The second day of racing was as action packed as the first at the 2023 Spine Race, in a twenty-four hour period that saw previous co-leader Kim Collison retire, Damian Hall continue to push on at the front and the Frenchwoman Claire Bannwarth march on determinedly with a 20-mile lead.
Collinson pulls plug at Tan Hill
After Hall and Collison arrived in Tan Hill following more than 30 hours of racing at 3:52pm, only one of the duo pushed onwards north as darkness began to descend.
Collison, who had spent the entirety of the first day and a half of racing alongside Hall, had decided to pull the plug. By Tan Hill, the pair were over an hour ahead of the course record set by Jasmin Paris in 2019, but the trailblazing pace saw Collison exit the race after over 125 miles of running.
Elsewhere in the field, Brits James Leavesley and Laura Swanton-Rouvelin also retired, with Leavesley dropping out at Middleton after featuring in the top five for much of the race and Swanton-Rouvelin calling it a day at Balham after spending the first 24 hours admirably chasing Bannwarth alongside fellow Brit Hannah Rickman.
Bannwarth and Hall solider on
Could this be the year that Damian Hall clinches the elusive Spine Race crown, with a course record to boot? The leader passed through Middleton at 8:25pm, more than an hour and a half ahead of record pace, as the loss of Collison seeming to spur the inov-8 athlete onwards.
After 48 hours, inov-8 had two athletes at the front of the race, as Hill held a steady lead over teammate Jack Scott, who as of early on Tuesday morning trailed the race leader by around five miles, but was clear of the rest of the field.
Scott and Hall both rested at the checkpoint in Middleton, where the pair briefly crossed paths, with Scott also ahead of the course record pace with just over 100 miles to go as the pair enter the crux of the competition in conditions where the “feel like” temperatures had dropped to as low as -15 degrees celsius.
Whilst she is not in contention to take down any records, Claire Bannwarth put her mark down on the Spine Race with a dominating performance over the first two days in the women’s competition.
According to the Spine Race instagram page, Bannwarth passed through Middleton “in high spirits and seems to be thriving on the course”, as she enjoys a lead of over 20 miles on second-placed Rickman.
Still in podium contention after the second day of racing are Douglas Zinis of Great Britain in the men’s race and Frenchwoman Fanny Jean in the women’s race, with the pair both racing hard but some distance behind second.
You can follow the rest of the race as it unfolds on the official live tracking via this link.