Eoin Keith wins Montane Spine Race

Irishman takes his second overall win in the 260-mile event

Eoin Keith crosses the finish line in Kirk Yetholm to win the Montane Spine Race

by Paul Halford |

Eoin Keith and Debbie Martin-Consani have taken victory in the Montane Spine Race, one of the world's toughest events.

Finishing in Kirk Yetholm, Scottish Borders, Keith covered the route of the entire Pennine Way through the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland National Park and the Cheviots in 92 hours 40 minutes 30 seconds.

The Irishman, who won outright in 2016 and was also first man behind Jasmin Paris in 2019, adds to his victory in the Montane Summer Spine Race last year.

He crossed the finish line more than three hours ahead of the runner-up, having set off from Edale in Derbyshire on Sunday morning.

Times are not comparable to previous years as the course had to be shorted by 15 miles due to unpassable routes as a result of Storm Arwen.

As many of the favourites - such as Kim Collison, Damian Hall, Anna Troup, Sabrina Verjee and Eugenie Rosello Sole - dropped out, the consistent Keith ran his own race to prevail. James Leavesley and Douglas Zinis finished together in second and third in 96:06:30 after running the second half of the race with each other.

Women's winner Debbie Martin-Consani after finishing in Kirk Yetholm
Women's winner Debbie Martin-Consani after finishing in Kirk Yetholm ©Adam Jacobs

Keith, who has finished second overall three times, said afterwards: "This was a special win for me. I didn’t think I had a hope, I thought I’d give it my best, but there were just so many class runners here."

Asked about his tactics, he added: "To run my own race. It was my most comfortable and balanced Spine Race. I don’t have gear five anymore, but I’ve always said if you run your own race, and optimise your own performance, your best performance will come out."

Martin-Consani finished later on Thursday afternoon in 104:08:22, nearly three hours ahead of the next woman and in seventh overall. She finished despite a back injury which had her limping across the line. She said afterwards: "It’s quite unbelievable, nobody is more shocked about it than me.

She took over at the frost after Sabrina Verjee pulled out 28 hours into the race. "It changed the whole make-up of the race," said the winner. "I’d just been doing my own thing and then I had to think about how everyone else was doing. It changed the last few days completely."

Elaine Bisson was second in 107:00:38 and Lizzie Faithfull-Davies third in 112:47:47.

Dozens are still out on the course and have until Sunday at 8am to complete it.

Pics: Jamie Rutherford/Adam Jacobs

Eoin Keith
©Jamie Rutherford
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