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Huitzing and Hopkinson break MONTANE® Spine® Challenger records

by 1
Monday 15th January 2018
Both the men’s and women’s records fell in this year’s Montane Spine Race Challenger. Wouter Huitzing and Emma Hopkinson made light work of the brutal 174k race. 

challenger winners

Huitzing, who placed 4th in the 2017 race, shook off Simon Bourne (GBR) overnight at Malham to arrive at the finish line in Hardraw, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, at 09:44 Sunday morning. His time of 25:44:21 knocks well over two hours off Dominic Layfield's previous best from 2017.
“I feel horrible,” said Huitzing said, after the race. “Everything hurts. I was under a lot of pressure, because I was chased the whole time and I had to keep going and going and going. It was cold overnight, so I just kept speeding up to keep warm. I am happy. But so tired.”
Would he consider the full Spine® Race next time? “No. My girlfriend said I can't. But maybe the year after!”
Britain's Simon Bourne placed second, almost three hours behind Huitzing, with Ian Magee third, 20 minutes behind Bourne in 28:42:47.
Fourth-place overall, Britain's Emma Hopkinson won the women's race in a new course record of 29:39, knocking almost 40 minutes off Beth Pascall's record from 2016.
Former England-international fell-runner Hopkinson raced to the finish line holding hands with her two young daughters.
Cass Chisolm (GBR) placed second, five hours behind Hopkinson, with Jen Scotney (GBR) third.
Robin Smith looked likely to win the Spine® Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) Challenge (which is on the same course as the Spine® Challenger but only open to active Mountain Rescue personnel from England, Wales and the Scottish Borders), though Mike Fawcett isn't far behind. Steph Dwyer leads the women's race, from Jennifer Doe.
Runners have until 20:00 GMT Monday to reach the finish at Hardraw. There have been 19 retirees so far.
Meanwhile, in the full Montane Spine Race Jim Mann set an early lead. He is being hotly persued by three previous winners Eoin Keith (IRL) in second, Pavel Paloncý (CZE) third and Eugeni Roselló Solé (ESP) fourth.
Mann seemed focused but in good humour as he stocked up on pizza at the first of five major check points at Hebden Hey. By 21:00 he had grown his lead to about 3km.
John Knapp (GBR) is in fifth place, along with Carol Morgan (IRL), the current women's champion. Second woman is Sarah Kirsty Williams (GBR), with Daphné Derouch (FRA) third.
The weather is expected to deteriorate today so things are about to get even harder…
Available to view at http://live.thespinerace.com/

mages ©Montane Spine Race

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