Female Ultra-Athletes...


CHANNELSWIM.pngBy theguardian.com

At the top of a wind-scoured hill outside Edinburgh, Jasmin Paris’s dog, Moss, patiently waits for his owner. He is, I think, wondering what on earth is taking her so long. The answer, I’m afraid, is me....

We are in the Pentland Hills near her home – easy terrain for a skilled fell runner. For me, it’s a painful reminder that road marathons and track races do not help in the hills. I spend my clumsy descents looking at my feet, and each time I look up, Paris is defying gravity – not so much dropping as floating down.

In January, Paris, then 35, made headlines across the globe when she won the Spine Race, one of those almost comically difficult events that sounds less like a run and more like a sadistic punishment: 268 miles, nonstop, along the Pennine Way. Paris took a week off from her PhD in veterinary science to compete, and thrashed every man in the field in the process.

The race is billed as the world’s toughest endurance contest, and with good reason. It’s dark two-thirds of the time. Racers traverse the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and cross over Hadrian’s Wall to the Cheviots, sleeping only in snatches. Yet Paris’s time of 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds beat her nearest male rival by nearly 15 hours. And she did it while expressing milk for her baby daughter in aid stations en route – ensuring more than her allotted 15 minutes of fame when she crossed the line. But it’s a fame she clearly finds a little baffling: it’s a fair bet no one has taken up fell running in a bid to become rich or famous.  READ MORE

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