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WATCH: Huntly runner Gary Morrison shrugs off injury to return for tenth anniversary of gruelling Spine Race challenge over the Pennine way which he completed a decade ago

By Craig Christie

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ONE of only three finishers at the notorious Spine Race a decade ago, Huntly runner Gary Morrison returned to take on the challenge again.

Gary Morrison (right) meets up with Steve Thompson who was one of his fellow race finishers from the inaugural Spine Race.
Gary Morrison (right) meets up with Steve Thompson who was one of his fellow race finishers from the inaugural Spine Race.

Back in 2012 he completed the 268 miles on the Pennine Way from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland along some hostile and demanding countryside through the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and the Cheviots.

For the 10th anniversary event this year, Morrison took part over the slightly shorter Spine Sprint race, a 46-mile event from Edale to Ebden Bridge., having been nursing some injuries of late.

Advertised as a challenging and very technical route, the organisers state that you can expect to experience extreme weather.

This can vary from storm force winds, snow, ice, bogs, fog, hail, mud and some of the worst examples of what Mother Nature can throw at you.

A detour on this year's course to avoid very deep water pushed the final distance to 48 miles.

“"It was the worst conditions I've seen on this section of the Pennine Way," he said.

"Torrential rain with sleet and snow, strong winds and a lot of the route had water over ice.

"Usually you can jump across the streams or use the stepping stones but this year you had to wade across, sometimes up to waist height which was freezing.

"A lot of the runners got hypothermia early in the race and had to retire from the event.

"It's a tough race but I got through it without too much further damage to previous injuries."

Morrison completed the 48 miles in a time of 16 hours, 45 minutes and was back working again on Tuesday at his sports massage business that he operates with his wife Victoria at Largue, near Huntly.

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