A COCKERMOUTH man has been racing non-stop in one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges.

Dan Reece-Loram is one of 147 taking part in the Montane Spine Race, a 268-mile winter ultra-marathon.

The event, which started last Sunday and lasts seven days, sees the athletes challenge themselves to the limit in a route encompassing the entire length of the Pennine Way.

Dan ran through the Peak District, the Cheviots, the Yorkshire Dales and the Northumberland National Park and is due to finish on the Scottish Borders.

Runners also passed through Cumbria earlier this week.

There are 56 runners in the men’s category, nine women and 56 in the retired class.

But the race did not come without challenges.

Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team was scrambled at 7am on Wednesday, along with Penrith Mountain Rescue after a woman had become stranded while taking part in the Montane Spine Race.

Part way through the 268-mile trek, one woman, aged 51, had become “disorientated in the dark” near Appleby, according to a spokesman for Penrith’s mountain rescue team.

Discovered on a ledge at High Cup Nick, north east of Appleby, the spokesman said that she was “very cold, tired and wet.”

“Once we had located the casualty, she was made secure, sheltered from the cold and strong winds and re-warmed,” he said. 

“The casualty was then packaged into a stretcher and lowered off the steep ground.”

The teams then transported the woman back to the Spine race’s rest station at Dufton village hall for rest and recuperation.

The runners were faced with dreadful weather as Storm Brendan battered the country.

They battled the snow on top of Dun Fell and Cross Fell in the Pennines.

A spokesman for the event said: “It’s not just the conditions that are against you, your own body and mind could become your worst enemy. 

“Tiredness, fatigue, sleep deprivation and exposure to the extremes of winter weather are all to be expected. 

“To finish you must be prepared and willing to push yourself harder than ever before.

“There is very little hand holding on this race. 

“You should never embark on an adventure of this magnitude without the appropriate knowledge and skill to make yourself safe in a time of need.

“There is nothing more personally reassuring than being secure in your own abilities.”

Runners have a GPS tracker on them with an emergency button.

An event safety team supports the participants on the course and checkpoint teams provide them with some of the comforts of home when they need a rest.

This year’s winner was American John Kelly, who completed the course in a time of 87 hours, 53 minutes 57 seconds.

A summer version of the event is due to be held on June 20. The Montane Spine Fusion is a non-stop race from Edale to Kirk Yetholm, lasting 156 hours.