La Sportiva Spine Race double

Men’s Spine Race winner John Kelly. Picture credit: Steve Ashworth

It was a double win for La Sportiva in this year’s Montane Spine Race.

Both the men’s winner John Kelly, and women’s winner Sabrina Verjee wore La Sportiva running shoes throughout the 268-mile event.

The Spine Race has established itself as one of the world’s toughest endurance races – a non-stop ultramarathon along the Pennine Way, through hostile winter weather.

Kelly finished in a new men’s record time of 87hrs 53mins, four hours short of Jasmin Paris’s all-time record from last year. The US athlete, now based in Bristol, is also a Barkley Marathons winner and expectations were high for his Spine Race debut.

During the latter stages Kelly faced strong competition from Britain’s Jayson Cavill and Spain’s Eugeni Rosello Sole, but both were forced to retire due to injury, leaving Kelly with a commanding lead.

Women’s winner Sabrina Verjee
Women’s winner Sabrina Verjee

Verjee finished in an impressive fifth position on 108hrs 7mins. Outright winner of the 2019 Montane Spine Fusion – the summer version of the race – the British ultra athlete was a strong favourite for this year’s event and had a particularly competitive race, holding her position as first woman from the start and creating an unassailable lead.

Renowned for its mountain footwear, La Sportiva is equally successful as a running shoe brand and is growing rapidly in the UK market.

Both Kelly and Verjee started the race in La Sportiva Uragano GTX shoes, a winter running model featuring a protective gaiter and GORE Flex Construction.

As the race went on Kelly switched to Blizzard GTX shoes with their integrated AT Grip Fixed Spikes for maximum traction, while Verjee moved into the Crossover 2.0 GTX shoe for their combination of grip, security and extra comfort over long distances.

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