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Claire Bannwarth SHOCKED by personal best after defending Winter Spine Race title

Tomos Land
Staff Reporter
Published on
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Claire Bannwarth etched her name into the Spine Race history books this week, as the defending champion made it back-to-back wins at the Montane Winter Spine Race.

Having spent most of the race at the front, the French star opened up a considerable gap over the second half of the 268-mile race up the Pennine Way, eventually winning by over 12 hours ahead of British duo Hannah Rickman and Lucy Gossage.

Sharing her thoughts on the race, Bannwarth revealed just how hard the monumental challenge is, regardless of experience, adding that she was shocked to finish in a faster time than in 2023.

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“I didn’t plan to go faster”

Having taken the title at the beginning of last year in emphatic fashion, Bannwarth shared that she had no intentions of going out any quicker in 2024, with the fast pace taking its toll.

Claire Bannwarth finishes 2024 Montane Winter Spine Race.
[Photo Credit – Montane Winter Spine Race]

“This year was much much tougher. I didn’t plan to go faster; I just wanted to go at my own pace.”

Finishing in 92:02:23, Bannwarth beat her previous best by over five hours, a real testament to her ability to get the most out of herself on race day.

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“Everyone has been so kind”

For second place Rickman, who was also the runner-up here last year, the race was as much a mental battle as it was a physical one, with the infectious diseases doctor considering dropping out late into the race.

Hannah Rickman finished second at the Montane Winter Spine Race 2024.
[Photo Credit – Montane Winter Spine Race]

“I had a few tears in Byrness, and considered DNF’ing. The last section turned out to be more of a sprint finish than I’d wanted to make up time. It’s been a learning experience for sure. I’ve received so many hugs on the way and everyone has been so kind.”

Despite reaching the finish in Kirk Yetholm after third place finisher Gossage, Rickman was credited 1 hour 46 minutes for stopping to help a fellow competitor in distress earlier in the race, an act which the race organisers say exemplify the “spirit of camaraderie fostered at the Spine Race”.

Thanks to her ‘Good Samaritan Act’ time bonus, Rickman leapfrogged Gossage in the final standings, with her finishing time of 104:41:07 almost 17 hours quicker than the time she set in 2023.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.

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