SPINE RACE 2020: One-Third Victory, Two-Thirds Heartbreak

John Kelly leads the Montane Spine race at the end of it’s fourth day by a staggering margin and looks certain to win a race he has led since we left Edale on Sunday. The former Barkley Marathons winner has picked up his pace on the final day setting a blistering pace and arriving in the Cheviot Hills whilst no other runner was beyond CP5, more than 30 miles/50km behind him.

Spine Race Day 5

Elsewhere, there was heartbreak for 2 runners who until today had looked certain to take their place on the podium.

john kelly | montane

Around 14:00, bad luck struck a leading runner in the form of Jayson Cavill (GBR).  Montane Athlete Cavill, had been pressing John Kelly hard throughout the day yesterday and left CP5 in Bellingham just 20 minutes behind the UK based, US runner.  However, tendonitis he’d been nursing since day 2 flared up badly reducing his speed to a crawl.  “I don’t want to put myself on the cheviots, crawling in the cold and some poor sod have to come and rescue me” said Yorkshire based Jayson when he reached safety in Byrness.

Jayson Cavill day 5 | montane
Jayson Cavill, after an inspiringly gutsy performance, was forced to retire due to injury
© Mick Kenyon

Race Director Scott Gilmour had this to say of Cavill’s race, “Jayson has shown his world-class calibre over the last few days. He is an immensely strong runner who we know we’ll see on many a podium in the future”.

Returning winner, Eugenie Rosello Sole was also forced to retire at around 04:00 this morning.  His battered feet required the collective effort of the medical team to get strapped up, squeezed in and ready for him to move on.  It didn’t prove enough though and his pace dropped below the point where he was able to stay warm and safely continue. 

debbie martin consani day 5 spine race | montane
Montane Athlete Debbie Martin Consani looking confident in 2nd in the women’s race
© Mick Kenyon

Eugenie is an amazing athlete and larger than life character who we have no doubt will go on to major wins in the future.  We hope to see him on the Pennine Way again soon.

This means that Spine veteran Eoin Keith is now in 2nd position as he heads into the final section ahead of Simon Gfeller (SUI), Wouter Huitzing (NED) and leading woman Sabrina Verjee (GBR), all of whom are currently at CP5 in Bellingham.

simon gfeller day 5 spine race | montane
Confident race strategy will hopefully reward Montane Athlete with a podium finish © Mick Kenyon

Further down the course, the Spine Race finish line is still a long way away and dozens of brave runners are enduring wind speeds on high ground that leave them navigating through the night on their hands and knees.

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