Eoin Keith arrives at the finish at Kirk Yetholm. Photo: Adam Jacobs

Eoin Keith arrives at the finish at Kirk Yetholm. Photo: Adam Jacobs

Eoin Keith has won the Montane Spine Race, completing the course in 92hrs 40mins 30secs.

He arrived at the finish at Kirk Yetholm in the early hours of Thursday, several hours ahead of second- and third-place runners Doug Zinis and James Leavesley, who reached the finish together, with times of 96hrs 6mins 30secs.

The Irish runner outlasted a field of high-profile ultrarunners, race winners and record breakers, including Damian Hall, Kim Collison, Eugeni Roselló Solé, Anna Troup, Sabrina Verjee, all of whom retired.

It was Keith’s second overall win on the course in winter. He has also finished in second position three times, and previously held the course record. In 2021 he also won the summer version of the race and set a new course record for that race too, making him the first athlete to win back-to-back summer and winter Spine Races.

Eoin Keith said: “This was a special win for me. I didn’t think I had a hope, I thought I’d give it my best, but there were just so many class runners here.”

His tactic was, he said: “To run my own race. It was my most comfortable and balanced Spine Race. I don’t have gear five anymore but I’ve always said if you run your own race, and optimise your own performance, your best performance will come out.”

Phil Hayday-Brown, co-founder and race director of the Spine Race, said: “I’m really happy for Eoin. We couldn’t ask for a better ambassador for this race or a better example of what it takes to complete this course.”

Debbie Martin-Consani is the leading woman, followed by Elaine Bisson. Both were on the final leg in the Cheviots at the time of writing. Lizzie Faithful-Davies, a brigadier in the armed forces and no stranger to endurance challenges, is running third in the women’s competition.

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

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