Montane Spine Race 2017 – Day 4

Day 4 – 18 January 2017

Day four of Britain’s most brutal race

Pavel Paloncý, Eugeni Roselló Solé  and Tom Hollins race neck-and-neck to the finish of the 268-mile Montane Spine Race. Carol Morgan, joint sixth overall, grows her lead still further in the women’s race. The Montane Spine Race is a 268-mile / 431km footrace along the Pennine Way; England’s oldest and generally thought to be toughest National Trail, in winter.


Follow the Montane Spine Race live here


Bellingham, Northumberland, England, Wednesday 18 January 2017

Montane Spine Race

With less than 40 miles left of the 2017 Montane Spine Race, Pavel Paloncý (CZE), Eugeni Roselló Solé (ESP) – and now Tom Hollins (GBR) – are racing neck-and-neck to the finish line.

After leaving check point (CP) 4 at Alston (180 miles into the 268-mile race) at around 10pm Tuesday night, 2014 and 2015 race winner Pavel Paloncý (CZE) was in first place. While 2013 winner Eugeni Roselló Solé (ESP) left the CP just 24 minutes after him.

They battled each other for most of the day, as the two traversed World-Heritage-listed Hadrian’s Wall before turning north again towards the Scottish Borders. After neither could gain an advantage, the regular Spine foes agreed to run together to the fifth and final CP in Bellingham, 43 miles from the finish in Kirk Yetholm.

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Image © Mick Kenyon

In Bellingham the two runners, who’ve battled each other for podium spots in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Spine Races rested for around three hours.

As they slept however, Tom Hollins, a Yorkshire anaesthetist who won the 108-mile Montane Spine Challenger in 2016, grew ever closer. And as Paloncý and Roselló Solé left Bellingham, Hollins caught up with them.

Recently Hollins has looked like the freshest of the three. Unlike the other two, he is a supported runner, meaning a crew can meet him with a campervan whenever the trail crosses a road, an option open to all Spine Race competitors. Hollins aims to finish in under 100 hours. The course record is 95 hours and 17 minutes.

The three will race through Wednesday night, on the Pennine Way across the remote Cheviot Hills in the Scottish Borders to Kirk Yetholm, Scotland. The first runner is expected to finish at around 8am, Thursday, 19 January.

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Dealing with muddy conditions underfoot. Image © Mick Kenyon

In the women’s race, Carol Morgan (IRL) continues to extend her lead over Helene Dumais (CAN), to now more than 50km. Third place is being contested by Sarah Fuller (GBR), Gabriele Kenenberg (GER) and Yvonne Lehnert (GER), all currently at CP3, Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Morgan, an advanced practitioner in A&E, has been running with Paul Nelson (GBR) and they’re now joint sixth. Debbie Brupbacher’s 2014 course record of 153 hours and 17 minutes is within Morgan’s reach.

There have been 36 retirements so far, including 2016 Spine Race winner and course record holder Eoin Keith (IRL). Keith was diagnosed with a fractured rib by the race medical team, probably from a fall on the first night. He continued on initially, while still in third place. But when Hollins passed him in the morning, he decided to retire.

The Montane Spine Race continues through the night…

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View from the Alston CP. Image courtesy of Montane Spine Race


Summary of race winners:

  • Montane Spine Challenger (M): 28:00, Dominic Layfield (US)
  • Montane Spine Challenger (F): 37:53, Sarah Davies (GBR)
  • Montane Spine MRT Challenge (M): 33:40, Alasdair Cowell (GBR)
  • Montane Spine MRT Challenge (F): 58:18, Ella Corrick (GBR)

Current race leaders:

  • Montane Spine Race (M): Pavel Paloncý (CZH) / Eugeni Rosello Sole (ESP) / Tom Hollins (GBR)
  • Montane Spine Race (F): Carol Morgan (GBR)

WATCH EPISODE #6 of the Montane Spine Race TV daily update:

Montane Spine Race Episode 6 video pic

READ THE MONTANE SPINE RACE REPORT FOR PRE-RACE & DAY 1 HERE

READ THE MONTANE SPINE RACE REPORT FOR DAY 2 HERE

READ THE MONTANE SPINE RACE REPORT FOR DAY 3 HERE


Follow the Montane Spine Race live here


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