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World Record at the Toughest Ultramarathon

Jack Scott at Spine Race in the snowy Pennine Way
BY: James Dunn
17 January 2024

Jack Scott may have just recorded one of the most impressive ultramarathon achievements of all time, dominating this year’s Montane Winter Spine Race and shattering the course record by over 10 hours. 

The Spine is a 268-mile non-stop race (yes you read that correctly). And Scott clocked in at a jaw-dropping 72 hours, 55 minutes, and 5 seconds. The 29-year-old inov-8 athlete’s feat is even more impressive given the weather conditions he had to battle throughout. Temperatures plummeted as low as -20°C with wind-chill adding to the treacherous conditions. Scott’s relentless pursuit of victory saw him sleeping for a total of only 54 minutes throughout the 3 days he was on the course. 

The race is often dubbed one of the toughest in the world and the route follows the entirety of the Pennine Way – one of the UK’s most iconic long-distance footpaths. It takes in some of the most remote and weather-exposed parts of the country and includes more than 10,000 metres of climbing, crossing Hadrian’s wall before heading onto the Cheviot Hills and on to the finish line. With a cut-off time limit of 168 hours in place for runners, it is a race that requires both mental and physical strength to battle through the cold nights at the darkest time of the year in the UK. 

Notably, Scott’s triumph smashed the previous record of 83 hours and 12 minutes, a record set by ultrarunner Jasmin Paris in 2019. The race kicked off in Edale, Derbyshire, with a strong field of elite runners, including last year’s winner Damian Hall and American ultrarunning legend and 2020 winner John Kelly with Scott leading from the front throughout. 

The turning point of the race came during the stretch between Dufton and Alston, where the race hits its highest point at Cross Fell (893m). Leaving behind Hall, Scott forged ahead alone, covering the remaining 175 miles of the course solo. Last year Scott settled for second place after losing his way on the course but even as weather conditions worsened, with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, he managed to stay on track.

Scott and Hall are both friends and competitors and at the time of reporting, Hall was in second place on the course and within the old record time. 

Hailing from Staffordshire, Jack Scott’s journey into ultrarunning began as a means to overcome a gambling addiction that once consumed his life. A part-time construction worker, Scott is also a running coach. Having been an inov-8 athlete for four years, this victory at the Montane Winter Spine Race 2024 must stand as the pinnacle of his career so far. 

Well done from everyone at The Running Channel Jack, now put your feet up and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

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