Montane Spine Race 2017 – Pre-race & Day 1
Pre-race and day 1 – 14 & 15 January 2017
Britain’s most brutal race begins
Explosive performances already abound in the 2017 Montane Spine Race as Dominic Layfield (US) wins the 108-mile Montane Spine Challenger, setting a new course record. Alasdair Cowell (GBR) wins the 108-mile Montane Spine MRT (Mountain Rescue Team) Challenge race. The much-anticipated, sixth Montane Spine Race, 268 miles along the Pennine Way in winter, gets under way, with leaders setting a scorching pace.
Edale, Peak District, England, Sunday, 15 January 2017
Montane Spine Challenger and Montane Spine MRT Challenge
British-born, US-based Dominic Layfield (US) has won the 108-mile Montane Spine Challenger in a (provisional) course record of 28:04 – almost an hour quicker than Montane athlete Marcus Scotney’s previous record of 29:01.
The 108-mile race began at 8am on Saturday, 14 January from Edale in the Peak District National Park. Runners started out in the snow, strong winds and sub 0˚ Celsius temperatures, along the Pennine Way, England’s oldest and generally thought to be toughest National Trail.
At midday on Saturday, the 108-mile, Montane Spine MRT (Mountain Rescue Team) Challenge race also began, following the same route to Hawes, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In true British weather style, this race began in brilliant sunshine.
Both sets of runners battled with treacherous terrain – bogs, rocks, ice, snow – and unpredictable weather during the day continuing through 15 hours of darkness. Layfield reached Hawes around lunchtime on Sunday 15 January, Silver Eensaar (EST) finished second in 30:13, with Dan Shrimpton (GBR) crossing the line in 31:09.
At the time of writing Sarah Davies (BGR) currently leads the ladies race by over five hours.
Alasdair Cowell (GBR) set a fast early pace in the Montane Spine MRT Challenge race, reaching Hawes to win in 33:40.
Both races continue through a second night, with runners aiming to reach the finish in under 60 hours. There have been 27 retirements in the Montane Spine Challenger and Montane Spine MRT Challenge so far.
Montane Spine Race
At 8.30am on Sunday 15 January, the much-anticipated, full Montane Spine Race, along the entire 268-mile Pennine Way National Trail, began in warmer but much wetter conditions.
The race includes three previous winners: 2016 winner and course record holder Eoin Keith (IRL), 2014 and 2015 winner Pavel Paloncý (CZH) and 2013 winner Eugeni Rosello Sole (ESP). The roster also features strong runners from the US, Japan, Sweden.
It was the three previous Montane Spine Race winners who set the early pace. But after around two hours, Paloncý and Rosello Sole put a gap on Keith, which grew to 1km. But at press Keith looked to have caught them back up. There’s doubtless plenty of drama to come.
There have been four retirements so far.
Summary of race winners:
- Montane Spine Challenger (M): 28:04, Dominic Layfield (US)
- Montane Spine MRT Challenge (M): 33:40, Alasdair Cowell (GBR)
Current race leaders:
- Montane Spine Race (M): Pavel Paloncý (CZH) / Eugeni Rosello Sole (ESP) / Eoin Keith (IRL)
- Montane Spine Race (F): Carol Morgan (GBR)
- Montane Spine Challenger (F): Sarah Davies (GBR)
- Montane Spine MRT Challenge (F): Ella Corrick (GBR)
WATCH EPISODES #1-3 of the Montane Spine Race TV daily updates: