Day 5 of the Montane Summer Spine Races

Today we crowned our winner of the Montane Summer Spine 2023 Dave Phillips.

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Dave Phillips, who completed the course in 76 hours 59 minutes and 33 seconds has won by a truly significant margin over his closet rivals who are likely to complete half a day behind him.

Dave’s been hugely popular at checkpoints along the way. Affable, friendly, and always seeming to thoroughly relish the experience. Dave has been fighting sleep deprivation the entire way having slept for no longer than 15 consecutive minutes since he left Edale. He made excellent time across The Cheviots despite claiming that he took it steadily up there, and is the well-deserved winner of this summer’s Spine Race.

In other race news, Eloise Eccles has won the Montane Summer Spine Challenger North. Ellie described the Challenger North course as the better end of the Pennine Way, the section of the course with the most wow factor, and there’s no doubt she enjoyed herself during the race, taking in the scenery in the long hours of daylight. But there’s also no doubt that the sleep monsters have been lurking in the hedgerows and harassing our winner for much of the latter half of the race. This was an outstandingly tough performance. She finished in a time of 56 hours 4 minutes and 40 seconds.

Katy McGowan has taken 2nd place. Katy has been in 2nd position for the longest time and despite the strong performances of the female athletes behind her, she held and stretched her lead over the last 24hrs and crossed the finish line with hours of space behind her. There were some happy tears at the wall as the gravity of what she’s achieved dawned on her and her Dad came to congratulate her. Katy competed in the Summer Spine Sprint in 2022 finishing around the middle of the pack. Now she’s on the Podium of the Summer Challenger North. An outstanding result and a well deserved return on her training and preparation.

Congratulations to Helinä Turtinen, who took 3rd Female. She finished looking strong, fresh and focused. She held on to 3rd place despite Harriet Shields behind her regularly closing the gap and looking as if she might usurp her position.

Harriet Shields, who came here to earn her 6th Spine Finisher’s medal has now completed the Challenger South, Challenger North and full Spine Race in Summer and Winter, which is an astonishing and unique achievement. Harriet is an enthusiastic character and a seriously strong athlete and we always enjoy having her and husband Karl on our roster.

Huge congratulations to Dave, Eloise, Katy, Helinä and Harriet from all of us on the Spine Race, dot watchers included.

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Jenny Hall

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