Eoin Keith has claimed his second Montane Spine Race overall title, reaching the finish line at Kirk Yetholm in just 92 hours 40 minutes & 30 seconds.
At the time of writing Debbi Constani is the fastest woman and looks set to win on her second appearance at the event.
A quick recap if you haven’t come across the Spine before. Essentially it’s a winter race along the course of the 268-mile Pennine Way which follows the spine – geddit – of England from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish borders. First held with just a handful of runners in 2013, it’s since established itself as one of the most brutal ultra races in the world. As well as facing difficult terrain and weather, racers must carry between 5 and 10kg of mandatory equipment including bivi kit, stove and other survival gear, all carefully chosen for a balance of functionality and lightness.
It’s been a hugely compelling race this year with perhaps one the strongest line up of competitors the event has seen and multiple leaders dropping out along the way.
Taking a sure and steady approach, Irishman Eoin Keith spent most of the race in third place behind serial FKT setter and Spine Race veteran Damian Hall and Eugeni Roselló Solé, another former winner of the event.
Spending the first few days in the lead, Hall looked destined to storm to the finish, only for a groin injury to force him to pull out, thus surrendering the lead to Roselló Solé. But the Spaniard’s own time at the front didn’t last long, with an injury putting an end to his hopes of a second Spine Race title.
The opportunity then fell to Eoin Keith who successfully managed to hold off Dougie Zinis and James Leavesley for over a day before crossing the finish line at Kirk Yetholm.
Zinis and Leavesley both took second place, finishing arm in arm after falling into pace with each other at Tan Hill.