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Heroism, Failure and Triumph: The race Across the Pennines to Finish The MONTANE Spine Race

Press Release / Photo : Mick Kenyon / 20.01.2019

On the final stages of the Montane Spine Race

Satoshi Funakoshi (JPN) becomes a hero while Colin Green (GBR) takes last-place to close seven days of racing in Britain's most brutal race.

After 166h 32m 05s of racing, Colin Green ran under the finish arch and on to touch the wall of the Borders Hotel. In doing so, Green took last place and brought the 2019 MONTANE Spine Race to a close. Seven days ago, 126 athletes set off on a 268 mile adventure along the Pennine Way and after a world of pain and discomfort, only 70 completed the course. Some running so fast across the treacherous terrain that they set new course records. The most impressive by far was stamped into the record books by Jasmin Paris (GBR).

Paris is a veterinarian, ultra-marathon runner, and mother to 14 -month-old daughter, who set off from Ebdale, in the Peak District, last Sunday to win the 2019 MONTANE® Spine® Race. Not only did she win, she obliterated the existing overall course record by 12 hours, in a time of 83h 12m 23s.

Commenting on course and her speed at Bellingham CP she said, “I think… I imagine Eugini’s the same. I was going faster than I was probably comfortable doing. I’d probably have preferred to go bit slower. I think he was chasing me and I was trying to get away. So, it was mutual.

The effect of such an incredible performance resounded around the world and led the race directors to comment:

Jasmin produced a stunning result in very changeable conditions.  Her performance was a testament to her ability, application, concentration and approach to the event. She displayed world-class athleticism, fortitude, and mental resilience and managed to not only beat the existing course record but obliterate it. This feat should rank highly in endurance sport as one of the great performances by any athlete.”

Scott Gilmour – Race Director

Jasmin has done what she does.  She’s an exceptional athlete who has meticulously prepared herself for this level of performance and we’re proud to have provided her with the opportunity to show this to the world at large.  Her calm, methodical and down-to-earth approach to the non-running aspects of this sport; the self-care, kit management and strength of character required to succeed, coupled with her obvious physical ability has led to her achieving something inspirational.”

Phil Hayday-Brown – Co-Race Director

The main sponsor of the Spine Race, Montane, also commented on the successful week of racing, “Another incredible edition of what is rightly lauded as ‘Britain’s Most Brutal Race’ with some unbelievable performances, across three formats, in tough and varied conditions.  Most of the plaudits will be focus on the record-breaking and inspirational achievements of Jasmin Paris, and rightly so, her time will likely stand for many years to come. We’d also like to thank the organisers, volunteers and Mountain Rescue teams for their tireless work to make this epic event possible and for keeping all the racers safe out on the Pennine Way.”  Terry Stephenson, Montane Head of Marketing,  

In the women’s race and a day after Shelli Gordon had taken second-place, Gabrielle Kenkenburg (DE) finally crossed the line in third position with the time of 135h 52m 24s. For each runner has their reason for undertaking this grueling challenge. For Gordon, the driving force was the loss of her former partner and the need to pay tribute to him by entering the Montane Spine Race to raise awareness of and raise funds for CALM, The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a movement against male suicide.

For others, the race can become something more, as runner 143 Satoshi Funakoshi (JPN) found out when he discovered runner 223 Glyn Thomas sat on the ground, injured, exhausted and freezing. Thomas had already been in contact with race HQ and requested assistance but Funakoshi recognized the severity of the situation and kept Thomas warm until safety teams arrived.

This selfless act probably avoided a more serious situation. It was the right thing to do and also, to many watching online, an act of heroism. Funakoshi’s decision to forego his chance of finishing the race, embodied the spirit and ethos of the Montane Spine Race.

Two hours were credited to Funakoshi. This extra time was given so he could meet the cut-off at Byrness, but it was just not enough. His rate of progress slowed and he had to eventually retire from race. He may not have received a medal, but he became a hero.

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