Ultra-marathon runner Sabrina Verjee (38) becomes the first female athlete to win the MONTANE® Spine® Fusion outright. The non-stop race along the Pennine Way is one of Britain’s most challenging endurance races.
Kirk Yetholm, Scotland, United Kingdom, Tuesday 25 June, 2019: After three and a half days of solid racing along Britain’s most iconic National Trail, the Pennine Way, Sabrina Verjee touched the wall of the Border Hotel in Kirk Yetholm in 82h 19m 07s, becoming the first female to win the MONTANE® Spine® Fusion race outright. Spine Race followers will note this is the 2nd time this year that the Spine Race has seen a woman win outright, with Jasmin Paris making national headlines with her winter victory.
Her incredible race has seen her lead from start to finish, running the last 109kms (approx.) outright on her own, after (236) Cees van der Land, was forced to withdraw. The leading male athlete, Esteban Díaz Castañeda (246) is approximately 6hrs behind and looking to finish around 0100 on 26 June.
The conditions at times have been testing with rain, low cloud and reduced visibility in higher areas affecting the latter stages of her race. Sabrina experienced very testing gale force winds over the Cheviots. Her finish time of 82h 19m 07s is the fastest recorded time for a female athlete, beating the previous summer record (female) by nearly 48hrs. The overall course record is held by Mark Denby (GBR) 78:04:14 (June 2018). The winter record for the course is held by Jasmin Paris in 83hrs 12m 23s, which was also set in January 2019.
Sabrina is a highly regarded ultra-marathon runner having placed 2nd overall and first female in the Montane Lakeland 100 in July 2018 (23:05:47) and earlier this year completing the Dragon’s Back for the 3rd time where she finished 2nd female and 21st in the overall standings.
MONTANE® Spine® Fusion Stats
Distance: 420km/268 miles
Overall ascent: 13,135m/43,093ft
Overall descent: 13,255m/43,487ft
Highest point: 892m/2,926ft (Cross Fell)
Start: 08:00, Sunday, 22 June 2019
Time limit: 168hrs (seven days)
MONTANE® Spine® Fusion record: Mark Denny (GBR) 78:04:14 (2018)
MONTANE® Spine® Fusion record (F): Sabrina Verjee (GBR) 82:19:07 (2019)
Reflecting on her race, Sabrina said, “Right now I feel ok, pretty good, very happy. It’s a shame Cees wasn’t there with me at the finish, but I have the win outright now” she joked. “Over the Cheviot’s there were gale force winds, it was terrible up there. But it was the only way I was staying awake. I would just doze off and be facing the other way at times and think where have I been for the last half hour?”
Scott Gilmour – Race Director
“It was remarkable to follow Sabrina during the race and appreciate first-hand why she is so highly regarded within the running community. She was in total control throughout the race and her win is highly deserved. Although, I do have a slight feeling of déjà vu!”
Earlier in the week Benjamin Tyas came home in first place on the MONTANE® Spine® Flare in 27hrs 41m 21s followed by Adam Gamble and Tom Couldwell, in joint second place. Saki Nakamura was the first place female completing the course in 32hrs 11m 22s with fellow competitors Sue Howarth and Susan Clapham shortly behind. In a strange coincidence both sets of 2nd placed competitors crossed the line together, showing true camaraderie to the end, resulting in equal 2nd place finishes in the male and female categories.
To follow those out on course, you can follow the live tracker HERE