Scottish runner Debbie Martin-Consani smashes Spine Race 2020
Debbie Martin-Consani, from Glasgow, became the second female to finish The Montane Spine Race 2020 today. She was the first Scot to complete this year’s gruelling 268-mile foot race along the Pennine Way, which started in Edale in England on Sunday.
It took the determined Garscube Harriers runner 118 hours 36 minutes and 23 seconds to reach the finish point in Kirk Yetholm in Scotland. The race took place during a week of brutal weather, including Storm Brendan. This was Debbie’s first Spine Race.
Some 10 hours earlier, the first woman home was Sabrina Verjee, from Cumbria, England, in a time of 108:07:17. Last year, Sabrina was the outright winner of the “summer Spine”.
She said: “A lot of people said I shouldn’t do the winter race because I’m not good in the cold. But I thought, yeah, that’s a real challenge then.
“I thought the winter race could get really hairy, and it did get really hairy.”
The third placed woman in The Spine 2020, Patricia Patterson, is still on the course,
Montane Spine 2020 winner John Kelly
The first man home was American John Kelly in a men’s record-breaking time of 87:53:57. He ran to a huge finishing gap of 30 miles over second placed Eoin Keith of Ireland. Third home was Swiss runner Simon Gfeller.
John’s time was superb considering the weather but he was still four hours behind the incredible course record set by Jasmin Paris, from Edinburgh, last year.
“Everything hurts,” John said when asked if he had anything to say about his win. “My body shut down at the final hut. I wanted to push past it and finish, but I was cold and didn’t want to risk it after what happened to Eugenie last year. But then I warmed up and I wasn’t numb anymore.”
John, who was the 2017 Barkley Marathons winner, added: “It was a really exciting race, especially coming out of Bellingham. I didn’t know if Jayson would be right on my heels. It was later I heard that Jayson was out, which I really hate for him.”.
Strong women runners
In this year’s Spine, Sabrina was the fifth runner to finish overall, while Debbie was eighth overall. At Kirk Yetholm, Debbie said: “I am knackered now. I had always thought the race would be a week of pure misery but I had way more highs than I had lows. It was amazing.”
See Debbie finishing:
One of Debbie’s friends and supporters, Lucy Colquhoun, who met her at CP5 at Bellingham yesterday, said: “I’m amazed that anyone can just carry on putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, in snow, gale force winds, through big, in pitch darkness and on no sleep.
“I guess once you do something like that you know life can’t throw anything at you that you can’t handle. But it’s a pretty extreme way to go about it!”
MONTANE Spine Race stats
- Distance: 430km/268 miles
- Overall ascent: 13,135m/43,093ft
- Overall descent: 13,255m/43,487ft
- Highest point: 892m/2,926ft (Cross Fell)
- Start: 08:00, Sunday, 12 January 2020
- Time limit: 168hrs (seven days)
- MONTANE® Spine® Race record: 83h 12m (2019), Jasmin Paris (GBR)
- New MONTANE® Spine® Race record (M): 87:53:57 (2020) John Kelly (US).
See more info at The Spine Race.