Pavel Paloncý (CZE) has won the Montane Spine Race for the third time, in an event with several captivating twists and turns. Pavel won the race with a time of 109:50:22, despite suffering a three-hour time penalty and a temporary suspension of the race due to severe weather.
The race was led by Jim Mann (GBR) until checkpoint four, where he retired with an injured quad. Record holder Eoin Keith (IRL) was left with the lead, until he also had to retire 345km into the race due to exhaustion. This year has had particularly brutal weather and Paloncý talked of 'waist-deep snow' when he took the lead from Keith.
There was more drama to come when the race was suspended due to severe weather. Officials stated:
'Due to a severe weather warning, the Spine® Race was put on temporary hold in the evening. The decision has been taken because the safety of both the runners and the support staff was deemed likely to be seriously compromised. The forecast includes persistent and heavy snow fall, 45mph winds and extreme wind-chill. Racers are being held at CP3 (Middleton in Teesdale), Dufton, Greg's Hut, CP4 (Alston), CP5 (Bellingham) and CP5.5 (Byrness). The situation is being monitored closely and the race will restart as soon as it is safe to do so.'
In the women's race, current champion and course-record holder Carol Morgan (IRL) holds the lead, and barring a catastrophe looks set to win the race again, with Sarah Kirsty Williams (GBR) and Daphné Derouch (FRA) at least 30km behind.
At the time of writing there have been 43 retirees from the race, with 74 runners remaining.