Scotland-based Jasmin Paris, 35, has won Britain’s 268-mile (429K) Montane Spine Race in 83 hours, 12 minutes, making history as the first woman ever to win the gruelling winter ultra and smashing the men’s and women’s course records in the process. The Spine Race, which 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. 

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The race is still in progress, with several of the 137 starters remaining on the course. But the news of Paris’s win has taken British fell running by storm, so to speak.

The course stretches from Edale in the Peak District, through the Yorkshire Dales and over Hadrian’s Wall to Kirk Yetholm. The previous overall record on of 95 hours, 17 minutes was set by Eoin Keith of Ireland in 2016. Keith raced this year also, finishing second behind Paris, with a time of 98:18:23. The women’s record (109:54:00) was set by Carol Morgan, also of Ireland, in 2017.

After 126 hours, Shelli Gordon of Great Britain is currently in second position on the course, and Gabriele Kenkenberg of Germany is in third. John Knapp of Great Britain was the second male to finish, in 102:19:23, and Gwynn Stokes, also of Great Britain, is currently in third position on the course.

Paris is a highly accomplished ultrarunner, having finished as sixth female at UTMB and won the Skyrunner World Series (extreme category) in 2016 and setting the fastest known time (FKT) for both the Bob Graham Round and the Ramsay Round that same year. She is also Britain’s reigning national fell running champion. This was Paris’s first time competing at the Spine Race. She is still breastfeeding her 14-month-old daughter, and had to express milk frequently during the race to avoid becoming uncomfortably engorged (on top of all the other discomforts of racing 268 miles through snowstorms while carrying a shelter, sleeping bag and mat).

The race has been run every year since 2012, and usually sees fewer than half the starters finish, due to the difficulty of the course and often extreme winter weather. This year 125 men and 12 women from 15 countries started on Saturday. 

Paris is sponsored by the British shoe brand Inov-8, maker of the famous Mudclaw and TerraUltra trail shoes incorporating the revolutionary material graphene into the sole.

Paris is a small-animal veterinarian who works as a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, studying acute myeloid leukemia.

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