Tom Hollins and Carol Mor­gan tri­umph at Bri­tain’s most gru­elling, bog-filled multi-day race

Trail Running (UK) - - Warm- Up - www.thes­pin­er­ace.com

York­shire anaes­thetist Tom Hollins (right) was the sur­prise win­ner of the 2017 Mon­tane Spine Race. ‘Bri­tain’s most bru­tal race’ takes place on the 268-mile Pen­nine Way, Eng­land’s old­est and tough­est Na­tional Trail. Tom, who banked more sleep early on, over­took for­mer win­ners Pavel Paloncý (CZH) and Eu­geni Rosello Sole (ESP) with around 30 miles to go, reach­ing the fin­ish at Kirk Yetholm in the Scot­tish Bor­ders in the race’s sec­ond­fastest-ever time (99:25:36).

“Most of it was a gen­uine plea­sure,” Tom told TR. “Just run­ning, eat­ing and en­joy­ing the views. But there were tough mo­ments too. I didn’t en­joy Great Shun­ner Fell and Cross Fell in the dark and mist. Very dis­ori­en­tat­ing. Those were noth­ing com­pared to Byr­ness on­wards though. I planned to stop, but kept go­ing to keep my gap on Pavel and Eu­geni, and im­me­di­ately re­gret­ted it. I felt rub­bish. I felt sick. Couldn’t eat. Stopped mov­ing well. Started hal­lu­ci­nat­ing, see­ing faces in flag­stones. Fell again and again and again. I lay down a cou­ple of times to sleep by the side of the path. I ground it out.”

Ire­land’s Carol Mor­gan (above left), also a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional in York­shire, won the women’s race, break­ing the record by a whop­ping 43 hours, with 109:54. “It was fan­tas­tic,” she told TR, “a bril­liant chal­lenge. I had four tar­gets. One, to fin­ish. Two, to be first woman. Three, to be top ten over­all. And four, to fin­ish un­der four and a half days – which I didn’t quite do un­for­tu­nately!”

Tom’s tak­ing a while to ad­just back to nor­mal life. “I dreamt I was still rac­ing for a week. Then I dreamt that my part­ner, Sara, left me for Nigel Farage.”

Look out for the new Mon­tane Spine Fu­sion and Flare races this sum­mer:

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