2020 Spine Race: A Year in the Sun
The Spine Race returns after a year in the public eye with an in-form Team Montane in tow. Will Jasmin Paris’ record be broken?
Since its inception in 2012, which saw 11 entrants and only 3 finishers, it has enjoyed a hard-earned reputation as a truly epic challenge and a true test of racers physical resilience and mental fortitude. It is widely regarded as one of the world’s toughest endurance races.
Last years’ Spine was a momentous occasion. Jasmin Paris smashed the course record by some 12 hours and became the first female winner, sending shockwaves beyond the world of ultra-endurance which cracked into the global zeitgeist. The Spine Race – and Jasmin – are now household names.
“Jasmin Paris won the race and drew the eyes of the world by demolishing the existing course record. There was heartbreak for one returning champion which turned into elation for another. There were selfless acts of kindness between runners that epitomise the community spirit around this event. We are looking forward to see what stories we can add to the race’s – and ultra-running’s – history this year.”
– Scott Gilmour, Montane Spine Race Organiser
However, fame has not tainted or diluted ‘Britain’s Most Brutal’ footrace, and this Sunday sees it return in its trademark uncompromising fashion. It is still a non-stop 268-mile winter ultra-marathon encompassing the entire length of the Pennine Way. Racers are self-supported, and aid stations remain few and far between.
“I’ve always been an avid follower of the race – dot watching is the nation’s favourite pastime around mid-January. Yet, here I am packing and unpacking, repacking and checking the weather forecast 53 times a day. For me it’s the UK’s ultimate test of human endurance. The route is fairly hostile and remote and underfoot conditions are unforgiving to say the least. Throw in January ‘s unpredictable weather, over 16 hours of darkness per day and self-navigation and it’s sure to be the best holiday ever. Right?”
– Debbie Martin-Consani, Montane Athlete, 2019 Spine Race Competitor