With two truly dominant displays of form, Tiaan Erwee and Anna Troup have won the 2022 Summer Spine Race. If winning weren't enough, each has not just broken, but smashed the previous record, during what will be remembered as a very hot, dry and fast year.
Both Tiaan and Anna pulled ahead early in the race, creating what would be described in any normal race as 'unassailable' leads; however, with the Spine - as we know from this year's Winter Spine, where being in the lead for more than five minutes seemed to result in an almost instantanous dnf - nothing is written in stone and even the best of the best frequently fail.
The biggest challenge during this year's race was heat, with high temperatures testing the resolve (and water retention) of the competitors. Interestingly though it wasn't just daytime heat that proved an issue, since surprisingly low overnight temperatures also challenged frazzled competitors. One bonus to the dry and bright weather though was that the Pennine Way itself, which is infamous for being boggy, was remarkably dry, presenting fast conditions underfoot.
Tiaan, originally from South Africa, but now a resident of Guernsey, looked disconcertingly fresh throughout. Whilst he was obvioulsy pushing the pace it was clear, even at the end, that he had a lot more left in the tank. He ran into Kirk Yetholm in a time of 70:46:50, comprehensively beating Eoin Keith's previous record of 77:34:52.
For an insight into how alarmingly fresh Tiaan looked, check out the following interview, filmed at CP5 - Alston YHA:
Anna Troup had a similarly strong start, despite being someone who historically sets off at quite a conservative pace, and it was clear from the off that she meant to put in a strong effort. Much like Tiaan, Anna looked similarly unphased throughout, with a big smile on her face (as she has in previous years) and finished in a time of 78:57:49.
Elsewhere within the Spine Summer Series, records were also broken within both the Challenger and Sprint categories*. These courses take in 108 and 43 miles respectively and have become increasingly popular within recent years, not least because they represent outstanding challenges in their own right, but also as a stepping stone towards the full course.
*records denoted in bold below
Lauren Johnson - 30:04:31
Mairead Okeeffe - 32:31:22
Emma Roper - 34:19:27
Tim Pigott - 23:06:47
Tim Bradley - 23:38:48
Andrew Morley - 24:39:30
Hannah Slater - 09:33:31
Jude Chadwick - 10:38:18
Renee McGregor - 10:46:03
Michael Hyde - 7:55:58
Nicholas Plant - 09:59:46
Gareth Lloyd - 09:59:51