Sabrina Verjee wins Montane Spine Fusion, a non-stop 268-mile endurance race along the Pennine Way.
"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?”
- Sabrina Verjee upon winning the 2019 Montane Spine Fusion
Over eight years the Spine has established itself as one of the world’s toughest endurance race series. A seven-day, non-stop, ultra marathon along the 268-mile (431km) Pennine Way National Trail. The Montane Spine Flare and Fusion races are the summer versions of the Montane Spine Race and Challenger - which take place each January. Whilst the weather may differ slightly the brutal and unforgiving course remains the same.
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.
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 1am on 26 June.
"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!”
- Scott Gilmour, Race Director
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.
Official Charity NASS
Representing NASS, our official charity Raj Mahapatra and Gerry Dance are still in the race on their way to Dufton. Raj and Gerry both live with the condition axial SpA (AS) and are representing NASS, the only UK charity entirely focused on axial spondyloarthritis (axial SpA) including ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Raj and Gerry were runners before diagnosis and both continue to battle to do what they love, when, all the while, AS does its best to stop them. They both count themselves lucky. So they run for everyone with AS who face their own challenges, whatever they may be.
We are proud to be the official charity of the Montane Spine Races. To learn more about NASS on the websit, click here.