District Challenge if at all possible. The Peak District Challenge is designed from the ground up to have a low impact on the environment and community, with staggered starts, no fixed routes, and disparate checkpoints. Even if some restrictions remain in force, we have tweaked our event to be able to safely and ethically go ahead, genuinely without compromising the law or compromising on our duty to help fight the outbreak.
The government announcement of 8.9.20 banned social gatherings of more than 6 people. The stated intention, is that the ban will not apply to covid-secure “hospitality venues”, (like our HQ cafe), or “organised team sports”, but is intended to reduce transmission that occurs when groups gather socially in private homes and gardens. To be on the safe side, we’ve advised teams larger than 6 that they should have contingency arrangements in place to be ready to break down in to teams of 6. That’s in case there are further changes to rules (or clarification is published before the event that corrects any misunderstanding we’ve made!). Otherwise, the event is going ahead with covid-19 tweaks, legally compliant within both the intent and the letter of the law.
Should things change, our full cancellation and changes policy is in our Ts & Cs. In short, if we really couldn’t go ahead, even with some minor changes to the event format, then we’ll roll your registration over to 2021.
Give yourself something to look forward to, support a small business, and retain a sense of normality. Please do register for the Peak District Challenge as normal.
When must I enter by?
The sooner the better so you can train appropriately!
Main entries close about 4 weeks before the event. Late entries will be taken after this date, but Finishers Packs (which add a t-shirt and medal to your goody bag) will not be available.
What are the age limits?
Please see Entry Information page
Do I need to provide my own support team? Am I allowed a personal support team or spectators?
We ask that you do not bring a personal support team, but instead your supporters are asked to volunteer to assist with the running of the event. This may also keep them entertained whilst you are on the furthest summits and out of sight! We are looking for friendly volunteer marshals to provide encouragement, drinks and snacks. Safety and navigation advice will be managed by mountain leaders from Wilderness Development. If you do bring supporters and friends with you, we ask that they do not shadow you or provide additional personal support.
What to expect on the day
How many checkpoints are there? How far apart are they?
Checkpoints will be crewed (with snacks and water available) on average every three hours on overnight events and every two hours on daytime events.
This doesn’t mean you can top up with water more frequently if you’re a faster runner, as reaching a checkpoint faster may just mean that you arrive before the checkpoint is crewed! You should therefore bring sufficient carrying capacity to go for three hours between resupply.
For example, if completing an overnight challenge in 24 hours, you’ll meet 7 crewed checkpoints, with an average 3 hour gap between each checkpoint.
If completing the bronze challenge in 10 hours, you’ll meet 4 crewed checkpoints, with an average 2 hour gap between checkpoints.
If completing the same bronze challenge in 12 hours, you’ll find an additional checkpoint has opened by the time you arrive there, meaning you’ll meet 5 checkpoints, still with an average 2 hour gap between checkpoints.
What is provided at checkpoints?
- Water bottle refills
- On 25-100km challenges, light snacks like
- savoury pastries
- cold pizza
- sweets, cake and flapjack
- cereal and energy bars
- pasta pots
- At many checkpoints, a member of the volunteering team to cheer you on and give you any help you need.
- At some checkpoints, hot squash to drink
There is no full meal provided on the way around, so if you have special dietary requirements or will want to eat more than “grazing” food it’s advisable to carry additional food yourself.
Can my specific dietary requirements be catered for?
Where dietary requirements are mentioned on your booking form, we’ll do our best to ensure there is at least one food choice at each checkpoint that is suitable for you. If you didn’t mention requirements on your booking form, it’s likely there will still be a suitable choice for you at most checkpoints – but we have only planned for dietary requirements that we know about!
In either case, as this is a mass-catered event, we advise that you check the individual packaging to be sure an item is suitable on each occasion; the checkpointers can help you with this. We’d advise that you avoid mass-packaged foods like tray bakes or trays of sandwiches, as although we take normal food hygiene precautions, these are more likely to have some low level of cross-contamination than individually packaged items.
If your allergy or requirement is serious, it’s important that you check at each food serving location – the checkpointers and HQ volunteers are able to help you.
Are there toilets at checkpoints?
In general, no there are not, however a few checkpoints are adjacent to public toilets, and these are spaced out approximately every 6 hours throughout each challenge. The details of which checkpoints are near public toilets are provided in your pre-event briefing.
There are also more public toilets spaced out around the route, although these will require deviations from our suggested route, and will add some mileage to your challenge!
Do I get a medal and a T-shirt?
Finishers packs including a t-shirt and medal are available to pre-book when you register online. We’ll look forward to giving you one!
The Peak District Challenge is designed from the ground up to be an extremely ethical event, and for years we’ve resisted the temptation to give medals. Why? Because we only wanted to hand out momentos which are useful, welcomed and don’t risk becoming dust-gathering trinkets. So to minimise the waste (and cost!) of giving out unwanted merchandise, this year you can order a tee and medal at registration if you’d like one.
What kit do I need? What if it rains? Is there shelter on the way round?
The Peak District Challenge will go ahead come rain, wind or shine. You should expect to carry with you everything that you need to keep safe and comfortable during the event (with the exceptions of water, food, and for 50-100km challenges a “half way” bag). There are no indoor or undercover resting areas during the event, (only at the start and finish), so you need to prepare to be outdoors for the entire event with all the kit from the Kit List. In the event of extremely strong winds or lightening, shortened low-level routes may be used, or the event may be postponed to a later date.
Are there covid precautions in place?
Yes, but nothing that you aren’t used to by now. For example, a face covering will be required at registration, and you must keep 2m social distancing throughout the event. Refreshments will be packaged in to individual packages (not buffet style) and we have moved all registration online to remove the amount of over-the-desk interaction required at registration.
The fundamental nature of the event hasn’t changed, but we will be using all the same standard precautions that you have now seen elsewhere.
Navigating yourself or joining a led group with a guide
What level of navigation or map reading ability do I need?
The route is not flagged, and you’ll be met by volunteers only at checkpoints. If taking on the Copper or Bronze Challenge, we would expect you to be honestly able to state: “I can make sense of a normal ordnance survey map to find my way around, even if I don’t use the compass”. This is the minimum level of navigational ability required to take part in the Copper or Bronze Challenge. If this isn’t you, we ask you to book a beginners (Level 1) navigation course with Wilderness Development or a different organisation, or join a led team around the Peak District Challenge.
Guides on the Silver challenge are available only overnight, and during hours of daylight all Silver challengers will need to self-navigate, to the standards outlined above.
If taking on the Silver challlenge as a self-navigator, or the Gold Ultra (no guides are available on the Gold Ultra), the route involves some navigational challenge, including night time navigation, and we would expect you to:
- Have successfully completed comparable navigationally challenging walks or runs, including night-time navigation. These do not necessarily need to be part of an organised event. Or
- Have completed the NNAS Silver award and have experience navigating at night. Or
- Have completed a level 2 navigation course with Wilderness Development or a different organisation
Self-navigating Solo and Duo Teams have higher navigational and experience requirements, see below…
Additional entry criteria for self-navigating Solo and Duo teams
The Peak District Challenge is a team event, however Solo and duo entries on the 25-100km routes are permitted from runners with extensive comparable experience. This is not the place to try your hand at your first solo or duo Ultra Marathon.
To enter the 25-100km Peak District Challenges as a solo or duo team, you must have successfully completed a comparable “qualifying” walk or run in the 18 months prior to the Peak District Challenge. Your qualifying walk/run does not necessarily need to be part of an organised event. Qualifying events must be:
- completed as a solo or duo entrant (matching your entry to the Peak District Challenge!)
- of 50km or longer (25km or longer if entering the copper challenge)
- require navigation and not follow a way-marked route
- include a section at night, (for all levels except copper)
- not be all on paved roads.
We will ask for a brief description of your qualifying event on your registration form and will take your word – we do not require proof. A sentence along the lines of “In 2019 we completed the 56 miles Bullock Smithy challenge in 20 hours” or “In July 2019, we navigated the whole route of the Pennine way from Kirk Yetholme to Edale (270 miles) including sections at night” will suffice.
What pace will guided groups walk at?
Guides will lead their group at “on-target” pace, (ie 9 hours for Copper, 12 hours for Bronze; the first 25km in 8 hours for Silver. If you chose to join a led group with a guide, you will need to walk at the group’s pace and stay together with your guide, so guided groups are not suitable for those looking for a fast time.
I am looking to join a team with other self-navigators, what should I do?
If you’d like to join a team, we advise anyone in this position to post on our Facebook group to try to track down other people in the same position who might like to join up into a team together.
The Challenge Routes
What are the grid references for the checkpoints?
These are emailed to participants 7 days before the event takes place. 7 days before the event has been chosen to make it long enough to copy it on to your own maps, but deliberately not long enough to give you time to recce the whole route in advance! Navigating yourself between checkpoints is a key part of the challenge. We do show you rough outlines of the Peak District Challenge routes here.
What is the route between checkpoints?
You may chose whichever route you like between checkpoints, while avoiding major roads. The Back Before Dark 10km route is flagged and marshalled.
On 25-100km challenges, a route guidance booklet is provided, which highlights “out of bounds” areas. In a few areas, there is a specified compulsory route, but in most (more than 80% of) areas you are encouraged to chose your own route between checkpoints. GPX waypoint files showing checkpoint locations (only, but not routes!) will be available for download from this website from 7 days before the event for use with GPS devices or mapping software.
Our suggested routes only follow good, obvious paths, and are generally waymarked national routes and easy to spot. If you find yourself on a small, overgrown, dangerous or unmarked path, you may have veered off track!
There are extra checkpoints for the longer challenges, so if you go through all the checkpoints for your challenge and take the shortest-cut you can find between them, then you have completed the challenge!
Can I recce the route?
We don’t provide routes to recce in advance for two reasons:
Firstly there are no fixed routes. You can chose the quickest and easiest route between checkpoints that most suits you. Have a look at the FAQ “What are the routes between checkpoints?” for more info.
Secondly, we don’t provide the exact locations of checkpoints until 7 days before the event. That’s deliberately long enough to mark the routes on to your maps, but deliberately not long enough to allow enough time to recce the whole route in advance, because navigating yourself around the route is a key part of the challenge. Have a look at the FAQ “What are the locations of the checkpoints?” for more info.
We do show you rough outlines of the route here:
A keen map reader will be able to make a reasonably accurate judgement about the likely route using the info above, by taking a look at the Ordnance Survey map of the area and following the general route description given. There are further hints contained within these FAQs and on the Peak District Challenge facebook page.
Baggage and logistics
Can I have a bag meet me halfway around the challenge?
Yes, for Gold, Silver and Bronze challengers, we will bring a “halfway” bag to meet you approximately half way around the challenge at Cressbrook Checkpoint. To take advantage of this, please label a suitably non-valuable and waterproof bag and drop it off in the “bag drop off” area at HQ. Your bag should be as secure and well labelled as if you were checking in for a flight. We will return your halfway bag to the finish line for you after you have had a chance to go through it. Whilst we will do our best, please be aware this is a public event and your bag will be brought to meet you in a public car park which is not lockable. We advise against bringing valuables.
It is not possible for 10km and Copper Challengers to have a bag meet them half way.
Can I leave my bag in Hathersage HQ whilst I’m taking part?
Yes, we are happy to store labelled (non valuable!) bags in HQ for you whilst you are taking part in the Peak District Challenge. No valuables please, and whilst we will do our best, please be aware this is a public event and our storage facilities are not lockable.
What if I struggle to maintain the target pace?
Whilst we’ll do all we can to help you achieve your challenge, the volunteers crewing the checkpoints can’t stay in place indefinitely. If you are slower than target pace and miss the “cutoff” time at a checkpoint, your entry will be moved down to a lower-level route (Gold to Silver, Bronze to Copper etc), and you will be able to continue your attempt at the lower-level challenge.
If you more are one hour or more behind target pace, we will leap-frog you forward on your (new) route by car, allowing you to finish the challenge by foot.
Can I bring my dog?
As a result of different distances of the challenge being overseen by different national governing bodies, we can accept dogs on some distances of the Peak District Challenge but not others. Well behaved dogs on leads accompanied by responsible owners are welcome on the…
(Dogs are not permitted on Copper or Gold Challenges)
We aren’t able to accommodate hounds within the event venue, but if he’s happy waiting for you in your car before and after the run then a well behaved pooch accompanying you out on the hill will be welcome on Silver, Bronze or Back Before Dark 10km routes. We’re not able to put in additional canine support I’m afraid, so you will need to be able to look after him yourself – we haven’t got a doggy-drop-out bus. This may require a willing taxi – please research your contingency plan in advance!
How do I get to Hathersage? What is the postcode for the venue? Is it easy to park? Do I need a parking pass?
By far the best way to arrive is by train! There is a train station five minutes walk from the event base, and the event has been specifically timed so that you can travel to the event from Manchester or Sheffield by train.
Event parking is provided, and can be pre-booked at the time of registration. Maps of parking locations will be provided in your 7-days-to-go event briefing email. No paper tickets are issued, the marshal on the gate will have a list of pre-paid parking names.
As a last resort, there is expensive limited pay and display parking in the village of Hathersage, S32 1DU.
I haven’t received a mapping booklet / wristband / event guide, (+/- but my friend has.)
Team Captains of self-navigating teams (ie the first person to register in your team) was sent ALL your team’s wristbands, and two route guides per team for them to distribute to the team. Guided Groups will not be sent resources through the post, your human guide will meet you with your wristbands on arrival in Hathersage. If you were a late entry, you can access digital copies of these resources via the Pre-Arrival Formalities process, which is be explained in our 7-days-to-go email. Whatever happens, your captain can come to Pack Pickup on arrival and collect any missing / additional resources your team needs.
When do I have to get to Hathersage to pick up my race pack and route guide? When is registration?
Your medical form and safety briefing can be completed online this year. Please schedule 30 minutes in the week prior to the event to complete these tasks online, which will be delivered in your “7 days to go” email.
Please help us keep the event running smoothly by registering and collecting your registration pack only during the times listed below.
NB these start windows have been lengthened since the paper event information packs were printed, in order to allow earlier event starts and increased spacing. The longer start windows published here will be offered on the day.
Once you have collected your registration pack, you will be started at 1-min intervals during the start window. The intention will be to minimise number of people inside HQ at any time.
Copper runners who expect to maintain 9kph are strongly advised to set off at 9:30am and not before, to ensure checkpoints are open in time for your arrival. Frogatt, Baslow and Hay Wood (NT Car Park) checkpoints will open earlier than previously published, in time to meet the fastest runners.
|Arrival Window||Challenge||Wave||Start Window|
|7:45 – 8:45 pm||Friday||Silver and Gold Ultra challenges||Self-navigating||8 – 9 pm.|
|8pm prompt||Friday||Silver and Gold Ultra challenges||Guided silver groups||9 pm|
|6:45 – 7:45 am||Saturday||Bronze challenge||Self-navigating||7 – 8:15 am|
|7am prompt||Saturday||Bronze challenge||Guided group||8 am|
|8.15-9.15 am||Saturday||Copper challenge||Self-navigating walkers||8:30 – 9:30 am|
|9 – 9.15am||Saturday||Copper challenge||Self-navigating runners||9:15 – 9:30 am|
|8.30 am prompt||Saturday||Copper challenge||Guided group||9:30 am|
How will distancing be maintained at registration? What if there are queues?
In the event of queues building up at HQ, you’ll be asked to linger outside, or to come back later in the registration window. No-one will be prevented from starting because of queues or distancing issues.
How large are led groups?
5 average, and 8 absolute maximum. In reality, groups are often smaller than this. In past years our smallest group sizes have included 1 and 3. Because this is a covid-secure organised sporting event, we are not affected by the current restrictions on gathering sizes.
Is there any accommodation available?
If your supporters volunteer to help organise the event, they will also be welcome to camp in the event base on the Friday night while the race is ongoing.
There is lots of good B&B style accommodation in Hathersage, shown on the map below. Click each price for further info. The best value and most convenient accommodation is Hathersage Youth Hostel nearby.
There is also camping at North Lees (about 1.5 miles away).
What other activities are available in Hathersage?
Contact and Partnerships
I would like to partner with the Peak District Challenge
We’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch below…
Just get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07941 645 520 to speak with Will Sheaff.