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Claire Bannwarth back for more as Spine Race defence starts INCREDIBLE 2024 schedule

Jonathan Turner
News Director
Updated on
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Claire Bannwarth finished nearly 24 hours ahead of her nearest female challenger to win the Montane Winter Spine Race last year and she’s back to defend her title this week.

Billed as ‘Britain’s most brutal’ race, Bannwarth dominated from start to finish 12 months ago, smiling her way through much of the route as she also took fifth place overall.

Going the distance

While many would have an extended recovery after that, not the remarkable Frenchwoman who quickly added a victory at the ‘Belgian Legends’, the longest trail race in Belgium at 275km, and the TrailCAT 200 around Tarragona in Spain.

By her own reckoning she took part in an incredible 28 ultra events in 2023, with some of the other highlights being wins at the Tahoe 200 and Kodiak 100 by UTMB as well as a Colorado Trail FKT over nine days.

And chatting recently on the Freetrail podcast she explained with 200+ mile events such as the Spine are currently her favourite distance.

She told host Dylan Bowman: “Even in 100-mile races you are always looking at your watch.

“But at 200 miles it’s not just about speed, it’s also the mental aspect and avoiding problems.”

‘I can’t push myself if I don’t have a bib’

Looking ahead to 2024 she’s already posted a potential 29-event schedule on Instagram, with highlights including Hardrock 100 and UTMB.

And asked why she has such a packed race calendar she explained: “Every year I say I won’t do as much again – and every year I break that promise to myself.

“I’m always very steady in training – I can’t push myself if I don’t have a bib – so doing that many races is always a way for me to train. And I do races because I love it and I always have fun.”

Heading into the Spine she revealed she’s fresh after a break, albeit one of less than a week, adding: “I’m feeling good – I had a short break of four days and now I am ready for 2024.”

Claire Bannwarth 2023 winner snow photo credit Montane Spine Race
Claire Bannwarth wins the 2023 Winter Spine Race [Photo credit: Montane Spine Race]

The last two runner-ups in the women’s race, Hannah Rickman and Elaine Bisson, are back for another crack at the Winter Spine while Anna Troup, a Summer Spine record breaker and holder of the supported Pennine Way FKT, will also be in opposition as will ultrarunning legend Nicky Spinks.

The action gets under way at 0800 local time on Sunday from Edale in Derbyshire.

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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