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Claire Bannwarth secures back-to-back wins with incredible victory at 2024 Montane Winter Spine Race

Tomos Land
Staff Reporter
Updated on
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Frenchwoman Claire Bannwarth capped off an incredible last 12 months with a brilliant win at the 2024 Montane Winter Spine Race, as she defended her title from last year’s event.

Having started her hot streak of incredible race results with a win here last January, it was fitting that Bannwarth returned to the Pennine Way to record back-to-back wins at the beginning of 2024.

Finishing fifth overall, Bannwarth became part of a select club to have defended their title and did so in a personal best, running five hours quicker than she did this time last year.

Having moved to the front right from the gun, Bannwarth was briefly challenged by last year’s runner-up Hannah Rickman at the start of the race, but after that there was no looking back.

Class of her own

Having set off at 08:00 on Sunday, January 14, Bannwarth stopped the clock at 04:02:23 on Thursday, January 18, completing the 268-mile journey up the Pennine Way in an incredible 92:02:23.

With second place Lucy Gossage still out on the course, who clocked into the penultimate checkpoint at Byrness almost nine hours after Bannwarth, it looks like the Frenchwoman’s margin of victory will be a comfortable one.

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

Last year, Bannwarth clocked 97:39:58, which she bested by more than five hours after a brilliant season which also saw her pick up wins at the Kodiak Ultra Marathons and Tahoe 200 Endurance Run.

Plaudits flood in for Bannwarth

With fans able to follow and send messages of support to the racers via the official tracker, the plaudits quickly flooded in for Bannwarth, with supporters showering the French star in congratulations.

The race organisers were also quick to laud her incredible achievement, as they shared an emotive message crediting the ‘infectious’ joy that she brings to all the races she enters.

“It’s a joy to watch Claire race. Not just because she is an exceptional athlete with the full tool kit of mental and physical strengths required to so consistently produce elite performances, but because she quite obviously takes such joy in the simple act of running long distances in wild places.

“That joy is infectious, and her enormous talent and hunger for more and more of these experiences is inspiring. Massive congratulations, and gratitude, from everyone at the Montane Spine Race.”

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

In the women’s race, Gossage was the second athlete to reach Kirk Yetholm ahead of last year’s runner-up Hannah Rickman. However, Rickman was credited time by the race organisers for helping out a competitor in distress and thus secured back-to-back second place finishes.

“Safety is the highest priority during the Spine Race and it has long been our practice to credit back time to those who give up theirs to assist other runners in need. On Tuesday evening, during the challenging blizzard conditions on Cross Fell, Hannah Rickman abandoned her race for a time to assist a runner in distress and guide them safely to the next checkpoint.”

The race organisers credited Rickman 1 hour 46 minutes, which saw her leapfrog Gossage in the final standings who in turn rounded out the results with a fantastic third place finish.

Montane Spine Race Results, started Sunday 14 January 2024, 268 miles.

Women:

  1. Claire Bannwarth (FRA) – 92:02:23
  2. Hannah Rickman (GBR) – 104:41:07
  3. Lucy Gossage (GBR) – 106:05:26
  4. Elaine Bisson (GBR) – 111:40:56
  5. Nicky Spinks (GBR) – 111:40:56
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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