Scott Jurek and the #AT Appalachian Trail #FKT

©iancorless.com.Scott Jurek

He needs no introduction; Scott Jurek is an icon in the sport of ultra running. He has won Hardrock 100, Spartathlon, Badwater 135, raced over 24 hours and of course he has won Western States an incredible 7 times in a row, 1999 – 2005.

Listen to my interviews from Talk Ultra HERE and HERE

All Scott Jurek content HERE

In recent years, his running has almost taken a back seat. He shot to ‘more’ fame in Chris McDougall’s book, ‘Born to Run’ and then he released his own book, Eat and Run’ which gave an insight into his Vegan lifestyle, something he has adhered to since 1999.

I was fortunate to spend time with Scott when he came over to the UK, we even managed a run on the Lakeland 100 course which was followed with an impromptu meet and greet and book signing. (Guardian HERE)

For many (me included) we wondered if Scott’s racing days were over? He had a recent attempt at Leadville 100.

Jurek admits his comeback at the Leadville 100-mile trail race “didn’t go entirely to plan“. He was closing on third place when stomach problems and nausea hit. Where years ago he “used to run through that stuff”, this time he lost places and finished eighth.

“Overall, I was happy just getting back on the horse and running another 100-miler,” he says, “to familiarize myself with what it takes.” 

Jurek also participated in Transgrancanaria but it all seemed a far cry from his full on racing days. Scott did say to me though on many occasions, I have more to give and Yiannis Kouras’ 24-hour record still holds a big attraction to me.

Jurek considers the 24-hour race “the pinnacle” of ultra running:

 “There’s nothing else like it – mentally it’s the most difficult.”

Cut to May 27th 2015 and with little fanfare, Scott announced via social media that he would take on the AT (Appalachian Trail).

“Embarking on a big adventure tomorrow, something I’ve always wanted to do. The time is now!” – May 27th via Facebook

Followers of my website and in particular those who follow my podcast, Talk Ultra, will know all about the AT via ‘Speedgoat’ Karl Meltzer’s talk and recent attempt.

It was a surprise to see Scott take this on!

He was very clear with no ambiguity, the record was his target! Jennifer Pharr Davis set the current record of 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes and as Speedgoat will tell you, that record is solid.

Rumors came out that Scott would target 42 days.

Not one for mincing his words, Scott’s good friend, Karl Meltzer said, ‘That ain’t gonna happen!’ This wasn’t out of a lack of respect; it was a simple assessment of the task at hand and the fact that Scott seemed to have considerably less research going into the event, certainly in comparison to Pharr Davis or Meltzer.

Ironically just 4 days into his attempt, Scott picked up some severe knee pain and although hitting some incredibly high daily targets, he slowly but surely got off pace. Something that Meltzer touched on in Talk Ultra podcast:

‘You miss a mile here and a mile there and then all of a sudden you are 20 or 30 miles behind pace and you then you just can’t get that back!’

Meltzer should know, he has one successful AT crossing under his belt and his recent attempt failed after he got behind pace. He does plan to ‘go again’ and 2016 looks likely but just as one would expect, Karl gave up 2 weeks of his time and met Scott on the trail. Running side-by-side the duo slowly but surely goy back on track and now with less than 400 miles to go, Scott may well just achieve what looked impossible.

Yesterday, July 2nd after 36 days, Scott crossed into New Hampshire. He has 400 miles +/- to go. When one considers that the current record stands at 46 days, if Scott maintains his current pace, a new record looks likely. 42 days was always a target and one has to wonder, will Scott put in a couple of really big days to get the job done?

Buzz Burrell on Facebook commented:

 “Scott Jurek is in New Hampshire now, bearing down on the AT … there is no easy way to do this … 100 milers are really hard, multi-days are even harder, and long trail thru-runs are … well…?”

Scott said via his own Facebook page:

“It’s been the rainiest June in Vermont in 130 years so it’s only fitting that my last few miles were in a torrential downpour. Yesterday was a rough one but I was pumped to cross my second to last state line this morning. Hello New Hampshire!’”- (Facebook page HERE)

Supported by his wife Jenny Jurek, the fkt will have no doubt been an epic journey and undertaking for her, something that Scott acknowledged on June 25th:

“Day 4 (he showed a photo of he and Jenny running) of the Appalachian Trail running across Fontana Dam, TN with the love of my life. Without her this journey would be impossible. She is my lifeline and makes sure this ship keeps heading north. Jenny inspires me to keep putting one foot in front of the other when it seems impossible. Hard to believe how far we’ve come, Day 30 today! This one is for you babe!”

So there you have it. Scott has been helped and followed by so many on this epic journey; runners, fans, photographers, press and it is countdown time. I for one am rooting for Scott as he clicks off those final miles.

It’s going to be an exciting week ahead.

If you wonder what impact a journey like this has on ones body. Take a look at these two photgraphs. The first image was taken on May 29th just 2 days after the start, the latter image taken July 2nd.

May 29th Scott Jurek

Both images are protected under copyright – ©scottjurek and ©markgodale

Following on from this post, today July 3rd, Marshall Ulrich posted on Scott’s FB page, and I quote:

Marshall Ulrich Diet is everything, I make no bones about saying Vegan and multiday doesn’t work, many of us discovered this long ago adventure racing, mountaineering and recently running across America, 3063 miles in 52 days, losing only 4 pounds eating anything and everything that my body told me to. Scott is losing muscle mass and has no real food (fats and protiens) to replace it. Having said that, I wish Scott all the luck in the world and I consider him a good friend. p.s. I used to be a vegetarian YEARS ago.

This certainly made me think. What are your thoughts on what Scott is achieving? Is he hampered or fuelled by a Vegan diet?

I have to say, whatever Marshall thinks, Scott is getting it done and that is seriously impressive! But I do wonder, does Marshall make a good point?

Tresidder and Lightfoot to race True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™

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Skyrunning UK is happy to announce that two of the UK’s top mountain runners; Es Tresidder and Ricky Lightfoot will participate in the first edition of the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™

Lightfoot is fresh from victory at USM – Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and considering that the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™ is a home race for him, it only seems correct that he toes the line against Tresidder and others.

‘It is fantastic to see a technical SkyUltra, in the Lake District being added to the UK series in addition to the 3×3. The course is very runnable for the most, but has the glorious ridgelines of Swirral Edge and Striding Edge; they really tick the box for Skyrunning.”

Lightfoot needs no introduction to mountain aficionados; he holds the course record for the infamous OTTER in South Africa, he was crowned IAU World Trail Champion and on home soil has dominated classic fell races like the 3 Peaks.

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To make sure Lightfoot doesn’t have thing all his own way, Es Tresidder will toe the line alongside the Salomon athlete and will no doubt push him all the way. In 2014, after several years completing a Doctorate in Environmental Architecture, Tresidder devoted his summer season to re-finding his form. He scored 8th place at the Matterhorn Ultraks 46k, and 9th at the Giir Di Mont and his goals for 2015 include the Scottish Island Peaks Race (Es’ team, sailing on ‘Obedient’ took top honours), Giir Di Mont, Glencoe Skyline, Els2900, and of course the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™.

“The True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™ takes in some of the best and most challenging terrain that the Lake District has to offer. After doing a few amazing SkyRace’s elsewhere in Europe, I’m really excited to see this sort of ultra-race, incorporating rough and technical ground, come to England.”

Tresidder has long been a strong mover in the mountains, having grown up in a mountaineering family. At the tender age of 16, Tresidder turned up in Snowdonia and bashed out a cracking time round the Snowdon Horseshoe of 1:41. In 2009, he had the opportunity to fully test his mettle on the Snowdon Horseshoe. Coupled with good luck from the weather gods and with running conditions just right, he laid down an FKT, taking in the summits of Crib Goch, Crib Y Ddysgl, Snowdon, Lliwedd W Summit and Lliwedd E summit returning to Pen Y Pass. The time: 1:25.08. It’s a time that stands to this day.

Needless to say, having Tresidder and Lightfoot going head-to-head on UK soil on UK mountains will be a sight to behold irrespective of if you are participating or watching.

Info:

True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™ is part of the UK Skyrunning Series with the race-taking place on 12th September 2015. Starting in Ambleside it covers +50km with 4300m of ascent. Aimed at mountain runners with scrambling experience the race looks set to be a great addition to the UK Skyrunning series. Entry is £70.

http://www.lakesskyultra.uk

Lakes Sky Ultra social media:

Facebook: LakesSkyUltra

Twitter: @LakesSkyUltra

 

Race Directors’ Contacts:

Charlie Sproson 07989697487 @mountain_run

Andrew Burton 07880331559 @denefell

Marco De Gasperi set new #FKT ORTLES 2:36:49

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal.

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal. Image ≠©iancorless.com

Content © http://www.boymountaindreams.com

Skyrunning legend, Marco De Gasperi yesterday, 1/07/2015 set a new FKT (Fastest Known Time) for ORTLES.

Details are as follows:

Difficulty: EEA – AG – III – PD+
Distance: 19,5 kmElevation+: 2.045 m
Starting point: Solda (Stelvio , BZ)
Punti d’appoggio: Rifugio Julius Payer (3029 m)

He completed the full route in a time of 2:36:49 (tbc)

On his website, Marco explains:

Since I was young, I’ve never stopped dreaming.

Even today I find myself dreaming, and never more so than when the mountains capture my gaze. 

These dreams have always been the driving force in my life, whether I have experienced them in reality or they remain unrealised.

And to be honest, these unfinished dreams tend to mirror the regrets that I have in my life.  

Today I feel compelled to realise those dreams, and I’ll begin with the very first one, the one of a boy who dreamt of nothing else by racing over a mountain. 

Today my instinct has steered me to begin the story with a summit that means so much to the valley I’m from, the Ortles.

– ©marcodegaspei – BoyMountainDreams.com

The Ortles is one of the most impressive mountains within the southern Rhaetian Alps and represents the pinnacle of the Ortles-Cevedale massif. At 3,905 metres, it is the highest peak within the Bolzano province and the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol.

The common route is diverse and at times exposed. The glacier poses danger, littered with seracs and crevices, not to mention its gradient. Given the continual glacial retreat, the regular route over the Ortles has been affected, increasing its challenging nature.

Needless to say we congratulate Marco on once again pushing the boundaries and providing all of us the inspiration to explore in the mountains. Bravo Marco!

boymountaindreams

http://www.boymountaindreams.com/en.html

Karl meets Kilian ©suunto ©sebmontaz

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Many thought there would be some tension between Karl Egloff and Kilian Jornet. After all, Karl has broken 2 of Kilian’s records.

View the original Suunto post HERE

“Nothing was set-up,” says the film maker Seb Montaz. “It was really the first time they met. They were both excited to meet and I hope people see them laughing together – there was no rivalry.” – Seb Montaz

But I already knew the answer and Kilian summed it up himself when he said after Aconcagua:

‘Records are there to be broken!’

So what happened when the duo met up in Chamonix?

Video ©suunto ©sebmontaz

You can read my interviews with Kilian HERE and HERE and HERE

Read about Karl HERE

And listen to them both in my podcast HERE

How is your Posture? Part Trois – Marc Laithwaite

Image ©www.mbmyoskeletal.com

                                              Image ©www.mbmyoskeletal.com

Okay, so we’re now onto part 3 of the series and this week we are looking at exercises to correct anterior tilt of the pelvis, which creates the lordosis posture. If you’ve not yet read the last 2 week’s posts, you should read them first. Pt1 HERE and Pt2 HERE.

Why are these exercises important?

Anterior tilt occurs becuase specific muscles may be weak, tight or you simply don’t know how to activate / use them properly. The exercises will therefore strengthen, stretch or activate control of those muscles. By doing this, you will be more aware of correct posture / pelvic position and you will be better able to maintain correct posture / pelvic position during exercise and daily life.

What are the limitations of these exercises?

Don’t presume that by doing these exercises, you will automatically hold perfect posture whilst you are training and racing. The exercises will make it possible to CONTROL your posture, but you must consciously make it happen when you are exercising. I’ve seen many swimmers and runners completing endless drills in the pool or on the track, presuming it will impact on their performance. The reality is that they become awesome at performing the drills and it seems to make no difference to the actual stroke or running stride. The same applies to these exercises, you have to make the transfer happen in a practical setting. Drills and exercises are pointless unless you try to implement them when you actually exercising.

How do I implement them when exercising?

Simple, when running you should always try to run in a pelvic neutral position. The first step is being aware that you’re NOT in a neutral position, then you should be able to use your stomach muscles to rotate the pelvis into the correct position. It might help to do the same cycling, some simple posterior rotation mid ride can prevent hip flexors tightening too much.

What about open water swimming? How many of you get a bad back swimming in a wetsuit? Simple explanation, the stomach muscles are not strong enough and your lower back arches too much (bit like doing a BAD plank exercise and sagging in the middle). Couple this with the fact that a wetsuit gives you buoyant legs and a high head and your body is in a ‘U’ shape position in the water. You need to contract your abdominals and lift your stomach (GOOD plank) to straighten you out and get a level position in the water. The big issue is going from this position in a wetsuit to a complete opposition position leaning forwards on your aero bars, a postural nightmare.

Stop banging on, what are the exercises….

These are the simple exercises which should be done every day without fail. We thought the bext way to show you would be a little youtube video.

NEXT WEEK, we’ll look at the stitch and breathing issues. We’ll also have a look at some of those cramping issues and suggestions to stop calf cramps when swimming etc.

Please pardon by pelvic tilting, it’s not the best viewing. IF YOU FIND THE VIDEO TOO SMALL, click on the YouTube icon, bottom right hand of the video player, it’ll open in YouTube. HERE

About Marc:

Sports Science lecturer for 10 years at St Helens HE College.

2004 established The Endurance Coach LTD sports science and coaching business. Worked with British Cycling as physiology support 2008-2008. Previous Triathlon England Regional Academy Head Coach, North West.

In 2006 established Epic Events Management LTD. Now one of the largest event companies in the NW, organising a range of triathlon, swimming and cycling events. EPIC EVENTS also encompasses Montane Trail 26 and Petzl Night Runner events.

In 2010 established Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 LTD. This has now become the UKs leading ultra distance trail running event.

In 2010 established The Endurance Store triathlon, trail running and open water swimming store. Based in Appley Bridge, Wigan, we are the North West’s community store, organising and supporting local athletes and local events.

Check out the endurance store HERE

Endurance Store Logo

Elisabet Barnes and the Sunset Relay

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Sunset Relay (sunsetrelay.com) is an event organized by Garnier Ambre Solaire in partnership with Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL). The purpose is to raise awareness of the dangers of the sun. As the name suggests it takes the form of a relay, in which participants race the sun for 96 hours / ~1300km. The line-up included top athletes, business people, bloggers, journalists and celebrities who would run, cycle, row, paddle or roller skate.

Staged in the mythical and beautiful Swedish Lapland during the midnight sun, three main sections forming a triangle constituted the course of this first edition: Luleå à Hemavan à Abisko à Luleå. I took part in the second section with six other trail runners (Olof Häggström, Sylvain Court, Jonathan Wyatt, Elina Usscher, Linus Holmsäter & Maud Gobert) and we were running the famous national trail Kungsleden (”King’s Trail”) northbound from Hemavan to Abisko. This trail is 430km long and offers a great variety of terrain, much of which is more technical than one might think for such a popular trail. In this part of Sweden there is still snow in June and with an exceptionally cold start to the summer it was too deep to run in places. We therefore had some last minute alterations to the route and a helicopter was on hand to help us get to the runnable sections.

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Kungsleden is an undulating path. Its highest point is the Tjäkta Pass at 1150 m above sea level. The ground is very varied including rock, trails in the woods with plenty of roots and stones, miles of narrow boards over swampy wetland, meadows, and stream crossings. Although challenging it made the journey on this trail interesting and varied. The views were simply stunning and with the midnight sun it was easy to lose track of time. Was it 2am or 12pm? It was impossible to say without a watch apart from the temperature being a bit cooler at night.

I thoroughly enjoyed the running on Kungsleden. Sweden is my home country and although I spent time in the north as a child skiing and walking in the mountains it was a long time ago. Travelling on this trail felt almost magical. I cherished this unique moment which seemed to encourage me to be present in the now, soaking up the beauty of the surroundings, listening to the roar of the water in the streams I passed and the birds singing in the trees. Occasionally I heard the sound of a branch cracking or leaves rattling on the ground as I disturbed some wildlife. I must admit that I was a bit worried about bears as I ran on the single track through those beautiful mountain birch woods by Abiskojaure Lake. However, it was probably very unlikely I would actually encounter any and all I saw were a few lemmings.

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It was a great privilege to get the opportunity to take part in this event. Aside from the experience of the trail running I met some wonderful people. I would love to go back for an ultra-trail event or maybe run Kungsleden in its entirety. It has been done before by at least a couple of Swedish runners and makes for a beautiful but demanding holiday…

For more information about Kungsleden, go to http://www.svenskaturistforeningen.se/en/Discover-Sweden/Facilities-and-activities/Lappland/kingstrail/

Videos from the event:

https://www.sunsetrelay.com/videos?filter=category&value=14

Photos:

https://instagram.com/sunsetrelay/

The Berghaus Dragons Back Race Day 5 2015 – The back is broken

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‘So what a week, what a journey, impossible to explain how tough, how mentally and physically challenging it was but also how spiritual it has been. Cut off from the world, no social media, no showers, just living in the wild with a group of equal enthusiasts.’ – Mike Evans

It’s over! The Berghaus Dragons Back has been broken. Mike Evans sums it up above, how do you compress the highs and lows of an incredible hard 5 days. For the tough and tireless 66 who completed the full race, the emotion (or lack of) was poignant in Carreg Cennen Castle. For some, it was just too much. I can understand it, 5 days of exhaustion, fatigue and stress and finally it’s over. The simple crossing of a line and a final ‘dib in’ and it was job done.

Some smiled, some laughed, some looked bemused at the assembled group who clapped and cheered; it was all too much and a lack of words summed up the the journey undertaken more than loud chants of yee-ha!

This select and hardy few may well have broken the back of the Dragon but it had been a a touch and go affair for all. Even race winner, Jim Mann said on the final finish line:

‘Dense cloud, rain, cold, difficult navigation, I could have done without that today!’

But slay the Dragon they did and at the evening awards ceremony, race director Shane Ohly summed it up very well:

‘It seems wrong that I have to countdown the finishers from 66 – 1 as it emphasises the top of the field and places a priority on them when in reality, everyone here is a hero.’

The racing and the finish line was full of stories. As you would expect, every single finisher (and non-finisher) had a very unique story to tell. Old to young, these stories will be discussed in time to come and as time passes, more will be revealed. For now, the journey is too raw, too sensitive, the enormity too big to understand. I said during the race that lives would be changed as the race progressed through Wales. I witnessed at first hand how the weak became strong and the strong became weak. It’s the nature of the event. It’s meant to be tough and those who didn’t complete this time, for whatever reason, will learn and I am sure will be back in 2017 for the next edition.

The final day was not without drama. A wet day, conditions proved to be very tough and post race many commented on how difficult the navigation had been in the white out conditions, driving rain and strong winds. It’s somewhat ironic that as Pavel Paloncy crossed the line first, the sun and dry weather followed him and all assembled were treated to a warm and sunny afternoon with incredible views. Paloncy would almost certainly have been a contender for a podium place had he not taken a bad fall on day 1 resulting in hospital treatment.

Mann will of course be remembered as the Dragon Slayer of 2015 but notably it was the year of the ladies with Paris, Pascall and Wraith featuring in the top 10 throughout the race and all 3 of them placing in the top 6 – Paris 2nd, Pascall 4th and Wraith 6th. Just like in the original race when Helene Whitaker showed the men a thing or two, 2015 had all the potential for a repeat performance and this was something Ohly touched on at the awards:

‘Despite the so called ‘advantages’ men have, ladies once again triumphed at the Dragons Back Race and I think that it is brilliant. All 3 ladies raced incredibly well and Paris had all the potential to win the race outright.’

Father and son team Glenn and Huw Davies in many ways provided me with a raw insight into the race. Having lost my father way too young I watched this duo battle the terrain as one. Joined together from beginning to end they witnessed each others highs and lows in a way that is beyond comprehension. Ever day I looked at them, envious of the time they were having together. What they shared is beyond special and I can only wish that I had had that opportunity in my life. When they finished in the castle it was a whirl of emotion for the duo; it all proved too much for young Huw (just 22), ‘I am real proud of my dad!’

It’s funny, all assembled, big to small, old to young suddenly got something in their eyes… maybe it was the wind or the midgies?

Joe Faulkner, legend that he is completed the very first Dragons Back Race and in 2012 he came back for more. Completing the 2015 event makes him quite the unique individual. He is the only person ever to complete all 3 Dragon Back Races. Wow! As a just reward, Ohly offered a tribute to Faulkner at the awards ceremony and acknowledged how instrumental he had been in Ohly’s own rise and development in the sport. As a nod of recognition, Ohly asked Faulkner to offer the awards to male and female winners; Jasmine Paris and Jim Mann.

Beer was flowing, spirits were high and as Paris and Mann sat down with awards in hand, the 2015 Berghaus Dragons Back race came to a close.

I can’t help but think there a great deal of runners (and marshals) today sitting, looking around and thinking, ‘What next?’ Races are like that, they make you, they break you, they inspire you and they take you to the lowest of the low and highest of the high. Plans are being made. What’s next?

It may very well be a new adventure, a new challenge, another race, maybe even recovery  but I know one thing,  all those who toed the line in the north of Wales a week a go will now be thinking of 2017 and contemplating coming back for more.

Like a Phoenix, the Dragon will rise from the ashes of 2015 and return in 2017.

Just one last question:

Can you tame the Dragon?

http://www.dragonsbackrace.com

Full results HERE

It’s extremely important to acknowledge the tireless help and devotion of all the volunteer marshals, kitchen staff and crew that made this race happen. They had their own ultra to undertake and events like this could not happen without them. In addition, sponsors provide an aid that facilitates the day-to-day functioning and feasibility of a race like this. Ohly pointed out his appreciation for Berghaus as a main sponsor, ‘Without them this event could not happen!’

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The Berghaus Dragons Back Race Day 5 2015 – Meet the Runners

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“Remember this day, for it will be yours for all time!” – King Leonidas

Today, 80 runners departed the final Berghaus Dragons Back Race 2015 start line. Battle scarred, they once again face another gruelling day; 56.5km and 2300m of vertical gain.

But who are these brave souls?

Take a look, 4 days of pain engrained on each face. It takes a special person to enter the Berghaus Dragons Back Race but it takes an extra special person to finish.

This race has thrown everything at the runners and in general, weather conditions have been good. Yes they have had rain, mist, clag and occasional strong winds but there has been no disaster days of torrential rain or storms.

It has been an inspiration to share the journey of so many and to document it. We look on in awe at the front of the race and how Jim Mann and Jasmin Paris (and others) can run so fast and effortlessly over such tough and challenging terrain. But Jezz Bragg summed it up for me at the end of day 3 when runners finished well into the night only to get a few hours sleep and then get up and do it all again:

‘These guys are the heroes. They are out all day from 6am, marching on and then they finish at 11pm. They have no rest, no recuperation, no time to eat properly, hydrate and just manage themselves; I couldn’t do it!’

Just last night, the last official runner completed the course in just a few minutes under 11 hours. He was told:

‘You need to start at 6am in the morning so that you have a fighting chance to make the afternoon cut off and complete the race.’

Without hesitation or grumble, they say ‘OK!’ and off they go.

It was never meant to be easy

I can confirm 100% that this race has not been easy, I would actually go as far as saying that this has been one of the toughest races I have worked on. It has been special.

As today draws to a close, the faces below will arrive at Carreg Cennen Castle having run the Dragons Back of Wales. I am looking forward to welcoming each and everyone of them at what will have been a life changing journey.

The Berghaus Dragons Back Race Day 4 2015 – Race Images

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Day 3 took its toll on the runners in the 2015 Berghaus Dragons Back Race and on the morning of day 4; over 50% of the field had withdrawn. It’s fair to say that the Dragons Back Race is one of the toughest multiday races in the world. The relentless terrain, continuous climbing and descending, navigation, sleep deprivation and long days really do make this a toughie!

However, the terrain changed today for day 4. Green fields and rolling hills replaced the dramatic and rugged landscape of the 3 previous days.

Rolling terrain and less vertical ascent does in principal equate to more runnable terrain. However, no matter how runnable the terrain may be, you still need the legs to run! As you can imagine, the runners left in the race do have somewhat sore legs!

After a cloudy start and slight drizzle, the sun slowly broke through the grey but it did take a while; the final hours of the day were baked in glorious sunshine.

Although beautiful, the day 4 course did not have the challenging terrain of the previous days and it was another long day at 64km with 2273m of vertical gain.

It was a routine day at the front of the race with the main protagonists from the previous 3 days confirming their status as the strongest runners in a quality and determined field. Unfortunately, the front of the race did loose a top contender!

 

Jez Bragg had had a tough day during day 3 with stomach issues and then during the night he had chills, sickness and little or no sleep. He did force some breakfast down and start the day but it soon became clear he was depleted. He reluctantly pulled out of the race.

Jim Mann obviously decided that his 1hour 30min lead over the rest of the field was enough and decided to run day 4 with 2nd overall and 1st lady, Jasmin Paris. Paris was a favourite coming into the Berghaus Dragons Back Race and she has excelled showing everyone a clean pair of heals everyday and in the process she has looked fresh and confident.

Beth Pascall and Lizzie Wraith both looked strong all day, Pascall said post race said, ‘I felt as though I couldn’t go any faster but then I hit the last section. All road! I decided I had to get that over with as soon as possible so I speeded up. Just goes to show, it’s all in the head!’

Wraith came into the race with a bug and had said that she was unsure how her week would go. Obviously it has gone well and just this morning, before the race started she said, ‘If I can finish top 10, I will be over the moon.’

Equally consistent at the front end of the action has been Konrad Rawlik and Damian Hall. Rawlik is 3hour 30min ahead of Hall so we have no fears of a last minute surge on the final day. That would take some serious navigation error!

Tomorrow is the final day! It’s fair to say that anyone who has now finished the first 4 days will finish day 5. Of course, there are no guarantees – a fall, an accident or a serious navigation error could stop all that but lets cross our fingers; believe me, everyone is going to deserve the finish line.

Results day 4

1 – Jim Mann 7:58:50

2 – Jasmin Paris 7:58:54

3 – Beth Pascall 8:27:31

4 – Konrad Rawlik 8:28:25

5 – Damian Hall 8:47:52

6 – Lizzie Wraith 9:11:03

7 – Owen Rees 9:42:01

8 – Jonas Mollare 9:45:26

9 – Lawrence Eccles 10:30:20

10 – Charlie Sharpe 10:38:38

 

The Berghaus Dragons Back Race Day 3 2015 – Race Images

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It is day 3 of the Berghaus Dragons Back Race and despite a very long day for all the competitors yesterday (53.9km), today they have a whopping 68.3km to cover. Ouch!

Needless to say the runners are exhausted and this is reflected in the current drop out rate of 30% (+/-.) This will change as today progresses! Early morning good weather had been replaced with clag, drizzle and colder temperatures. It’s a difficult combination to contend with; navigation will be considerably harder due to a lack of visibility and of course colder temperatures and wet increases the risk of hypothermia.

It was going to be tough.

Starting in a timing window of  0600 – 0900, the runners looked in good spirits as they climbed up to the first control at Gau Craig (683m.) Today they finished with a final climb of Pumlumon Fawr (752m) but before that, they have 5 peaks to ascend and descend and a total of 10 controls to meet.

An epic day and one that confirms the Berghaus Dragons Back Race as one of  the (if not THE) toughest events I have worked on.

From the early action, as one would expect, male leader Jim Mann and female leader Jasmin Paris looked the strongest. However, it was long day with some challenging navigation and in these conditions, anything could happen.

Lizzie Wraith and Beth Pascall both looked strong as they tried to close the gap on Paris and notably, Jez Bragg appeared to be getting stronger as the race progresses but this only lasted for so long as unfortunately Bragg’s stomach caused him issues during the day which really impacted on his pace.

Mann continued his dominance producing another spectacular performance and Pascall rallied producing the fastest time for the ladies just a couple of minutes ahead of race leader, Paris.

Konrad Rawlik and Jez Bragg once again ran consistent performances and placed 2nd and 3rd men but they were both beaten by Pascall and Paris.

Bragg said post race, ‘My stomach flared up. It can do that every now and again. I usually have it under control but on multiple days like this it can become fragile. Have to say, this is a seriously tough race. It is relentless! It’s also great to see the top 3 ladies doing so well; they are so consistent.’

So, although Mann is providing everyone a masterclass performance at the Berghaus Dragons Back Race, the ladies trio of Paris, Pascall and Wraith are providing some serious inspiration for all.

Day 4 is going to be another long day and as I write this, another 13 runners have retired from the race. Cut off is 2300 hours and I will update more tomorrow and provide an insight into the day 4 route.

Results Day 3

  1. Jim Mann 9:12:03 – 25:02:47
  2. Beth Pascall 9:42:50 – 28:20:17
  3. Jasmin Paris 9:44:26 – 26:37:06
  4. Konrad Rawlik 10:01:53 – 27:26:16
  5. Jezz Bragg 10:07:37 – 28:28:41
  6. Damian Hall 10:18:31 – 28:13:47

Lizzie Wraith was 10:20:09 – 30:31:40

Overall results after 3 days:

  1. Jim Mann 25:02:47
  2. Konrad Rawlik 27:26:16
  3. Damian Hall 28:13:47
  1. Jasmin Paris 26:37:06 (2nd overall)
  2. Beth Pascall 28:20:17
  3. Lizzie Wraith 30:31:40

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