ONE of the most gruelling endurance races in the world returns to Tynedale this week.

The 2020 Spine Race – a non-stop race along the 268-mile length of the Pennine Way – is widely recognised due to its treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather conditions.

The seven-day race includes checkpoints at Alston, Greenhead, Bellingham and Byrness before finishing in Town Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.

As the race passes through Tynedale, expected to be between Tuesday and Saturday, participants and spectators are given a clear idea of who the main contenders for first place are.

However, the section is often regarded as most participant’s least favourite section of the Pennine Way.

The trail is mostly low-lying fields, farmland and old railway lines, likely to be muddy and route-finding is fiddly at times.

But at least arriving at Greenhead means the start of the inspiring, World Heritage site, Hadrian’s Wall. Participants then make their way up through Wark Forest, through Bellingham and up towards Byrness.

Jasmin Paris, from Edinburgh, won last year’s competition after finishing in a record time of 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds.