Pic: Jasmin Paris is reunited with 14-month-old daughter Rowan after the race (Credit: Yann Besrest-Butler/Montane Spine Race)
Jasmin Paris has completed one of the great achievements by a British trail runner by winning the Montane Spine Race in the fastest ever time by either a man or woman.
Covering the 268 miles from Edale in Derbyshire up the entire Pennine Way to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders in 83 hours 12 minutes and 23 seconds, the Inov-8 ambassador took 12 hours 5 minutes from the course record. Runners had to scale more than 16,000m of ascent and take on a similar amount of descent via Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland National Park, Hadrian’s Wall and the Cheviots before crossing the Scottish border.
After setting off at 8am on Sunday, winds died down to leave mild conditions for the 283 brave runners facing up seven days of racing.
Spain’s Eugeni Roselló Solé reached the early checkpoints marginally ahead but Paris and course record-holder Eoin Keith were never far away. A three-way tussle into Monday was ended when Keith decided on an hour’s sleep and lost ground. The lead pair were split on Tuesday, 45 minutes after checkpoint four at Alston, 194 miles into the race.
Keeping sleep to a minimum, Paris stretched out her lead. She said going into Tuesday night: “I’ve slept about two hours 15 minutes so far. I’m really enjoying myself. It’s a mixture of type-one and type-two fun. I’m eating a lot but I’ve barely seen the others eating.”
As daylight broke on Wednesday, she was well on course to break the course record, although over such terrain and distance nothing is certain and Roselló Solé continued to chase hard across the Cheviots.
Progress was naturally tough after more than three days on the move, but Paris held on for a tremendous win as darkness set in for a fourth time.
Outright victories for women in ultra races are not as rare as over shorter distances, but this nevertheless represents an incredible achievement.
Paris had previously been second overall at the Dragon’s Back, sixth woman at the UTMB and is a former Skyrunner World Series champion. She holds the fastest overall time for the Ramsay Round and has also set fastest women’s times for the Bob Graham Round, Paddy Buckley Round and Ramsay Round.