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Eoin Keith and Debbie Martin-Consani win UK’s Spine Race

Keith, a former course record holder, finished second in 2020 and 2019

Photo by: Adam Jacobs

In a classic hare-and-tortoise tale, Eoin Keith has won Britain’s Montane Spine Race after numerous favourites were forced to drop out along its 430-kilometre course through the Pennines. His time was 92 hours, 40 minutes. Debbie Martin-Consani was the first woman to finish, arriving in Kirk Yetholm Thursday afternoon after 104 hours, eight minutes.

Damian Hall drops out of Montane Spine Race

Debbie Martin Consani on the Spine Race course. Photo: Adam Jacobs

The seven-day race covers the length of the Pennine Way, a national trail that extends from just south of Manchester into Scotland, starting on Jan. 8 at Edale in the Peak District, traveling through the Yorkshire Dales and over Hadrian’s Wall to Kirk Yetholm, with more than 11,000m of elevation gain.

Keith held the men’s course record previous to the American John Kelly breaking it in 2020 (though Jasmin Paris, who won overall in 2019, set a women’s course record of 83:12, which was faster than both Keith’s and Kelly’s records).

Taking place in winter, the race sees extreme cold and stormy conditions, which add significantly to its difficulty and prevent many from finishing, as we have seen. 

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

Second- and third-place finishers Doug Zinis and James Leavesley also arrived together on Thursday, touching the wall at the same time. The second woman to finish was Elaine Bisson; Lizzie Faithful-Davies was on track for third place after Nicolas Sommers dropped out on Wednesday.

Elaine Bisson takes second at the 2022 Montane Spine Race. Photo: Adam Jacobs

Keith’s victory came after race leaders Kim Collison, Damian Hall and Sabrina Verjee (who won the women’s race in 2021) were forced to drop out. Hall, who has two previous finishes to his name, was leading by a wide margin when he left the course 52 hours into the race; Eugeni Roselló Solé (the 2013 winner) took Hall’s place as leader, since Collison, who had been in second place, had also dropped, but Solé eventually dropped also.