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John Kelly and Damian Hall to go head-to-head in 2024 Spine Race

Chris Buckley
Editor & Trail Runner
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American John Kelly and Britain’s Damian Hall will renew their Pennine Way rivalry in January when they go head-to-head in the 2024 Spine Race.

Kelly won The Spine Race in 2020 setting a men’s course record in the process. At the time he vowed never to run the race again but after Hall broke his record earlier this year his interest in the race was rekindled.

And yesterday he confirmed via his social media that he would be back saying ’It’s been too long my friend. I hope you’ve saved me a seat.’

That comment is reference to what has become an iconic Spine Race image when Kelly collapsed into a makeshift ‘plant-pot’ seat after finishing the race.

Rivalry on Pennine Way

The rivalry between the two friends reached the public’s attention in the summer of 2020 when Kelly broke a 31-year-old record by completing the 261 mile Pennine Way in two days, 16 hours and 46 minutes, only for Hall to snatch the record from him a mere eight days later taking three hours off Kelly’s time.. 

Not to be outdone, Kelly took to the Pennines again in May of 2021 and smashed the record with a remarkable two days, 10 hours and 4 minutes – a record that still stands.

Teaming up at Barkley Marathons

The two were again in the spotlight together earlier this year as they teamed up on the early laps of the Barkley Marathons with both men starting the fifth and final lap. Kelly went on to complete the race for the second time but was pipped to victory by France’s Aurelien Sanchez. Hall dropped out early in that final lap.

The 2024 Spine Race begins on January 14 from Edale in Derbyshire with competitors facing a 268 mile, non-stop race that finishes at Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.

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Written by
Chris Buckley
With his passion for endurance running and love of content sees Chris contribute regularly to RUN247 using his experience of both to generate news, race previews and product reviews. 

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