A runner heads along Blackstone Edge as night falls. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A runner heads along Blackstone Edge as night falls. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Runners in the Montane Spine Race, dubbed Britain’s most brutal race, face worsening conditions as the race enters its second day.

Jim Mann heads the field, setting a fast pace, as the event continues into the early morning hours, with record-holder Eoin Keith in second place and two-times winner Pavel Paloncý close behind in third place.

Overnight temperatures are around the freezing mark, but with strong south-westerly winds making it feel more like -8C. Rain and sleet are now battering the runners, the fastest of whom have entered the Yorkshire Dales national park.

Eugeni Roselló Solé is currently fourth, while last year’s winner Tom Hollins has overhauled John Knapp to take fifth position, with fastest woman Carol Morgan close behind the pair in seventh overall place.

Jim Mann has set a fast pace and leads the race. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Jim Mann has set a fast pace and leads the race. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Runners in the race, which entails covering the whole 268-mile length of the Pennine Way, face deteriorating weather, with snow showers on Monday and overnight windchill temperatures of -14C on the hills.

Blizzards, storm force winds and thunderstorms are possible on Tuesday, with rain later in the week.

The Montane Spine Challenger race, run over the southern 174km (108 miles) of the Pennine Way between Edale in the Peak District and Hardraw in the Yorkshire Dales, was won by Dutch runner Wouter Huitzing in a course record of 25hrs 44mins 21secs, ahead of Briton Sion Bourne, who was almost three hours behind him.

Wouter Huitzing

Wouter Huitzing

Huitzing’s time knocked more than two hours off the previous best recorded by Dominic Layfield last year.

Huitzing said: “I feel horrible. Everything hurts.

“I was under a lot of pressure, because I was chased the whole time and I had to keep going and going and going. It was cold overnight, so I just kept speeding up to keep warm. I am happy. But so tired.”

Asked whether he would consider tackling the full Spine race next year, he said: “No. My girlfriend said I can’t. But maybe the year after!”

Emma Hopkinson

Emma Hopkinson

The women’s race was won by Emma Hopkinson in 29hrs 39mins 35secs, knocking almost 40 minutes off Beth Pascall’s record from 2016.

The former England international fellrunner raced to the finish line holding hands with her two young daughters.

British runner Cass Chisolm was placed second, five hours behind Hopkinson, with Jen Scotney also of the UK, third.

Robin Smith won the Montane Spine Challenger MRT event, for active members of mountain rescue teams, in a time of 37hrs 45mins 37secs. Steph Dwyer leads the women’s section, ahead of Jennifer Doe.

Montane Spine Challenger runners have until 8pm on Monday to reach the finish in Hardraw near Hawes. There have been 22 retirements from the shorter race so far, with one man so far reported as dropping out of the full Spine Race.

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