Damian Hall. Photo: Harsharn Gill

Damian Hall. Photo: Harsharn Gill

The Montane Spine Race drama on the Pennine Way continues, with race leader Damian Hall pulling out of the event.

Hall, who has previously completed the gruelling route twice, retired from the race at Alston in South Tynedale.

Spanish runner Eugeni Roselló Solé now takes the lead. The 2013 race winner is currently at the Alston checkpoint and is about 11km ahead of Irishman Eoin Keith in second place. Britons Douglas Zinis and James Leavesley are running together in third and fourth place.

Debbie Martin-Consani is leading the women’s field, in seventh place overall, with second-place female Elaine Bisson not far behind near Dufton. Nicola Somers is third woman runner at present.

Race organisers said: “Damian was putting in a truly exceptional performance and we’re extremely happy to have had him be a part of our tenth anniversary.”

They said a niggle he’d been experiencing from the earliest stages of the event worsened considerably and Hall showed his experience and good judgment by withdrawing before the injury developed into problem which could leave him in danger in the hills.

Eugeni Roselló Solé now leads the race. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Eugeni Roselló Solé now leads the race. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Harsh conditions on the Pennines have seen a large contrition rate during the event, with 30 runners so far dropping out of the race, including early leader Kim Collison and South African Tiaan Erwee, along with early women’s race lead runner Sabrina Verjee.

At the time of writing, 91 runners remained on the route heading into Tuesday night after more than two days on the hoof, tackling the full length of the Pennine Way.

The course record was set in 2019 by Jasmin Paris, who completed the route in 83hrs 12mins 23secs, smashing the previous race record by more than 12 hours. Runners this will be bussed along part of the course because of the closure of a forest section of the Pennine Way between Bellingham and Byrness due to safety concerns after Storm Arwen felled thousands of trees in the area. The consequent 15-mile reduction in distance of the course means no official record time can be set this year.

Runners’ progress can be followed on the Open Tracking site.

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