The 174km/108 mile Montane Spine Challenger started on, Saturday 12 January 2019 at 8 AM. 98 Competitors (78 men and 20 women) from 10 different nations are competing to cover 108 miles of the Pennine Way National trail irrespective of what the terrain and the British weather can throw at them. Click for more info on Team Montane Yesterday, Race Director Phil Hayday Brown described this year’s Challenger as ‘anyone’s race’. The strongest runners have shown their mettle against gusts between 60-80mph today and a possible podium is starting to
The 174km/108 mile Montane Spine Challenger started on, Saturday 12 January 2019 at 8 AM. 98 Competitors (78 men and 20 women) from 10 different nations are competing to cover 108 miles of the Pennine Way National trail irrespective of what the terrain and the British weather can throw at them.
Yesterday, Race Director Phil Hayday Brown described this
year’s Challenger as ‘anyone’s race’. The strongest runners have shown
their mettle against gusts between 60-80mph today and a possible podium is
starting to materialise.
Dougie Zinis (GBR) currently holds the lead. Dougie
completed a Bob Graham round in the summer and is no stranger to long days in
the hills. He narrowly leads Richard Curtis (USA) who was leader himself
until reaching CP1 at Hebden Bridge. In 3rd currently is Steve
Turland (GBR), another Bob Graham finisher.
First woman is Elaine Bisson (GBR). Elaine has a
strong pedigree at this distance having successfully raced the Montane Lakeland
100 previously and is widening her lead over fellow brits Sarah Witte and
The Spine Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) Challenge, which is on the same course as the Spine Challenger but only open to active Mountain Rescue personnel from England, Wales and the Scottish Borders, started at 9 AM.
At the front of that race, Alastair Hubbard of Braemar Mountain Rescue, has overtaken all but 11 of the Montane Spine Challenger runners, despite them setting out an hour ahead of him this morning.
Back in Edale, the Montane Spine Racers have spent the day registering for tomorrow's 268 mile event. It’s a stellar field in this year’s race with a number of runners as possible favourites.
Eugenie Rosello Sole (ESP), winner
in 2013, is looking to dispel memories of the heartbreak of 2019 when he was withdrawn
only 6km from the finish line whilst in 2nd position. Jasmin
Paris stole the headlines last year with her course record breaking win, but
behind the scenes there are plenty who remember the heartbreak of Eugenie’s DNF
and feel this could be his year.
Winner of the 2019 Montane Spine
Fusion race (the same course but in summer), Sabrina Verjee (GBR) is looking
for a second win on the Pennine Way. When asked what her targets for this
race were, Sabrina said “it’s a really strong field this year so finishing is
goal number one. Beyond that, a sub 100hr time would be great.”
“It’ll be wet, it’ll be dark and
it’ll be quite the adventure”, said John Kelly (USA) about his expectations of
the race. Having been the winner (and sole finisher) of the notorious
Barkley Marathons in 2017, an experience he says he’ll be drawing on over the
coming days, there’s a lot of eyes on this runner. “I’m just going to run
my own race and not worry too much about the others”, said John when asked
about the strength of the field he’s taking on.
Team GB 24hr runner and former
Montane Lakeland 100 winner Debbie Martin-Consani says the Spine Race has
always been on her radar, “I would always end up spending Spine week watching
the dots on the tracker like everyone else” she said of the event, adding “I
don’t have a set target in mind. That’ll come later on Tuesday or
Wednesday, but I’ll be looking to finish as quickly as I can.”
Other runners to look out for,
include Tom Hollins (GBR) who took the title in 2017, and 2016 winner Eoin
Keith (IRL) who’s course record Jasmin Paris broke last year. Elsewhere,
Wouter Huitzing (NED) is making the step up to the full race after winning the
Montane Spine Challenger in 2018 and placing 2nd last year and will
be hoping to follow in Tom Hollin’s footsteps after he famously won the Spine
Challenger in 2016 and went on to win the full race the following year.
The 2020 Montane Spine Race begins at 8am, tomorrow morning, the 12th Jan.
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