Sprint Course record broken at the 2024 Montane Summer Spine

A new course record has been set for the Sprint race and the Challenger South winner has already been announced on the first day of the Montane Summer Spine event, despite unseasonably cool temperatures and Met Office weather warnings in place for some parts. 

The Montane Summer Spine Sprint race concluded with Molly Browne claiming first female in her first-ever ultra race, shaving eleven minutes off Hannah Rickman’s course record with a time of 8:30:29, while Rupert Allison claimed victory at the Montane Summer Challenger South with a time of 22:31:02 marking his third Spine Race course record in a row.

As rain poured down on the Pennine Way, 100 runners assembled at the start line to take on the 46-mile course of the Sprint race from Edale to Hebden Bridge. Six hours in, Molly Browne tracked ahead with Lizzie Broughton and Debbie Martin-Consani following behind. Arriving fourth overall and first female, Molly brought home gold in a course-record-breaking win. The female podium concluded with Lizzie Broughton in second and Debbie Martin-Consani placing third. 

In the men’s race, Stephen Earle took an early lead, pulling away from Liam Hinshelwood and Paul Johnston, who finished joint second to come in with a winning time of 8:21:49, exceeding his race expectations. The Sprint race concluded at Hebden Bridge in the early hours of Sunday [16th June] morning, with three finishers coming in with just minutes to spare.

Molly Browne, Montane Summer Spine Sprint Women’s record holder said: “It has been so tough, but I got to halfway and caught a couple of the guys, a nice group to run in and the atmosphere along the course is great. This was my first ultra so I wanted to finish before midnight so a good day on the Pennine Way and some of the views are amazing.”

Next to go was the Montane Summer Challenger South which after five hours saw Rupert Allison, winner and course record breaker of the Winter Spine Sprint, out in front with Jack Cooper. The chasing pack of leading women Ursula Sullivan, Marie-Lou Alemany and returning winner Mel Sykes holding strong with no clear winner as the runners make their way across the course.

Just before 7 am the winner of the Challenger South came in the form of Rupert Allison who crossed the line with a time of 22:31:02, breaking Tim Pigott’s Challenger South course record by around half an hour, as clouds made way for a flicker of early-morning sun. This win marks Rupert’s third Spine Race course record in a row after claiming the record for the Summer Sprint last year and the Winter Sprint in January. The Summer Challenger South race continues.

Ahead of the start of the full Montane Summer Spine race on June 16 Jon Shield, Winter Spine Sprint record holder and Montane athlete said his strategy is to: “Manage myself, I am not bothered about the pace at the start, people can go off and do their own thing.” When asked what he is looking forward to: “switching off from reality; the day-to-day emails. When you get out there, you can switch off; it’s my holiday.”

Follow along and get race updates via The Montane Spine FacebookInstagram x, and YouTube. More information can be found here.

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