Record-breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern Traverse

Kim Collison flew round the SILVA Northern Traverse in a record-breaking time

Kim Collison is the winner of the SILVA Northern Traverse after arriving in Robin Hood’s Bay at 6:54 this morning. He took just 44 hours and 24 minutes to get from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay on the other side, beating the previous record by an impressive 7 hours.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseKim had a strong finish © No Limits Photography

Kim is a well-known name on the ultra-running circuit, holding the record for the Paddy Buckley Round and the winter Bob Graham Round. However, following a disappointing experience at the Montane Spine Race this year, where he retired relatively early on, Kim had something to prove coming into the SILVA Northern Traverse. Right from the start, his determination was clear for all to see, and after setting off at a rapid pace, he managed to comfortably maintain his lead across the whole course.

The event team were barely able to keep up with Kim’s impressive pace as he battled some challenging and very windy conditions overnight through the unforgiving and exposed landscape of the North York Moors. However, despite the early hour, the atmosphere was still buzzing as Kim crossed the finish line in Robin Hood’s Bay on his memorable, record-breaking run.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseKim was looking tired but happy at the finish © No Limits Photography

At the finish line, Kim seemed mentally in good shape, but physically very tired. One member of the event team had to help him get up onto a chair back in the event centre. However, instead of crashing immediately, as one might expect of someone who has conquered such a huge challenge, Kim stayed around to cheer on and support his fellow runners.

It was here that we managed to catch up with him.

He said of his experience: “I loved the first half because I was fresh and had lots of bounce. The weather was really stunning with the orange sunset over Angle Tarn and some red deer.”

It wasn’t all plain sailing though. “After you go through the first night, that’s when things start to get a little bit hard and painful and hurty. It becomes more about managing those things and trying to psychologically keep pushing yourself on. I’ve managed to do that and finish which was the main goal.”

When asked what kept him motivated to keep going through the night without sleep, he said: “I thought: I’d better not quit this time. It’s the mental strength to try to push. It’s knowing that you can do it, so let’s try. If you sleep, you know you’re probably not going to make that time back up.”

Sleep deprivation did have its side effects though. “I was seeing a lot of hallucinations and hearing lots of voices. It was most bizarre.”

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseKim preparing to walk back having dipped his feet in the North Sea © No Limits Photography

Kim felt he had learnt from his experience at the Spine

Despite the challenging conditions, and going the wrong way slightly after Richmond, Kim managed to keep a calm head throughout and seemed to be enjoying himself. “I was very controlled, calm, keeping the effort down, trying to manage and learn from pushing too hard at the Spine.”

Comparing his experience to the Spine Race, he said: “I’ve learnt how to run this distance. I’m still trying to figure out how to add 68 miles onto what I just did. To go back to the Spine… that’s how much I’d need to add on.”

He was already expressing his intention to return to the Spine race next year. “If you’d asked me about three hours ago, I probably would have said no,” he laughed, but it was clear that he had this challenge is still on his mind. Given his phenomenal performance these last couple of days, he will definitely be one to watch.

Kim was with his partner, Ally Love, who was now recovered from an amazing run at the SILVA Lakes Traverse. Kim and Ally had a sweepstake – Kim wanted to make it to Kirkby Stephen by the time Ally made it to Shap. Ally beat Kim by 8 minutes. “She gets bragging rights at home,” Kim said. Having still not slept, Kim was looking forward to sleeping in the car on his drive home with Ally.

It’s been truly inspiring to watch Kim on this journey, which is a testament to his mental determination as well as his strong running ability. His new course record will definitely be a tough one to beat.

Rory Harris was second over the line

Rory Harris was the second runner over the finish line, 3 hours after Kim, with a time of 47 hours 29 minutes. Rory was consistent in his second place throughout, but had been suffering with stomach problems since Shap. He looked thoroughly exhausted as he crossed the finish line, and opted to take a nap in the event centre as soon as he got in.

His achievement was particularly impressive given he’d barely eaten for most of the run.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseThe final stretch into Robin Hood’s Bay goes over a dramatic headland © No Limits Photography

“I hadn’t eaten anything for 10 hours, hadn’t even had water for 10 hours – my stomach was playing somersaults,” he said.

Rory had to contend with some challenging weather through the night. “I was absolutely soaking before I managed to get to the Lion Inn.” He stopped a while at the Lion Inn support point, but was unable to rest due to the cold. “You get to the tent, and obviously it’s not heated, so the only thing you can do is put on every single layer you’ve got in your bag.”

Rory also stayed awake for the whole race. “That was eventful,” he said. “I felt alright until about 4 am the second night, and then I felt very confused – forgetting where I was, thinking I was doing different things, seeing things a lot. I thought it would get better at dawn but it carried on for a bit longer. In fact, it carried on until I had a sleep just now.”

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseRory had a tough race but his efforts paid off with second place © No Limits Photography

Third finisher, Scott Newburn, had an excellent run

Third over the finish line was Scott Newburn, after a race of 51 hours and 36 minutes. Scott was met at the finish by his partner and children, who were delighted with the result. Scott is no stranger to the Coast to Coast, as his home is actually on the route. Him and his partner own the New Ing Lodge B&B in Shap, a popular stopping point for Coast to Coast walkers. Now, he will be able to regale his guests his stories of his own impressive Coast to Coast achievement.

“That was really hard work actually,” was his first comment after crossing the line. “It’s pretty difficult when the boys behind you are really fast. I only went out to have a good time, then all of a sudden that changes.”

“It was good fun. It’s a good route to run – it’s very mixed,” Scott said. He had recce’d the full route before, having entered the race a few years back before it was postponed due to Covid. He seemed tired at the finish and wasn’t looking forward to the trek up the hill to the event centre, but he was certainly happy with his amazing result.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern Traverse

Scott had a fantastic run on his Coast to Coast adventure! © No Limits Photography

First woman, Lisa Watson, also smashed the record

Lisa Watson, had an epic performance, coming 1st woman and 7th overall. She also broke the course record by over 10 hours in an immense display of endurance, completing the race in 52 hours 52 minutes.

She looked full of energy as she came sprinting down the hill in Robin Hood’s Bay, a descent which has broken many a Coast to Coaster, and which Scott Newburn had earlier described as “horrible”.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseIt was a sprint finish for Lisa Watson © No Limits Photography

When asked how she was feeling, she said: “Momentarily, I don’t feel like I need to fall asleep at this moment, but I’m pretty sure that’s just adrenaline.”

“I don’t like sleep deprivation,” she joked. “It does bad things to your brain.”

Lisa had been running in a pack of fast men for much of the race, but separated from them this morning. She seemed in a great mood at the finish line, but confessed she hadn’t been in a good mood the whole time. “Peter (Watson) had to put up with me when I was being really grumpy from sometime about 10k before Kirkby Stephen to when he decided it was more sensible to leave me to do my own thing.”

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseLisa was still smiling after 300km © No Limits Photography

Despite a really hard night and day of running, Lisa still managed an impressively strong finish. “The rest of the day I’ve barely been able to put any weight on my feet, so at least I could sprint downhill,” she said.

It wasn’t the thought of the competition that motivated her fast pace: “I just had to get here so I could go to sleep.”

Her highlights were the sections through the Lakes and the Dales. “I would have liked to have seen the North York Moors, but that was a bit wet and cold and windy,” she said.

She still seemed to be processing her recent success, as she sat down in the sun by the sea. “It’s a bit weird isn’t it. I thought 60 hours was completely unachievable.”

Lisa has already proven her incredible running skills in stage racing, having won the Dragon’s Back Race in 2019, but this is her first continuous race. Reflecting on her experience, she said: “I’m still yet to decide whether I like continuous runs. Up to 100k was amazing. Up to 100 miles was mostly amazing, but after that was quite hard.”

Having reached the finish in an incredible time, Lisa still had one task left to do. In true Alfred Wainwright tradition, Lisa had carried a stone all the way from St Bees across to Robin Hood’s Bay. Luckily, she still had enough energy to walk down to the North Sea to throw her pebble in and dip her foot in the water, before climbing back up the steep hill to the event centre.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseLisa dipped her foot in the North Sea in Robin Hood’s Bay © No Limits Photography

Elaine was all smiles as she crossed the line as second woman

Elaine Bisson had a huge grin on her face as she flew down the cobbled streets of St Bees, coming in as 2nd woman and 10th overall. She completed the course in a speedy 56 hours and 21 minutes. She seemed in high spirits as she went to dip her foot in the sea.

This is the latest in a string of brilliant performances for Elaine, who was 2nd at the 2022 Montane Spine Race and at the 2021 Montane Dragon’s Back Race. “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” she joked about her emerging trend of coming second.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseElaine looked strong on the North York Moors © No Limits Photography

“It’s been good. Day times have been great – I’ve really enjoyed them. The night times have been horrid. I hit the boring bits at night. It’s just roads and bog.”

“I’m feeling alright actually,” she said. “I seized up last night and I couldn’t move at all. But this morning, after about an hour, I could run again. I’ve had a good day.”

She enjoyed the sections through the National parks which were “just gorgeous”, but was less keen on the bog after Nine Standards.

Elaine barely seemed tired as she hiked back up the hill to the event centre, even heading out to the pub in the evening. She seemed happy with her race, having put in another brilliant show.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseElaine had an amazing run © Ross Brackley

Jenny Yeo was third woman

Jenny Yeo has also come in as 3rd woman and 14th overall with an excellent time of 59 hours 27 minutes. She hobbled into the finish, supporting herself with a stick she’d picked up in Littlebeck.

“Some bits of it were lovely,” she said, “but the last 40 miles not so much. Lots of bits started hurting.”

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said, having first signed up to the event before the pandemic. Her achievement was particularly impressive given she didn’t even know she’d be able to compete, having broken her ankle last year.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseJenny Yeo was third woman to arrive in Robin Hood’s Bay  © Ross Brackley

‘The quality of the whole field’s been really high’

With both the male and female course records being broken, it’s been a fantastic day. Both Kim and Lisa have tested their limits and come out victorious. It’s been truly inspiring watching these athletes achieve their goals.

“The quality of the whole field’s been really high,” Shane Ohly told Lisa at the finish line.

There are still many runners out on the course, with people likely coming into Robin Hood’s Bay throughout Tuesday and Wednesday. You can track their progress here.

If today’s terrific performances have left you wanting to have a go, entries are already open for 2023.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseMany runners are still out on the course © No Limits Photography