Ultra Spine Beast Minta

Fell running was thrown into the national spotlight this week thanks to Jasmine Paris and her incredible, superhuman feat at the Montane Spine race. This race is widely regarded as one of the world’s toughest endurance races. A truly epic challenge that tests both physical resilience and mental fortitude, competitors race non-stop along the most iconic trail in the UK. It involves completing the length of the Pennine Way, all 268 miles of it. Starting in Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm, Scotland, competitors run 24/7 with limited rest and sleep, unsupported and exposed to the wintry elements as they snake their way up the backbone of Britain. Nursing mum, Jasmine Paris, smashed 12 hours off the record, completing the race in an incredible 83 hours!

The next competitor came in 15 hours after Jasmine. And amongst the competitors were CV’s very own superheros, John Minta and Bill Johnson, both accomplished and experienced Ultra runners.

Unfortunately, Bill ruptured his Achilles after 200 miles and had to retire. But John was able to keep going and crossed the finishing line last Thursday after a gruelling 112 hours on his feet, impressively taking 6th position overall.

Said a tired but elated John: ‘I reckon I had 9 hours sleep altogether in the 112 hours it took me, so hallucinations were a regular occurrence. Plus I was struggling with a chest infection after day one. I’m so very happy to have finished!’ 

John Minta at the finish (Photo courtesy of Will Roberts and the Montane Spine Race)

The more sedate runners, after avidly dot watching the Montane Spine race, opted for the Hebden on the Saturday. A long distance walking event that takes in all sides of the valley, it’s renowned for delicious cakes at each of the Checkpoints. As with previous years, the event is hugely popular with runners.

A gaggle of red and white stripes gathered at the start line, some completing the 15 miles route, others going for the longer 22 mile option. CV’s Ben Mounsey was the overall winner of the 22 in an impressive 3:08. Helen Buchan was first CV lady home, coming 5th lady overall, completing 22 miles in 03:59.

Said Ben: ‘There were plenty of miles and smiles at ‘The Hebden’ today, one of my favourite events of the year. It’s the only race I’ve ever done where you can eat as much food as you like on the way round. Beef dripping sandwiches were once again on offer, although I figured the cheese sarnies might sit a little prettier in my stomach, especially on the climb up to Stoodley Pike. The first 18 miles were fantastic! However, unfortunately the last 3 miles were the closest thing I’ve experienced to hell (i.e. since the last time my wheels completely fell off!). Not exactly sure what happened, but I sat down for a bit, walked for a while and if I’d have had my phone, I would’ve probably phoned my mum and asked her to come and pick me up. But like the true survivor that I am, I somehow made it safely back in 1st place to the finish (just!).’

CV’s Ben Mounsey, winner of the Hebden 22 (photo courtesy of Laura Bradshaw)

Not without incident, some drama unfolded 13 miles into the course. Several CV women witnessed a mighty fall and were part of a rescue operation for a fellow runner who sustained head injuries after tumbling 30ft down a ravine in Broadhead Clough. Fortunately, his injuries didn’t weren’t too serious and the CV women were able to escort him to the nearest checkpoint for further medical assistance.

CV women at the start line of the Hebden 22 (L-R Gloria Ayuso, Stella Chrisanthou (birthday girl), Eileen McDonach, Kate Pope, Ellie Eady, Nicki Latham, Gill Dickson)

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gill Dickson