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First Woman to Ever Win the 268-mile Montane Spine Race Smashes Course Record

Photo: @TheSpineRace

Ultrarunner Jasmin Paris displayed a remarkable performance at the Montane Spine Race, beating the previous record by more than 12 hours.

Paris is the first female to win the race, beating the previous female record of 109:54:00 set in 2017 by Carol Morgan and the overall record of 95:17:00 by Eoin Keith in 2016.

Paris completed the 268-mile race in a time of 83:12:23.

The Spine Race

The Montane Spine Race is one of the toughest ultra-distance races in Europe and, arguably, in the world.

Taking place in winter, which brings a host of challenges for participants, the route follows the Pennine Way National Trail (429km). This trail goes from Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm on the Scottish border, going through the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines, Northumberland and the Cheviot Hills.

Participants must carry their provisions and rest only when needed while completing the course, which has elevation that matches climbing Everest twice over. Between checkpoints, the participants are on their own.

Jasmin Paris and the 2019 Spine Race

The race began on Sunday morning and continued late into Tuesday night. A trio of frontrunners formed, until existing record holder Irishman Eoin Keith pulled out of the race. Paris was neck and neck with 2013 Winner Eugeni Rosello Sole, but by the fourth checkpoint at mile 194, Paris had created a gap of seven miles, which she extended to 11 miles soon after.

Paris’ total rest time remarkably came to a mere 7-8 hours total over the course of the three and a half days. This time included eating, sleeping, and breastfeeding her child. The remaining 76 hours of Paris’ race time was spent conquering the distance.

Paris and Ultra Running

While 2019 was Paris’ first Spine Race, she was no stranger to challenging ultra races, nor to breaking boundaries.

The 35-year-old vet broke the female record for the Bob Graham Round in 2016 which is a loop that takes in 42 Lake District Peaks. She also broke the overall record for the 58-mile circuit Ramsay Round in the Scottish Mountains.

She then went on to claim sixth place at the 100-mile Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and also won the British women’s fell running championships.

Breaking Expectations

The live tracking created nail-biting excitement for those following the race. The prospect of an overall, record-breaking female winner prompted discussions over the possibilities of a single, gender-free record list in ultra running.

Exclamations of amazement appeared all over social media as Paris completed the course and reunited with her 14-month old daughter – her best motivator for getting to the finish.

Aoife has a BA in Creative Writing, English & Gaeilge from NUI Galway and has a passion for writing and all things fitness. She is currently an event coordinator at RunIreland.com.