“Her hood cinched tight against the unforgiving British winter, Jasmin Paris ran through the continual pool of light laid down by her headlamp. The horizontal rain blew into her eyes, obscuring the upcoming checkpoint where she would briefly rest, eat and pump breast milk for her 14-month-old daughter before racing on into the dark hills.
After 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds, Paris crossed the finish line Jan. 16 to become the first woman to win Britain’s Montane Spine Race. She smashed the previous record, held by Eoin Keith, by 12 hours.
The Spine Race, along the Pennine Way National Trail that traces the backbone of England, is widely known as one of the most grueling endurance races in existence: a one-week, nonstop ultramarathon that covers nearly 40,000 feet of climbing. Competitors carry their own kits with everything they need to be self-sufficient, including a sleeping bag, bivy or tent, cooking stove, at least 3,000 calories between checkpoints (of which there are five), and a GPS for navigation of the route between mountains, farmland and heather fields. The only thing Parris didn’t have to carry was her breast pump; it was in the drop bag that was ferried between checkpoints.”