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FOLLOW LIVE: The Montane Winter Spine Race 2024 – updates and how to dot watch

All you need to know about this most brutal of races across the spine of England in mid-winter, as multiple former winners take their place on the start line
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Race Guide

The Winter Spine Race is an annual unsupported ultramarathon held in the UK each winter and is widely regarded as ‘Britain’s most brutal race’.

In 2023, Damian Hall claimed a dramatic overall victory, setting a new male record time in the process, while Claire Bannwarth dominated from start to finish to win the women’s event.

The only runner to complete the race faster than Hall is Jasmin Paris, who clocked 83hrs 12mins when she became the first woman to win the race outright in 2019.

The race is a continuous one and the competitors only sleep when they choose to.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2024 version…

Spine Race LIVE - tracker & updates

The Winter Spine Race 2024 started in Edale in the Peak District at 0800 UK time on Sunday, January 14th. It was dry but chilly, with the temperature zero degrees and and not forecast to get much above that over the coming days.

You can follow how the race unfolded with our detailed updates below…

Competitors had exactly a week to complete the course, though the first runner would cross the line in not much over three days in a record-breaking time.

A combination of the remoteness of the route, potential severity of the weather and a very light race calendar for most non-competing runners at this time of year makes it one of the most followed races of the year.

Each competitor carries a GPS tracking device, which allows race organisers to monitor their progress and to ensure every competitor stays safe. The GPS device also allows fans to follow the race online. Dot Watchers can follow the progress of the runners pretty much in real time by tracking those GPS signals via this link.

18 January 2024 7:00 am
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Bannwarth goes back-to-back
Claire Bannwarth never looked in danger as she successfully defended her title at the Spine Race. The Frenchwoman led throughout and finished in splendid isolation - and in a time five hours quicker than last year.
17 January 2024 9:00 pm
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Top two women closing in
Claire Bannwarth is within touching distance of defending her crown in the women's race at the Spine. The Frenchwoman has again been untouchable - but former triathlon star Lucy Gossage has made her mark too and looks booked for second.
17 January 2024 11:00 am
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'I nearly DNF'd'
Jack Scott revealed after his epic win some of the battles he had faced - firstly just to get to the start line in top shape and then at mile 85 near Malham where he said: "I wasn't in a good place". He came through that though and called it a performance he was "incredibly proud of".
17 January 2024 9:00 am
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Scott claims record-breaking win
Jack Scott ripped up the record books as he knocked more than 10 hours off the previous best time to win the Montane Winter Spine Race. It was an incredible performance against what was definitely the strongest men's field ever assembled.
16 January 2024 11:00 pm
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Scott and Bannwarth in control
After a dramatic few days it now looks like Jack Scott and Claire Bannwarth are going to take the wins at the Montane Winter Spine Race. Scott, denied in agonising circumstances last year, is now well ahead of defending champ Damian Hall. And Bannwarth is again out on her own in the women's race, though debutant Lucy Gossage continues to excel in second.
16 January 2024 8:00 am
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'More bad-news-breakfast'
2013 winner Eugeni Roselló Sole, last year's Summer Spine victor Dave Phillips and up-and-coming James Nobles all exited the race on Monday night / Tuesday morning. But up front it's again Jack Scott and Damian Hall in the men's race and Claire Bannwarth in the women's - with all-time records under threat.
15 January 2024 8:00 pm
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Collison out, diversion in place
Day two started dramatically with high-profile exits - and ended that way too. Kim Collison dropped out of the lead group - and the race - while "seriously icy conditions" prompted the first diversion to the route. But things are boiling up nicely for exciting finishes in both the men's and women's races.
15 January 2024 6:00 pm
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Triathlon star excelling
She said beforehand that she wouldn't be near the front on her debut at the Spine Race. How quickly things can change! A multiple Ironman winner, midway through day two she's worked her way up to third.
15 January 2024 11:00 am
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'You can't run the Spine on one leg'
Not long after John Kelly's exit, another big name and former winner is ruled out. Pavel Paloncy did everything he could to keep going but a knee injury unfortunately proved too much.
15 January 2024 9:00 am
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'I guess I can get a haircut now'
Sad news as 2020 winner and Pennine Way FKT record holder John Kelly is forced out of the race. As he comes to terms with the ankle injury which ended his hopes, he underlines the spirit of the Spine Race as he vows to now help out with the support team.
15 January 2024 8:00 am
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Shock exits for Kelly and Paloncy
There was plenty of drama through the night as first 2020 champion John Kelly - one of the big favourites for the overall win - made a shock exit at the Cowling checkpoint. He later explained he'd sprained his ankle and he was joined on the sidelines early on Monday by three-time winner Pavel Paloncy. But reigning champions Damian Hall and Claire Bannwarth continue to make good progress, the former ahead of course record time.
14 January 2024 9:00 pm
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Rickman shakes up women's race
Twelve hours into the race and things have started well for defending champions Damian Hall and Claire Bannwarth. It's early days but Simon Roberts and James Nobles, first and second at the Cheviot Goat, are making their mark too. In the women's race Hannah Rickman briefly moved to the head of affairs but Claire Bannwarth is now back in front.
14 January 2024 1:30 pm
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Deja vu as Hall and Bannwarth lead
There was a familiar look to the Spine Race approaching midway on day one. In the men's race Damian Hall and Kim Collison were in front just as they had been early on 12 months ago. And Claire Bannwarth was straight into the lead in the women's standings - with 2023 runner-up Hannah Rickman in second.
14 January 2024 9:00 am
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Big guns among early leaders
Plenty of the pre-race favourites made a fast start as they covered just over five miles in the first hour. They included last year’s one-two Damian Hall and Jack Scott, as well as John Kelly and 2013 winner Eugeni Roselló Solé, who was one of the first withdrawals 12 months ago.

NOTE - the X (Twitter) timeline functionality doesn't appear to be working on mobile but is ok on desktop / laptop devices. This appears to be an issue with X itself

The Spine Race

start list

There’s little doubt that the 2024 renewal has the strongest start list in the race’s history.

Nine of the last 10 winners on the men’s side line-up while Claire Bannwarth returns to defend her women’s crown and is joined in the field by ultrarunning icon Nicky Spinks who makes her long-awaited Spine Race debut.

Damian Hall and Jack Scott finished side-by-side in Kirk Yetholm 12 months ago, with a time penalty for a navigation error costing Scott dear – but he’s back to try again.

Czech star Pavel Paloncy returns for the first time since his last victory in 2018 and he’s joined by another three-time winner in Eoin Keith.

Throw in the intriguing presence of John Kelly, who can’t resist a return to the race he won in 2020, and dot watchers are in for an absolute treat.

It’s not just about Bannwarth and Spinks in the women’s field.

The last two runner-ups, Hannah Rickman and Elaine Bisson, are back for more as is Anna Troup, a Summer Spine record breaker and holder of the supported Pennine Way FKT.

It should be epic.

Notable runners

Route

Participants start the 268 miles (431km) course – which includes almost 13,300m of elevation gain – in Edale in the Peak District. From here, they then race along the Pennine Way National Trail up through the North of England before finishing in Kirk Yetholm on the English-Scottish border.

The trail crosses some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of England, with competitors following the Pennine Way through the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland National Park and Hadrian’s Wall to name a few. Over the 268-mile course, participants will experience every type of terrain the North of England has to offer, as well as some of its famously unfavourable winter weather.

additional route details & race info

Analysis

As we’ve said, there’s never been a stronger field on the men’s side so picking a winner isn’t easy.

John Kelly had relatively little experience of the Pennine Way route four years ago but it’s a different story now and he comes here after a memorable 2023 where he notched a second finish at the infamous Barkley Marathons.

Even in such a strong field he looks the favourite and if you’re after a wildcard then the up-and-coming James Nobles is taking a step into the unknown but that didn’t stop him winning the Dragon’s Back in 2022 or the Northern Traverse in 2023.

For the women, the incredible Claire Bannwarth is surely the one to beat.

She finished nearly 24 hours ahead of her nearest rival last year and has again lined up a packed ultrarunning schedule for 2024. She comes here fresh too after a four-day off-season!

Nicky Spinks’ presence adds pure quality into the mix and it will be fascinating to see how she fares – last time out she was the emphatic winner of the Montane Cheviot Goat.

Winners, results & records

In 2019, fell and ultra-runner Jasmin Paris set the Spine Race course record with a time of 83:12:13. – becoming the first woman to win the race and beat the previous course record by an impressive 12 hours. Throughout her four days on the course, Paris only rested for a mere seven hours – where she ate, slept and even expressed breast milk for her baby daughter.

Damian Hall holds the fastest time for a male competitor recording a time of 84:36:24 in the 2023 iteration of the race.

Irish raider Eoin Keith (2016, 2019 and 2019) and Czech adventurer Pavel Paloncy (2014, 2015 and 2018) have the most Spine Race titles and both are back again this year.

2023 – Damian Hall / Claire Bannwarth

2022 – Eoin Keith / Debbie Martin-Consani

2021 – not run due to COVID

2020 – John Kelly / Sabrina Verjee

2019 – Eoin Keith / Jasmin Paris* (*overall winner too)

2018 – Pavel Paloncy / Carol Morgan

2017 – Tom Hollins / Carol Morgan

2016 – Eoin Keith / Anna Buckingham

2015 – Pavel Paloncy / Beth Pascall

2014 – Pavel Paloncy / Debbie Brupbacher

2013 – Eugeni Roselló Sole / Annabel Gates

Past winners

2012
Claire Bannwarth
152:23:00

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Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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