Home > Trail Running

Barkley finisher leads Montane Spine Race with 140K to go

John Kelly, who currently lives in the U.K., has embraced the British ultratrail scene

Fans of Britain’s wind-lashed, 268-mile (429-kilometre) Montane Spine Race have been avidly watching the dots move on the live tracker since the race started Saturday. After 55 hours on the course and with about 140K left, the U.S.’s John Kelly is hanging onto a narrow lead over Spain’s Eugeni Roselló Solé.

Kelly, who currently lives in the U.K., was the last athlete to successfully finish the Barkley Marathons, in 2017. Kelly crewed for his friend Gary Robbins in 2018, and dropped out after two laps in 2019.

The course covers the length of the Pennine Way (a national trail that extends from northern England just south of Manchester into Scotland), involves over 11,000m of elevation gain, and has a time limit of seven days. It usually involves racing through winter storms, which are frequent in the Pennines.

RELATED: Jasmin Paris first woman to win UK’s Montane Spine Race

Jasmin Paris shocked the ultratrail world by winning the Spine Race outright last year in a course record-setting 83 hours, 12 minutes. Previous course record-holder Eoin Keith of Ireland finished second, and until earlier today was sitting in second position in the current race until he was overtaken by Solé.

Among the women, Sabrina Verjee, who won the summer version of the race overall in 2019, has held the lead consistently.

Kelly and the rest of the field made it through Storm Brendan, which continues to lash Britain with strong winds and rain.

Canadian Kevin Crowe (#137) is currently in 61st position.

Watch the dots move via the live tracker, here. Kelly is #181. Verjee is #253.