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, but we have tried to provide a distance for everyone.
The Back Before Dark 10k route is way-marked with flags and arrows and does not require navigation skills.
For 25km+ challenges you have the choice of self navigating: In this case a minimum level of navigational skill is required; you’ll walk or run unaccompanied, carrying a GPS tracker (included in your team’s entry fee) and met only at checkpoints. For those without navigational experience, we offer the option of joining a led walking 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 much 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 perseverance, 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 perseverance 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, 3200m 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 £23-73 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, the easiest access is by rail!
- No fundraising requirements, and no deductions made from charities’ income to subsidise the event.
- 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 fully expect to be able to go ahead with the Peak District Challenge in 2023 (we were able to go ahead in 2020 and 2021!). 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.
To be on the safe side, we advise teams larger than 6 that they should have contingency arrangements in place to be ready to break down in to teams of 6 – in the event of restrictions being reintroduced, that is one of the more likely limits to be placed on our event, we judge.
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 2024.
When must I enter by?
The sooner the better so you can train appropriately!
Main entries close one month before the event. Late entries will be taken for a short time 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
- 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 (but NB we don’t provide disposable cups, for the obvious environmental reasons, so you’ll need your own cup)
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 printed route guide, included with your entry.
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 medal, and choice of either T-shirt or a Tree (planted in your name) are available to pre-book when you register online as chargeable optional extra. 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. We only wanted to hand out mementos which are useful, welcomed and don’t risk becoming dust-gathering trinkets. So to minimise the waste (and cost!) of giving out unwanted merchandise, we don’t offer them as standard.
Similarly, fast fashion is one of the worst polluters and contributors to climate change, so we only offer event tees to people who want them and will wear them. If you don’t have any use for a tee, then choosing for one tree to be planted instead is one of the very best things you can do for the environment.
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.
Can I carry less than the full kit list? / I’m very experienced / I don’t think I need it.
All compulsory kit is compulsory, for everyone. You must not take part without it.
There are many reasons we ask everyone to carry the compulsory kit, but fundamentally, our kit list has been prepared following the advice from the International Trail Running Association, the Fell Running Association of the UK, and qualified event staff. Our only motivation in designing this list is your safety; there is nothing unnecessary on it. The amount of kit is neither excessively heavy, nor expensive. Going without all of this kit increases your risks whilst taking part in the event.
Being experienced can’t prevent all circumstances, eg spontaneous heart attacks, or you being delayed assisting a member of the public in distress. We appreciate that no-one plans to have an accident, but if you do need it, then your kit list will keep you warm and safe until rescue can reach you.
Are there covid precautions in place?
Yes, normal covid precautions are in place, similar to what you would expect to find in a workplace.
Navigating yourself or joining a led group with a guide
What level of navigation or map reading ability do I need?
Only the Back Before Dark 10k fell race is marked with arrows and flags.
25km+ routes are not flagged, and you’ll be met by volunteers only at checkpoints.
We would expect you to be honestly able to state: “Our team can make sense of a normal professionally-printed map to find my way around, even if I don’t use the compass”. If this isn’t you, we ask you to take navigation training before attending the event, or join a led walking team around the Peak District Challenge.
…If I’m self-navigating the Silver challenge, or the Gold Ultra?
The route involves some navigational challenge, including night time navigation, and we would expect your team 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 night-navigation training, (eg Mountain Leader).
If this isn’t you, we offer the option of joining a led walking group on the overnight leg of the Silver challenge (before completing the daytime leg in daylight). No guides are available on the Gold Ultra.
Self-navigating Solo and Duo Teams have higher navigational and experience requirements, see below…
Additional entry criteria for self-navigating Solo and Duo teams
Solo and duo entrants should provide details of one similarly challenging walk or run, succesfully completed in the 18 months prior to the Peak District Challenge.
Any event with 2+ I-TRA points will be acceptable. However, 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 (matching your entry to the Peak District Challenge!)
- of 50km or longer for Silver or Gold Ultra, (25km or longer for Copper or Bronze challenges)
- 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 2021 we completed the 56 miles Bullock Smithy challenge in 20 hours” or “In September 2020, we navigated overnight from Hawes to Edale (73km)” or “I earned 2 I-TRA points by completing [event name] on [date]” will suffice.
I haven’t undertaken a qualifying event yet, can I register now?
If you wish to enter as a solo or duo competitor, but haven’t yet complete a suitable qualifying event, we will accept your entry on the condition that you declare a planned qualifying event truthfully. A sentence along the lines of “By race day, I will have completed a solo, 50km, self-navigated overnight hike from Manchester to Sheffield” will suffice.
If you enter on this basis, but fail to complete a suitable qualifying event before event day, we will require you to withdraw from the event. Please note our normal event Ts&Cs allow deferrals (to next year) only up to one month before the event. After then, you may transfer (free of charge) your place to a suitably qualified friend who has completed a suitable qualifier, but refunds are not offered.
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 tag us @pdcwd . We’ll share your post in our Facebook group to try to track down other people in the same position who might like to join up into a team together. Here’s a sample image and text you could use:
I’m looking to recruit a team to take part in the Peak District Challenge with me! Are you keen? Please let me know. @pdcwd
The Challenge Routes
What are the locations of the checkpoints? What is the exact route?
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?
The Back Before Dark 10km route is flagged and marshalled.
On 25km+ challenges, there are a few sections with a specified compulsory route, but in most (more than 80% of) areas you are encouraged to chose your own route between checkpoints. Self-navigating teams are provided a route guidance booklet, which highlights compulsory route sections, along with “out of bounds” areas. 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 Peak District Challenge routes and 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 walkers maps 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.
Why do the GPX files include straight lines between checkpoints, and not complete routes?
That is correct and intentional, because you are encouraged to chose your own route between checkpoints and compulsory route sections, following trails and avoiding roads.
GPX waypoint files DO show compulsory route sections, and checkpoint locations. But they do NOT show suggested routes. Your device might show straight lines between checkpoints as in the example below, or just checkpoints, with no routes between them.
It would be extremely difficult indeed to take the perfectly straight “as the crow flies” route between checkpoints as it may appear on your screen – part of the challenge you’re taking is choosing your route between checkpoints, so we recommend you spend time in the week before your challenge choosing your own route between checkpoints.
We provide a route guide and suggested routes to help with this.
Baggage and logistics
Can I have a “drop bag” meet me en-route?
Yes, for Gold, Silver and Bronze challengers, we will bring a drop bag to meet you during the second half way of 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.
The bag care described above is included with your entry fee.
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?
Dogs are not permitted at the Back Before Dark 10k fell race. On longer distances, well behaved dogs on leads, accompanied by responsible owners are welcome, however this is not a cani-cross event, and we do not put any arrangements in place for dogs. You should be able to look after your dog without additional support from the marshalls.
For example, we aren’t able to accommodate dogs within the event venue, but if he’s happy waiting for outside before and after the run then a well behaved pooch accompanying you out on the hill will be welcome.
Similarly, we haven’t got a doggy-drop-out bus. In case the dog is unable to complete, this may require a willing taxi, and the event pickup vehicles are unable to accomodate dogs. 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. If you didn’t book at the time of registration, £2.50 per car, exact-change cash will be required on the gate. 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, at a cost of at least £11. Please beware the car parks often fill up; don’t rely on this.
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 will be completed online. 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.
Once you have collected your registration pack, you will be started at 1-min intervals during the start window.
Runners who expect to maintain 9kph are strongly advised to set off at the end of your “Start Window” and not before, to ensure checkpoints are open in time for your arrival.
|Arrival Window||Challenge||Wave||Start Window|
|6:45 – 7:45 pm||Friday||Any challenge||–||Come back later…|
|7:45 – 8:45 pm||Friday||Silver and Gold Ultra challenges||Self-navigating||8.45 – 9 pm.|
|8pm prompt||Friday||Silver challenge||Guided silver groups||9 pm|
|6:45 – 7.45 am||Saturday||Bronze challenge||Self-navigating walkers||7 – 8 am|
|7am prompt||Saturday||Bronze challenge||Guided group||8 am|
|7:45 – 8:15 am||Saturday||Bronze challenge||Self-navigating runners||8 – 8.30 am|
|8.15-9.15 am||Saturday||Copper challenge||Self-navigating walkers||8:30 – 9:30 am|
|8.30 am prompt||Saturday||Copper challenge||Guided group||9:30 am|
|9.15 – 9.45 am||Saturday||Copper challenge||Self-navigating runners||10 am|
|5.20 – 6pm||Saturday||Back Before Dark 10k||6.20 prompt|
How large are led groups?
12 average, and 15 absolute maximum. In reality, groups are often smaller than this. In past years our smallest group sizes have included 1 and 3.
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.
The closest camping is at North Lees (about 1.5 miles away).
There is lots of good B&B style accommodation in Hathersage. The best value and most convenient accommodation is Hathersage Youth Hostel nearby.
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: email@example.com or 07941 645 520 to speak with Will Sheaff.