An exciting few days of dot watching culminated in a gripping finale to this year's Montane Spine Race, seeing two of the main contenders - Jayson Cavill and Eugenie Rosello Sole - drop out due to injury. In the end it was one man's race to lose, with John Kelly looking dominant throughout, eventually finishing in 87:53:57. Despite John taking a healthy chunk off the Men's record, Jasmin Paris' outright record from 2019 remains unbeaten - a testament to her form during last year's event.
A very rare picture of our current Montane Spine Race leader, John Kelly @RndmForestRunnr— Montane Spine Race (@TheSpineRace) January 13, 2020
John has already been over Pen-Y-Ghent and is having a quick power nap in Horton.#spinerace pic.twitter.com/E5ESqJBpJg
The Spine covers all 268 miles of the Pennine Way, starting in Edale and ending in Kirk Yetholm. As a result of it taking place in the middle of January it is notorious for its adverse weather conditions and this year was no exception, with Storm Brendan blowing its way across the country throughout the first few days of the event, bringing with it 80mph winds, a lot of rain, and even some snow on the higher tops. Add into the mix the fact that this isn't a race with distinct 'overnight' stops, and the competitors can rest at their leisure (or not at all), The Spine Race really is a unique one in the British Ultra calendar.
Whilst the rest of the competitors are still in action, it looks as if the men's winner from last, Eoin Keith, is going to finish sometime later today in 2nd, with 3rd place being hotly contested between Simon Gfeller, Walter Huitzing and Sabrina Verjee. In the Women's category Sabrina had led the field since Day 1, and - pending any last minute disasters - is looking on form win by a convincing distance. Debbie Martin-Consani has also held on to second place throughout, with Patricia Patterson doing much the same in third; however, at this late stage - as demonstrated by what's happened with the dropouts in the men's - it is all to play for, so keep an eye on the Live Tracker for the most up to date information.
A more thorough report will be published within the next few days outlining the highs and lows of both the Men's and Women's event, plus The Spine Challenger.
If you're unfamiliar with The Montane Spine Race, the following video gives a good impression of the levels of awfulness you can expect from the event.