Nursing mother smashes 268-mile Montane Spine Race record

Jasmin Paris pumping breast milk at checkpoint one Image copyright Jen O’Neill
Image caption Jasmin Paris pumping breast milk at checkpoint one

A Midlothian mother who expressed milk for her baby during a 268-mile race along the Pennine Way has broken the course record by more than 12 hours.

Jasmin Paris, 35, completed the Montane Spine Race – from Derbyshire to the Scottish borders – in 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds.

The vet, who lives at Gladhouse Reservoir, said the race was “brutal”.

Mrs Paris’ sponsor, inov-8, said her achievement was “one of the greatest stories” in the sport.

Image copyright YannBB
Image caption Jasmin Paris was met by her daughter, Rowan, at the end of the race

Competitors spend two-thirds of the race in the dark, while runners must carry all their own kit and supplies have no personal support team or runner with them on the course.

Mrs Paris told the BBC Scotland news website how despite having frozen breast milk at home before the race for her 14-month-old daughter, she expressed milk during the race to stop mastitis.

‘Very clingy’

She said: “I had thought I would have stopped breast feeding by this point and tried when Rowan was one, but over Christmas she got two viruses and I had to go back to feeding her multiple times throughout the night to soothe her.

“Although my milk production diminished throughout the race, I did express at four out of the five checkpoints.

“The first night was the hardest for me mentally because I was away from my daughter, but as the race went on it got easier as I got used to being away from her.

“She was very bemused to see me on the finish line and has been very clingy today as if she is thinking I might go away again.”

Image copyright Montane Spine Race

Mrs Paris reached the finish line in Kirk Yetholm on Wednesday evening having started in Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District on Sunday.

She said that compared with other competitors, she had got off lightly with just a few blisters although her toenails were very sore and black and she feared she would lose at least her big toenails.

‘Absolute torture’

She said: “I was worried at the start of the race when I heard other runners saying they had taped their feet up as I hadn’t, but somehow I’ve not really had any problems with my feet apart from losing the skin between my toes.

“I think it comes from all the running I do, it’s toughened up my feet. I was running 100 miles a week in the run up to the race.

“I never thought I would do this race as I’ve heard it’s absolute torture but its good to set yourself a challenge because it’s exciting so I entered.

“I started thinking I could possibly win and it was exciting when it turned into a race and Eugeni was chasing me for 40 miles.

“A man was also popping up along the course telling me our split times, which made it really exciting and when Eugeni was entering one of the checkpoints and I was leaving I think it broke his morale.”

Image copyright YannBB

Competitors have one week to complete the gruelling race, which travels over hilly terrain and covers 43,000ft of climbing – more than Everest at 29,000ft.

The Spine Race 2013 winner, Eugeni Rosello Sole, was forced to push his emergency button 6km before the end, which eliminated him from the race after becoming unwell from sleep deprivation.

‘Bad situation’

During the entirety of the race, Mrs Paris only slept for three hours.

She said that by the last day, she was hallucinating on the Cheviots.

“I saw a pig in the heather, trees stretching and doing a morning workout in the woods, workmen doing stretches, a house appeared and I was very cold.

“There is not much of a comfort zone between a bad situation and an ok situation and I was aware I was pushing my limits but I know that’s what happens.

“It was the hardest race I’ve done due to the amount of time and weather wise, but I’m really happy because I gave it my best shot. I raced hard and gave it the best I could.

“It’s been a life affirming experience and it will take me a couple of weeks to recover from the effort and cost it took.”

Image copyright YannBB

Mrs Paris did the race during a week-long break from writing her PHD thesis, which she must hand in by the end of March.

Lee Procter, inov-8 ambassador team manager, said: “All of us here at inov-8 are so proud of Jasmin.

“She is not a professional, full-time athlete, but instead a down-to-earth, modest mum-of-one with an incredible talent and phenomenal strength, both physically and mentally.

“What she has achieved in this race in beating everyone of both sexes and setting a new overall course record is one of the greatest stories in the history of ultra-running as a sport.”

‘Sleep deprivation’

Scott Gilmour, The Montane Spine Race director, also said it was an “incredible feat”.

He said: “Never underestimate a competitor whether it’s a man or a woman. It’s the person’s dedication and attitude that drives results.

“Paris is a machine so this result is not a surprise to us, but what is brilliant is she carried all that expectation and pressure on her shoulders.

“She never got upset and was swan-like all the way to the end.”

He added: “The four-day record of 95 hours was really tough and we didn’t think it was possible to beat it due to sleep depravation, its incredible.

“She absolutely dictated the pace of the race, it’s an incredible feat.

“She’s such a figure head and such a champion and she will inspire others.”

Image copyright YannBB
Image caption Competitors spend two-thirds of the race in the dark
Image copyright YannBB

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