Boulder, Colorado - January 22, 2020 – Ultimate Direction, the leading brand in hydration and wearable gear innovations and supporter of world-class ambassadors, is proud to announce John Kelly is the 2020 MONTANE® Spine® Race champion.

Called one of the most grueling endurance races in the world, the Spine travels the length of the Pennine Way National Trail in England and Scotland in the UK. A winter ultramarathon is difficult anywhere but the runners in the Spine face extreme weather including deep snow, ice, mud, bogs, groundwater, wind and rain.

The format is simple but winning the Spine is not: cover the 268 miles in seven days, stopping only when you decide to; fatigue, sleep deprivation and exposure to the extremes of winter weather are customary.

Few athletes have the composition of John Kelly, the multiyear UD ambassador and most recent winner of the Barkley Marathons. His incredible feats have made him one of the world’s best-known ultra-endurance athletes. He supplements foot races with Ironman distance elite triathlons.

One of Ultimate Direction’s premier product testers, Kelly contributed crucial feedback to the development of the forthcoming Signature Series 5.0 lineup, particularly the Adventure Vest 5.0. 

UD Signature Series Adventure Vest5.0

UD Signature Series Adventure Vest5.0

“The new Adventure Vest 5.0 has a built-in rainfly which was utilized often during the Spine to keep rain and snow from soaking my gear,” said Kelly. “I’ve been developing this vest with Ultimate Direction for over a year, so it was very rewarding to debut the production version at the ‘Spine’.”

The Adventure Vest 5.0, along with the rest of the new Signature Series 5.0, will become available to buy mid-February, 2020.

Kelly is from the United States but currently lives in the U.K. Find him on social media


About Ultimate Direction

In 1985 Ultimate Direction invented the first waist pack for carrying bottles. A few years later they designed the first hand-held water bottle carrier and numerous innovations defining the hydration pack category for endurance and every-day athletes. 30 years later the brand remains credible and critical to the world’s most passionate athletes. Ultimate Direction is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. Visit

Press Contact: Craig Randall, Ultimate Direction,