Day 4 of the Montane Summer Spine Races

On day four, we see the overall podium conclusion to the 160 mile Montane Summer Spine Challenger North.

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On day four, we see the overall podium conclusion to the 160 mile Montane Summer Spine Challenger North. This is a new race to the summer series, yet we have an athlete – Jovica Spajic – with unfinished business from the winter series. The incredible partnership he formed with Tom Hill endured to the end resulting in a joint win. Congratulations to both winners for a fantastic display of Spine support for each other.

Sion Kennaway takes 3rd place. Sion was beaming once he received his medal, but endured a tough day yesterday, struggling in the heat on the approach to Greenhead which he described as the lowest point of his race. Sion had never previously covered this distance, his furthest previous distance being the 96-mile West Highland Way. He recalls noting the distance on his watch go beyond 96 in the woods above Hadrian’s Wall and thinking ‘Well, here we go…’, and indeed, there he went, straight onto the podium.

David Roy has reached Kirk Yetholm and taken 4th place after a seriously determined performance. David has been nursing a couple of injuries that had slowed his pace dramatically. It’s amazing what the idea of reaching the finish line can do for you though and he still managed to leap through the finishing arches and into the arms of his welcoming committee.

He described it as a brilliant race. When asked what his highlight was he said, without missing a beat, ‘the random things I was seeing last night’ indicating that the sleep monsters came for him at one point. We’re not sure we agree with David’s definition of ‘highlight’ but we know he has proven himself to be an outstanding athlete over the almost 50hrs since he left Hardraw

Currently, Eloise Eccles is holding a lead she established in the very early stages of this event. She passed through Bellingham earlier this afternoon and is now heading into the rain-soaked Cheviot Hills. It wasn’t a long stop at Bellingham, she’s making the most of the available daylight to push for Kirk Yetholm.

Katy McGowan in 2nd place is currently at Bellingham herself and it remains to be seen how long a stop this will be. She arrived fresh and focussed but has decided to grab some sleep, whilst in 3rd, Helina Turtinen is approaching. Helina holds her 3rd position at the moment, but Harriet Shield in 4th is moving faster and closing the gap. There could be changes yet on the podium before the morning.

In the Summer Spine, the field becomes very spread up the Pennine Way. Dave Phillips continues to build on lead now putting approximately 30 miles between himself and nearest competitors. We also follow the joint female leaders Laura Swanton-Rouvelin and Jenny Yeo who share their experience of the race so far, as well as those runners who are here to take on the challenge of Britain’s Most Brutal.

There is also healthy debate over whether the winter or summer race is harder?!

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Jenny Hall

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