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The Toughest Mother Runner Around
The Montane Spine Race is an icy 268-mile ultramarathon that takes place one week each January in the United Kingdom’s mountainous Pennine Way region—and on January 16, it celebrated its first-ever female winner.
Thirty-five-year-old Jasmin Paris, mother to 14-month-old Rowan, finished the race in 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds, crushing both men’s and women’s course records in the process. (The men’s course record was set at 95 hours and 17 minutes by Eoin Keith in 2016 and the previous best women’s time was set at 109 hours and 54 minutes by Carol Morgan in 2017.) Known as “Britain’s most brutal” race for the course’s tough, mountainous terrain and bone-chilling weather, the Montane Spine Race features ascents of approximately 13,135 meters and descents of roughly 13,255m. Runners that tackle the course are expected to do so while carrying their own race kit and without a course support system, with the five primary checkpoints serving as their sole chances to nap, refuel and check in with the race’s medical staff, if needed.
A veterinarian and Inov-8 ambassador, Paris has cultivated a reputation as a formidable ultrarunner in her native Great Britain, earning skyrunning titles throughout the U.K. since she began running competitively just over one decade ago. Paris most recently won the British Fell Running Championships last year, a title she first claimed in 2015. Her win this week is particularly notable because, in addition to becoming the first woman to win and setting a new course record, she’s also still nursing her daughter and had to use most of the official route checkpoints to express breastmilk.
“Although my milk production diminished throughout the race, I did express at four out of the five checkpoints,” Paris told BBC News after the race. Even so, the hallucinations Paris experienced after days of lackluster sleep—she claims to have only slept three hours for the duration of the race—were most detrimental to her experience. But in the end, Paris was glad to have participated. “It was the hardest race I’ve done due to the amount of time and weather wise, but I’m really happy because I gave it my best shot,” Paris told BBC News.
Watch the final leg of Paris’ record-smashing victory in the video above.