One of the world’s most brutal ultra-running events lives up to its reputation as Hall covers 268 miles on a couple of hours sleep
Ultra-runner and AW contributor Damian Hall crossed the finish line in Kirk Yetholm as the winner of the 2023 Montane Winter Spine Race on Thursday (Jan 19).
Hall ran the gruelling Pennine Way event with fellow competitor Jack Scott, with Scott finishing runner-up due to incurring a 40-minute penalty for a navigational error mid-race.
Hall said: “I thought we were going to have a nice time running together but every time I saw Jack he seemed to keep pushing harder.”
Both runners beat the previous men’s course record with Hall clocking 84hr 36min 24sec – taking three hours off the record set by John Kelly of the United States.
However, the overall course record of 83:12:23, is still held by Jasmin Paris.
The Spine Race, which first took place in 2012, is a non-stop challenge from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders, along the full Pennine Way through the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and over Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland to the Cheviots.
Held when the winter weather can be brutal in the UK, runners carry their own kit throughout and rest only if and when they wish.
“Over the Cheviot Hills we were knee-deep in snow for about 10 hours. Jack pushed me right to the end. Retiring last year with an injury really frustrated me so I wanted to come back and do better. It’s been an incredible race.” said Hall.
READ MORE: Damian Hall on eco-friendly athletics
Scott, 28, took to ultra-running as a means of recovering from a gambling addiction. “Running has become something within me that I now can’t remove,” he explained. “I’m pursuing some goals and taking some risks. I want to see how far and how fast I can run.”
Douglas Zinis and Joe O’Leary crossed the line together to take joint third.
Claire Bannwarth of France was the first woman home as she finished fifth overall.
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