Eoin Keith, seen on a previous The Spine run. Photo: Chris Strickland

Eoin Keith, seen on a previous The Spine run. Photo: Chris Strickland

Ultrarunner Eoin Keith has clinched victory in the event dubbed Britain’s most brutal race.

The Cork-based runner smashed the record for The Montane Spine Race, arriving shortly after 9.15am today at the finish at Kirk Yetholm, 15 hours faster than any previous competitor.

The Irishman led the race for much of its later stages, breaking away from last year’s winner, Czech Pavel Paloncy as he headed north on the Pennine Way. Keith’s provisional race time was 95hrs 43mins.

Paloncy was on the Border Ridge, near Auchope Cairn at the time of writing. He, Keith and Spanish runner Eugeni Roselló Sole were all in contention at one stage, but Sole dropped out of the race at Bellingham.

Paloncy was the previous record holder of the gruelling race, which covers the full 431km (268 miles) length of the Pennine Way, with a time of 110hrs 45mins set in 2014.

Leading British runner in The Spine is Peter Wilkie, who is currently approaching Bellingham in third place.

Anna Buckingham leads the women, with fellow Brit Zoe Thornburgh just over half an hour behind her.

More than 30 men are still running in the race, along with four women. 26 competitors have so far dropped out of the race. The Montane Spine runners have had to contend with early heavy rain, which turned to snow as they headed north into Yorkshire, and freezing overnight temperatures in the later stages.

Tom Hollins won the shorter, 174km (108 miles) Spine Challenger Race with a time of 29hrs 25mins, with Beth Pascall and Matt Bennett in joint second place less than an hour behind.

Tim Budd of Glossop Mountain Rescue Team won the Spine Mountain Rescue Challenge, run on the same shorter route, with Joe Farnell second and Duncan Buchanan third. Sole women’s finisher in the mountain rescue event was Nicky Torr, with a time of 47hrs 30mins.

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