Jonnie’s 268-mile winter run

Jonnie Watson  on the left with supporter Richard Sunderland some 30 miles into the race, when he called in to the White House, Blackstone Edge for some sustenance
Jonnie Watson on the left with supporter Richard Sunderland some 30 miles into the race, when he called in to the White House, Blackstone Edge for some sustenance

Calder Valley Fell Runners’ Jonnie Watson has completed the 268-mile Spine Race, billed as Britain’s most brutal race.

It runs from Edale to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders and covers the 268 miles of the Pennine Way in the depths of winter.

As there are only around eight hours of daylight at this time of year, most of it takes place in the dark.

Watson only stopped when the weather was so bad that to continue would have risked life and limb. Organisers held the runners at Hawes for several hours as 110mph winds were forecast.

Results are still being calculated due to the enforced stops but it seems that Watson came around 14th in 150 hours and 39 minutes - an excellent result in an international field of ultrarunners.

The winner for the second year in a row was Pavel Paloncy from the Czech Republic who did the whole 268 miles in 79 and a half hours.

Watson said: “It was very grim at times but there was some real moments of beauty.

“My feet are surprisingly ok but swollen and my legs are a little sore.

“I am still very tired and hungry all the time.

“It will interesting to see what my final placing is. I reckon my time on the course was about five days and five hours.”

Mark O’Connor was the first Calder Valley FR runner home in Sunday’s Soreen Stanbury Splash from Haworth.

There was a last minute change to a shorter five mile route due to icy conditions.

O’Connor came 20th in 39.45 with Tristan Sheard finishing exactly one minute later. Last year’s star signing Lindsay Oldfield was Calder’s first female and fifth woman home in 98th place in 44.56

Tom Adams of Ilkley won in 36.06 and Lindsey Bridle of Horwich was first woman in an excellent 19th place overall, three minutes behind Adams.

More CV running on page 47