Taming the Dragon – 2017 Dragons Back Race Preview

Jim Mann – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Travelling from the North of Wales to the South via the ‘Dragons Back’ – the 2017 edition of the Berghaus Dragons Back Race looks set to have all the makings of a classic. A gigantic 315km route awaits the runners as they make the journey over multiple days. 

Day 1 in its own right is a tough day in the mountains as the best of Wales provides a stunning backdrop and stage setter for the race. In past editions, the opening day has proved too much for many… will 2017 be the same? It’s expected that 30% of those who start will not begin day 2 – a frightening statistic! 

Jim Mann, winner of the 2015 edition of the race has decided to return and defend his crown. After a tough 2016, Jim has recently returned to form after in ‘Winter Round’ record breaking run. Mann completed the Charlie Ramsay Round, the Paddy Buckley Round and the Bob Graham Round all within 1-month and set a new benchmark for the triple. 

British ultra-running pioneer Jez Bragg toed the line in 2015 but was forced to withdraw through illness, no doubt he will look to put the record straight in 2017. However, Cape Wrath 2016 champion Marcus Scotney will want to make sure he continues a winning streak of Ourea Events multi-day success with a strong performance.

Nickademus Hollon from the USA is well known in the ultra-world but may well fly under the radar of the UK based runners. Hollon was the youngest runner to complete the infamous Barkley and has placed 2nd at the Tor des Geants. He loves a challenge and although the UK mountains may well be new to him, we can anticipate a strong performance.

Alistair Hubbard and Neil Talbot may very well be the other prime contenders to take top honors on this journey through Wales. Hubbard has won the expert category on the Great Lakeland 3-Day – a great build up race to the Welsh multi-day adventure.

With the absence of Jasmin Paris, the ladies’ race is open but many are tipping Carol Morgan as a potential favorite. Her recent victory at The Spine is a standout result and it confirms that she can keep pushing even when tiredness and sleep deprivation are prevalent.

Sabrina Verjee is a regular Ourea Event competitor and participated in the 2015 Dragons Back Race where she placed 14th overall. It’s fair to say that Verjee has improved since then and she recently won the Great Lakeland 3-Day.

Italian Emanuela Marzotto came to running late in life and has made up for lost time with a sting of back-to-back performances in the world’s biggest ultras and multi-day races. Her experience in the Marathon des Sables was no doubt instrumental in her success in winning the 2016 Cape Wrath Ultra. Without doubt, she will have her hands full racing against Morgan and Varjee in Wales. 

A final nod goes to Canada’s Emily Compton who is a complete unknown on UK soil but she has accumulated a string of top-10 results dating back to 2012. Notable markers being 3rd at Vulcano Ultra Trail in 2013 and 5th at Yakima Skyline Rim 50k in 2016.

Action begins on May 20th when runners will arrive in Wales ahead of the May 21st start.

You can follow the daily action via this website in words and images and on Twitter – @talkultra and on Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Episode 34 – Hollon, Hicks, Davies & Stephenson

TU34

On this weeks show we speak to 22 year old Nick Hollon who just recently finished the infamous Barkley Marathon. We catch up with Natalie White who tells us all about the future plans for UK based Inov-8 who are 10 years old in June. We have chat with Ozzies Brendan Davies and Shona Stepehenson who placed 5th and 2nd respectively at UTMF in Japan. In Talk Training we speak to Mitch from Stride UK. We also speak to Chris Mills in 15 mins of fame. We have a blog, the news, up and coming races and of course, Speedgoat.

00:00:00

00:00:45 Start

00:09:50 News

Evesham Ultra

Robbie Britton 6:47:17, Mark Davies 07:11:58, Mark Denby 07:12:04

Hayley Stockwell 8:47:51, Joan Clarke 8:57:08, Sandra Goldsack 9:12:54

Lizzy Hawker

once again continues to inspire, she recently broke her own speed record from running Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu – 319km in 63hr 8min.

She is now pack in Nepal to do the Mustang Mountain Trail Race – multi stage 277k in 8 days

Iznik Ultra

130km

1  Mahmut Yavuz 13:52 2 .Aykut Çelikbas 14:15 3 . Mustafa Poyraz 15:14

1. Elena Polyakova 15:00 2. Muazzez Özçelik 19:53 3. Bakiye Duran 22:55

80km

1. Tanzer Dursun 8:13 2  Ahmet Zeren 8:19 3  Özgür Tetik 8:2

1.Amy Sproston 7:12 2.  Alessia De Matteis 9:29 3  Sirin Mine Kiliç 9:55

Leona Divide

50k

Yassine Diboun 4:03:33, Jeremy Humphrey 4:09:59 and Aaron Keller 4:33:19

Rachel Lipman 5:21:56, Gwendolyn Ostrosky 5:30:59 and Ruth McCoy 5:41:43

50m

Robert Krar 5:53:51, Jason Wolfe 6:43:10 and Jason Schlarb 6:44:54

Melanie Peters 7:30:47, Jenny Capel 7:59:23 and Kristina Folcik 8:31:05

UTMF 

1. Hara 19:39 2. Chorier 19:48 3.Chaigneau 19:50 4. Gary Robbins 20:20 5. Brendan Davies 20:38

1. Krissy Moehl 24:35:45 2. Shona Stephenson 25:56:52 3. Hitomi Ogawa 26:15:25

IAU – 100km European Championships on April 27th

Asier CUEVAS 6:53:14 Michaël BOCH 6:56:49 José Antonio REQUEJO 6:57:02

Irina ANTROPOVA 7:42:52, Sue HARRISON 7:48:12 and Sophia SUNDBERG 7:53:21

http://www.5000mileproject.org – British couple, David and Katherine are  running 5000m across South America in 1 year! They started on July 28th. I have had some email chats with David and we hope to hook up within the next month or so.

Zion 100

Pierre Loic Deragne 17:52:10, Andy Pearson 17:55:12, Matt Cecill 18:42:22

Jennifer Benna (and 5th overall) 19:01, Larisa Dannis 20:22:23, Pam Reed 24:09:23

Hoka Highland Fling

Lee Kemp 7:02:50 (new CR), Ricky Lightfoot 7:09:30 and Matt Williamson 7:21:51

Tracy Dean had a real battle to the line with a calf injury but held on to win by just over 1 min ahead of Fionna Cameron 9:12:21. Third was Sandra Bowers in 9:17:02

00:2415 Brendan Davies – Brendan recently raced at Tarawera ultra in New Zealand. Part of the Inov-8 international team, he recently raced at the Ultra Trail Mt Fuji in Japan. He says it is the hardest race he has ever done… he was 5th. We caught up with Brendan just days after the race. Website HERE

00:36:37 Back to News

00:38:30 Shona Stephenson – Shona, a personal trainer and mum of two girls also raced at the Ultra Trail Mt Fuji. Like Brendan, she is also part of the Inov-8 international team. Shona secured an impressive second place behind US based Krissy Moehl, we caught up with Shona when she arrived back home in Australia. Website HERE

00:56:08 Back to News

01:05:10 Meghan Hicks – has raced at Marathon des Sables several times before. However, in 2013 she returned with several objectives. Her main priority was to make the podium but her ultimate goal was to win the race…. we caught up with Meghan at her home in Utah, less than 14 days after the iconic 28th edition of the MDS. Website HERE

01:43:10 Blog – Anton Krupicka is back…. he always writes a very detailed daily post. Here is a highlight:

Sat-AM: 6:59, 11,500′ ~ Grand Canyon Double Crossing

Used the standard South-North Kaibab route and clocked a 6:59:24 roundtrip, which was a 17min PR for me and I think ~30sec under Mackey’s previously 2nd-fastest time (but still 6min short of Dakota’s FKT). I didn’t know if I was going to go particularly quick today, but thought I’d just see how the legs were feeling. After getting down to the river pretty quickly (despite being slowed a minute or two by a descending mule train), I decided to keep going steady and see how things shook out. Felt pretty solid all the way to the North Rim, hiking a fair bit above the Supai Tunnel, but then on the way back down I was definitely already getting pretty tired by time I made it back to the residence water spigot. Things got progressively worse on the run back to Phantom Ranch (stiff, achey, tired legs), but I pounded three bottles of water there (spending 4min at the spigot) and then climbed quite strongly all the way to Tip-Off, but above there things got pretty weak/queasy as I ran out of water about half-way up. At Tip-Off I thought there was a really good chance I could still get Dakota’s record–even take 5min or so off of it–but in the end I was just psyched to sneak in under 7hr. Great run, and a good confidence boost going into TV, as I know I still have a lot of running fitness to gain. Had another 12min of running on the day, getting to and from the South Rim. Splits: River, :46; Phantom Ranch, :53-54; Cottonwood, 1:54; Residence, 2:09-10; Bridge, 2:42; Supai Tunnel, 2:56; North Rim, 3:22; Supai Tunnel, 3:35; Bridge, 3:43?; Residence, 4:04-6; Cottonwood, 4:16; Phantom, 5:08-12; River, 5:19; Tip-Off, 5:49; Skeleton Pt, 6:14; Cedar Ridge, 6:37; South Rim, 6:59:24.

01:45:10 Talk Training – this week we introduce Mitch to Talk Training. Mitch is based in the UK and has a practice called STRIDE UK (http://www.strideuk.com). In our first episode we touch on the importance of flexibility and stretching.

01:59:45 Natalie White Inov-8 – UK based company Inov-8 have a reputation for making some of the best running shoes available. They have made some iconic products such as the famous ‘Mud Claw’. In 2013 they are introducing a new clothing range to the brand, they have created an inter nation racing team and they also celebrate a 10th birthday in June. Website HERE

02:17:45 Nickademus Holllon – Barkley ultra marathon is infamous. It strikes fear into any runner. So difficult is this iconic ultra that finishers are few and far between, Nick Hollon not only completed the race in 2013 but at the age of 22 he also became the youngest ever winner. We caught up with Nick to hear all about how he achieved a finish and also to find out how started in running… he has a great story. Believe me, he doesn’t like to make things easy! Website HERE

03:09:45 Back to Karl

03:14:00 Meltzer Moment – Speedgoat gives us his Good, Bad and Ugly.

03:18:40 15 min of fame – this week we speak to Chris Mills (24fifty.com). Chris is just an ordinary guy. He actually hasn’t run an ultra…. yet! But I am sure when you listen to him, you will find his story inspiring.

03:3210 Races – the up and coming races for the next two weeks.

03:40:05

Links