Jack Scott, ultra-marathon runner, broke the record for the spine race by more than 10 hours

Jack Scott smashes one of the world’s toughest ultra-marathon records by more than 10 hours

EXTREME athlete Jack Scott has been crowned the winner of the UK’s 268-mile ultra-marathon Spine Race, breaking the previous record by an astonishing 10 hours.

Scott crossed the finish line in just under 73 hours after having less than an hour’s sleep throughout one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges.

The previous record for the annual Montane Spine Race – set by ultra-runner Jasmin Paris in 2019 – stood at 83 hours 12 minutes and 23 seconds.

Regarded as one of the world’s most challenging endurance races, the Spine begins in Derbyshire’s Edale, heads north through Yorkshire, and ends in the Scottish Borders village of Kirk Yetholm.

Jack Scott crosses the finish line

One of its main rules dictates that athletes must cross the finish line within seven days of leaving the start point.

The brainchild of Arctic expedition guides Scott Gilmour and Phil Hayday-Brown, the first Spine race took place in 2012 when only three of the 11 entrants managed to complete the course.

Since then, the event has expanded into a global phenomenon, attracting competitors from around the world.

However, any future champion will have their work cut out to overcome the latest benchmark laid down by Jack Scott who pushed his physical and mental boundaries by restricting his sleep to eat up the miles. He took a four-minute “power nap” at a snow-covered Hadrian’s Wall, half-an-hour at a base, and then punctuated the route with rapid 90-second naps.

“When you really push the boundaries and you’re right on the limit, you’ll try anything,” Scott told the BBC.

“It’s not really something you can train for, it’s more of a mindset, I suppose.”

Sleep depravation didn’t come without its toll, however. On the Cheviot Hills – 205 miles in – his childhood dog ‘Hugo’ not only appeared, but also started speaking to him during a particularly vivid hallucination. Hugo died seven years ago.

“He had my voice. I was speaking to him,” the Inov-8 sponsored runner recalled.

“It was bizarre.”

The achievement is made all the more remarkable with Jack Scott’s background. The Staffordshire man had suffered with a gambling addiction prior to taking ultra running seriously.

“Running offered me a way out of gambling and for some time they sort of went hand in hand, until I grew and I learned as a man and my running developed,” he added.

“Sometimes when I’m out there and it’s hurting, I just think I can’t be harmed because I’ve been through so much mental turmoil, with no good coming of it.

“When the opportunity is there and you’re doing something you love like running, you sort of feel like it’s a blessing, just grit your teeth and find your way through it.

“Sometimes you have to rip the band aid off and go out and do something extreme to make yourself feel human and connected with yourself.”


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