The Spine Race witnessed its largest completion rate yet as 30 runners successfully endured 268 miles of non-stop mountainous terrain across the Pennine Way. Billed as Britain's 'most brutal race', Czech athlete Pavel ‘The Machine’ Paloncy finished first in a course record time of 110 hours and 45 minutes.
Considered the most testing National Trail in Britain, the Pennine Way crosses beautiful, difficult and challenging terrain and includes the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland National Park and the Cheviots, before finishing on the Scottish Borders.
The number of finishers in the event represents a marked increase from previous years, with just three participants successfully completing the course in 2012. Paloncy was followed by British runners Matt Davis (118 hours 31 minutes) and Steve Holyoak (121 hours 1 minute).
In conjunction with the 268 mile event, 20 runners managed to complete the Spine Challenger, a 108 mile, non-stop, 60 hour, winter mountain marathon between Edale and Hawes - an extremely technical section of the Pennine Way. Montane-sponsored athlete Marcus Scotney took first place in a time of 29 hours and 1 minute, with Grant MacDonald closely following (29 hours 33 minutes).
This year marked the introduction of GPS tracking to ensure organisers could keep tabs on all of the competitors. The system, which was provided by Open Tracking, ensured additional safety for the extremely challenging race, while also allowing the race to employ a live leaderboard to heighten excitement over the duration.
A recent post on the The Spine’s Facebook page provided a neat summary of the race: “A huge thanks for all your help and support. It was an amazing year for this event - great support for the runners, so much deserved recognition for an excellent event, being able to track and watch our runners from home.”