Kim Collison, in the lead group from virtually the outset, is the latest high-profile retirement at the Montane Winter Spine Race.
Collison’s CV features a whole host of wins in UK ultras as well as several FKT’s (fastest known times).
He had been running with reigning champion Damian Hall and Konrad Rawlik at the head of affairs, but he exited the race between the Tan Hill and Langdon checkpoints.
Scott and Nobles move into contention
Hall continues to go well as he looks to defend his title but Rawlik has been overtaken by relative ‘newbies’ Jack Scott and James Nobles.
Scott of course finished alongside Hall last year, though a time penalty cost him the chance of the win, while Nobles is making his Spine Race debut after winning the Northern Traverse in 2023.
It promises to be a fascinating battle and it’s a similar story in the women’s event.
Gossage making her mark
Incredible French ultrarunner Claire Bannwarth remains in pole position but last year’s runner-up Hannah Rickman and debutant Lucy Gossage, a multiple Ironman winner in triathlon, are going well in second and third.
Conditions remain relatively good in that it’s dry and solid underfoot – but it’s also getting icy.
And that led to the first diversion this year, with race organisers announcing the change of plan at Cauldron Snout due to the “seriously icy conditions”.
They posted: “Runners will divert away from the River Tees at Saur Hill Bridge and rejoin again after passing Cow Green Reservoir.”
Dot Watchers can follow the progress of the runners pretty much in real time by tracking their GPS signals via this link.