Carol Morgan wins the 2018 MONTANE Spine Race
Irish ultra runner Carol Morgan has won the gruelling MONTANE Spine Race for a second year in a row. She arrived at the Border Hotel, Kirk Yetholm, the end point of the Pennine Way National Trail and the Spine Race on Friday at 6:37pm with an overall time of 130 hours and 37 minutes.
Carol’s time for the 268-mile (431km) non-stop race is slower than her record winning time of 109 hours and 54 minutes last year, but this year’s race was paused for 12 hours due to severe weather.
In the final 42km section across the remote Cheviot Hills, Carol battled 50mph winds, severe wind chill and thigh-high snow drifts for almost 17 hours, solo.
She said: “What a grand finale. It was very beautiful. There were big open expanses, with blue skies and no one there. I was eating ice, because I was so thirsty.
“I’m tired though. It has been really tough. ”
Kirsty Williams (GBR) came home second some 21 hours later. She described the Cheviot Hill section as “genuinely horrific”.
Kirsty added: “The night was harder than I could have possibly imagined. There were no tracks, so I’ve been wading through thigh-deep snow for 10 to 12 hours. That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.
“This isn’t an endurance race, it’s a survival event. But did I ever think I might not make it? No way! It was epic. It was beyond epic.”
In the men’s Montane Spine Race, this year’s winner for the third time was Pavel Paloncý in a time of 109hrs 50mins. The Czech ultra runner arrived at the finish line on Thursday ahead of Simon Gfeller of Switzerland and Britain’s John Knapp.
Simon said: “It was much tougher this year, especially the winds and snow. The snow was worse in the Cheviots, but Cross Fell was the coldest.”
John added: “I wanted a winter adventure and I got it.”
On Friday there had so far been 65 retirements in the 2018 MONTANE Spine Race, with 43 finishers.
See Montane Spine Race.