YORKSHIRE WINS THE SPINE RACE
Tom Hollins and Carol Morgan triumph at Britain’s most gruelling, bog-filled multi-day race
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: