Wednesday, 8th February 2023
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©The Spine Race

The Spine Race is off and first finishers in the Challenger

by 1
Sunday 14th January 2018
The Spine Race kicked off this morning (14th January) at 8am. 268 miles of muddy, boggy Pennine Way with a total of 13,000m of ascent. Doing a race like this in the Summer would be tough enough, but to run it in the bitter cold of January makes it an even tougher challenge. 
The men’s race sees Tom Hollins, 2017 champion, and Eoin Keith, the 2016 winner, return along with two-time winner Pavel Paloncý, 2013 winner Eugeni Roselló Solé and Jim Mann, winner of the 2015 Dragon’s Back. It will be very interesting to see how Italian Oliviero Bosatelli, previous winner of the epic Tor des Geants, does and Julian Morcillo is also hotly tipped. 
Eoin Keith expects his course record to be bettered. “I expect to see [it] fall this year,” he says. “There are a few [minor] course alterations, which may make the race a little faster. But even without those, I would expect that this depth of the talent will ensure it falls anyway. Whoever wins this year will have to race very well indeed.”
In the women's race, 2017 winner and course record-holder Carol Morgan returns. Last year she pulled away early and only increased her lead, finishing joint-sixth overall in a time of 109 hours and 54 minutes. Sarah Kirsty and Krasse Guoeorguiev are among the 12 women seeking to make it harder for her this time around.
While the Spine Race runners are only a few hours in and probably not feeling too bad, the Spine Race Challenger Race (107 miles) went off on Saturday morning so they’ve all had a night out in the wilds of the Pennines, where it’s been foggy high up. 
Wouter Huitzing and Simon Bourne went into the night as joint leaders but Huitzing finished as winner this morning. Bourne has also now finished and Ian Magee looks set to finish in third place soon.
In the women’s race Emma Hopkinson, a former fell-running international, has a big lead and Cass Chisholm and Jen Scotney are neck and neck for second and third. 
If you are a fan of dot watching, or if you just like to enjoy other people’s suffering there’s live tracking and a live leaderboard here: http://live.thespinerace.com/

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