After last years fearsome winds and with hurricanes battering the UK’s north for past weeks, speculation of what would greet competitors was rife. A mild winter finally reared its back in spectacular fashion promising The Spine Race would live up to its fearsome reputation.
Screenshot from Summit Fever Media's Day 2 Update video
A competitive start, the Challengers stuck together, forcing a rapid pace over the initial miles climbing out of Edale. Beth Pascal, 2015 Spine Race Women’s winner stuck to the front, running with partner Matt Bennett. Tom Hollins, Mark Roberts, Dave Hourigan, Richard Keefe and Gary Chapman were tripping over one another’s heels over the opening hours. With racers so close, it was impossible to pick out an early favourite.
Pushing on, the miles quickly fell and going into the first night the Spine struck back. Snow began to fall, turning a saturated fell side into a slushy ice rink. As Pavel Paloncy (2014 & 2015 Spine Race Winner) was later to say “Last year we had wind, the year before snow. Now we have it all.”
Although ZZZ could be seen on the tracker, it was clear the leaders were still moving, attacking the climb of Pen-y-gent before the final push to Hawes.
Tom had opened up a 4km lead over Beth and Matt who were running together. Slow moving and with a groin strain, Tom would go onto succeed in descending into Hawes as the 2016 Spine Race Challenger Winner, in a time of 29 hours 25 minutes. Up till his injury Marcus Scotney was on social media, ready to head out on a run, but unable to leave the live tracker live.thespinerace.com incase his impressive course record of 29 hours 1 minute in 2014.
Screen shot from Summit Fever Media's Day 2 Update
Beth and Matt were not far behind, Beth taking the Women’s title and joint 2nd with Matt in a time of 30 hours 18 minutes. If that had not been a reason to celebrate, Beth Pascal took 11 hours 41 minutes off Annabel Cremin’s Course Record of 41 hours 59 minutes.
Matt Bennett and Beth Pascal - Image Credit The Spine Race
Rounding off the victory’s, the inaugural Spine Race Mountain Recue Team Challenger was won by Tim Budd in 32 hours 10 minutes, representing Glossop Mountain Rescue Team.
Tim Budd - Image Credit The Spine Race
A tough two days for all and huge achievement running through the night in adverse conditions.
The addition of snow goggles to the mandatory kit for 2016 was a wise choice by the Race Directors!
Of course, this is only the beginning with many still battling the elements to complete he 108 mile Spine Challenger and the 268 mile Spine Race is still in its infantsy.
For more information on The Spine Race and Challenger visit www.thespinerace.com