Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ 2017 – Day 3

A day of drama in Wales as 2015 champion and 2017 race leader Jim Mann, makes a navigational error and not only loses his strong and convincing lead, but also gives away an additional 30-minutes… needless to say, on the finish line he was less than pleased with his navigational prowess.

The day started at 0600 as much of the field started early to maximise the time available to be back in camp before the 2300 cut-off. Forecast was for clear skies and sun and a tough day.

The first control at Pau Craig had a 2-hour guide and many were finding the early climb to just under 700m a challenge. For the lead ladies, Sabrina Verjee and Carol Morgan arrived together – Caroline McIlroy having started earlier. The men arrived in dribs and drabs – Marcus Scotney getting an early start and then the other main contenders arriving closer together, Neil Talbot  first, then Jez Bragg and then finally Jim Mann who appeared to be flying on the tough/ steep terrain.

Myndd Moel followed at 683m and a series of false peaks before dropping down to the first road crossing at Llanllwyda.

The ladies were running strong holding their respective places with Verjee and Morgan running together. Morgan no doubt looking to open up a gap on McIlroy – the duo were only 30+ seconds apart on general classification.

At Cadair Idris, Mann made his error – he navigated south off the course. Unfortunately he ran for many km’s before navigating back north only to go off course again and lose more time and distance.

Scotney, who loves to run, started to extend his lead and claw back the 90-minutes of Mann’s lead.

It was the end of the day when the damage was really starting to come clear. Scotney arrived at Pumlumon Fawr (the last control) looking strong, relaxed and focussed. He said, ‘I feel good!’ )n hearing the news that Mann had gone off course, he no doubt found some new gusto for the final downhill run to the line on good fast terrain. He crossed the line in 7:54:33.

When Mann finally arrived, he was a long way back and pushing hard. Of course it can be a little confusing as the duo did not start at the same time. Crossing the line in 9:30:43 – the true extent of the damage was finally confirmed, Scotney had taken the overall lead by approx 26-minutes, 24:25:02 to Mann’s 24:51:08 elapsed time.

Neil Talbott, Jez Bragg and Ken Sutor once again had strong and consistent days finishing 9:31:55, 9:36:35 and 9:34:30 respectively.

Sabrina Verjee and Carol Morgan pretty much shadowed each other for most of the day. In the latter stages Verjee looked hot and bothered with her effort in the strong hot sun – she crossed the line in 11:01:05 and retained the overall lead in 30:46 :13 elapsed.

Morgan finished in 11:07:46 with an elapsed time of 31:30:13 but the ladies story was all about McIlroy who finished in 11:06:52 and therefore consolidating her lead for 2nd with an elapsed time of 31:28:44.

Results HERE

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ 2017 – Countdown Begins

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Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ 2017 Entries Confirmed

The 4th edition of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race takes place this May 22nd-26th 2017. The original race first took place in 1992 before being rekindled in 2012 by Ouea Events – the brainchild of Shane Ohly.

‘The toughest mountain running race in the world’

©iancorless.com_DragonsBack2015Day1-6649The 2017 edition of the race, sold out in less than 14-days and now, with just under 3 months to go, Ourea Events have a definitive list of those who will toe the line – 23 nationalities will be represented at the 2017 event.

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Ourea Events are also delighted to welcome back the Berghaus Relay team who are offered the unique opportunity to split the 5-day race between 5 of their staff, handing over the baton at each overnight camp.

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Berghaus’s commitment to both the upcoming 2017 and 2019 editions of the race allows organisers to further cement the event’s world-class reputation in delivering a superb participant experience, live GPS tracking for a worldwide audience, and in daily releases of film footage and photography.

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Congregating at the start line at 7am on May 22nd inside the walls of Conwy Castle, 270 participants will take a first step on one of the ultimate running tests not only in the UK but the world. They will embark south on an incredible journey along the mountainous spine of Wales the Dragons Back!

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The 2015 route will remain mostly unchanged,and features one of the most punishing first days of any multi-stage race, tackling all but 3 of the 14 Welsh 3000s. Day 2 once again heads into some of the roughest and most arduous terrain in the UK; the craggy, heather-infested Rhinogs. “Think like a sheep” was advice anecdotally presented to 2015 participants by Race Director Shane Ohly in order to navigate through the myriad of faint trods. Statistically, if participants make it through both this and the following (longest – 68.3km) day, they are most likely to finish the full race.

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A 60-strong event team, a large proportion of which are volunteers, who take responsibility for campsite builds, checkpoint placing, mountain safety, media coverage, catering, and much more make this event possible, without them, there would be no event!

National Trust Wales, the National Parks, and landowners are equally valuable to the smooth progress of the race.

Full entry list can be viewed HERE

A full preview of the race and who we can expect to feature in the overall rankings will follow, however, as a teaser, here is a few names to whet the appetite.

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Jez Bragg will return after running in the 2015 event and Marcus Scotney, winner of the Cape Wrath Ultra will also toe the line. Carol Morgan will without doubt be a name to watch in the ladies’ race as will Sabrina Verjee – this is just the tip of the iceberg. A full preview to follow.

Winners of the 2015 event were Jim Mann and Jasmin Paris.

You can also follow on Facebook HERE, on Twitter HERE and on Instagram HERE

Support the podcast and website by becoming a Patron HERE

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V3K Skyrunning UK 2016 – Race Preview

©iancorless.com_DragonsBack2015Day1-6632Skyrunning UK is set to reach new heights in 2016 for what will be the biggest year yet. Now in its third year, the calendar has grown and with it, so have the races. The V3K kicks off the 2016 calendar and like many races in the series, it’s a sell out!

Niandi CARMONT writes on behalf of iancorless.com and Skyrunning UK to provide a preview of this years race.


Ehed amser : time flies. It’s hard to believe that it’s once again time for the first race in the year in the UK Skyrunning Series. This is the third consecutive year that Skyrunning UK kicks off with the V3K. The race celebrates its 5th edition and there is no better way for the local Skyrunning aficionados to test their training and form than on this challenging and stunning course. What lies in store for the 234 entrants on June 18th? Well hopefully some clement spring weather although weather conditions can be very changeable. One thing is for sure, the course will take competitors over 53km of grassy fells, rocky mountainous terrain and up and down the Welsh 3000s – in all 15 (or 14) peaks over 3000ft. A Welsh roller-coaster ride across the Snowdon Massive, Glyderau and Carneddau taking in some of the most scenic and picturesque landscapes of the British Isles. The Race Director Kirsch Bowkler adds “If weather conditions dictate we will divert away from Crib Goch”. The latter is probably the most technical part of the course, a knife-edged arête in the Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd. The name means “red ridge” in the Welsh language.

So what times are this year’s contenders looking to beat? Gareth Hughes won the 2015 edition in 7:34:11 and Sarah Ridgeway won the ladies’ race in 9:22:13. And by the looks of it, these year’s podium contenders look very promising.

In the male field, Shane OHLY is well-known in local Skyrunning circles. Shane, an elite and experienced navigator and climber but also race director of UK Skyrunning events, will be running on very familiar terrain. Based in the Lake District, Shane’s training has been very race-specific although in terms of volume he feels he could have done more “The sad reality is that I’ve been spending potential training time organizing events! Honestly, I am going for the experience”. We’ll see …

Charles SPROSON is another experienced fell-runner and navigator to look out for. Charlie also lives in the Lake District and organizes events. He is very familiar with the terrain and like Shane will do well on technical sections of the course. As a navigatorw and LSU coach he has plenty of opportunities to put his mountaineering and fell-running skills into practice in the Lakes. “I’ve been running over Striding Edge on a regular basis throughout the winter and into the spring, steadily bashing away at going up and down mountains and ascending Pinnacle Ridge with clients”. With the amount of time he spends on the fells, Charlie is definitely a podium contender next week.

Defending champion Oli JOHNSON from the Dark Peak Fell Runners and a member of Team Inov8 UK is not new to the V3K. Last year in 2015 he finished first in ex aequo with Gareth Hughes in a winning time of 7:34:11. He will be back to better that record no doubt and keep the male field on their toes. Like Shane and Charlie, he is an experienced and talented fell runner and orienteer. Oli COMPLETED THE Goretex Transalpine-Run in 2015, a multi-stage event covering 293km over 8 days in a time of 31:17:28 finishing 11th overall and 4th in his category. He has thus proven that he can stand his own against international competition on hard technical terrain.

Kim COLLISON

Kim placed 20TH in the IAU Trail World Championships in Annecy in 2015 over 85km and 1st in the Lakeland 50 in 2014 with a time of 7:48. Victory at the Mourne Skyline MTR and a string of other high profile results arguably elevates Kim as the hot favourite of the 2016 V3K.

Richard ASHTON

Richard has completed a few Skyrunning events and long-distance events– amongst other Transvulcania, Lavaredo Ultra Trail and the Peak Skyrace (3rd in 2015). Richard is also a keen mountaineer and ice-climber.

In the Ladies’ race local defending champion Sarah RIDGEWAY will be back after her victory last year in 9:22:13 where she placed 9th overall. Sarah will be looking to defend her title. This Welsh runner is based in Snowdonia, her back garden so to speak and will be running on home ground. Sarah has performed well in shorter local races and gets plenty of training preparing and coaching athletes for Skyrunning events. Sarah excels on technical terrain and placed third in the grueling and gnarly Glencoe Skyline last year behind Emilie Forsberg and Jasmin Paris in a time of 9:21:44.

Beth PASCAL is a challenger Sarah Ridgeway will need to look out for. Beth has been doing very well in ultra and extreme multi-stage events, Beth was 1st lady and 4th overall in the Montane Spine Race in 2015, 2ND in the Lakeland 100 in 2014. Beth certainly has the stamina and gutsiness required to aim for a top podium place in the V3K and potentially set a new course record. Beth will be attempting a podium after her recent victories over 50km at the Keswick Mountain Festival where she literally smashed the course record to finish in a winning time of 5:21, thus finishing 7th overall and at the Highland Fling in May, a 53-mile trail race following the West Highland Way set to be the British Trail Championships 2016. Although it was a much flatter and faster race than what Beth is used to, her speed work and tempo runs paid off and she finished well ahead of her rivals in 7:52:55. With her natural ability and stamina to perform well on mountainous, rocky terrain and over very long distances as well as her regular training in Snowdonia and the Peaks, she stands a good chance of setting a new course record and claiming victory next weekend.

Ciara DOWNES is relatively new to Skyrunning but this lady coached by Robbie Britton placed well in Marathon des Sables 2016 with a ranking of 243 overall in a field of 1200 participants and will be testing her fell-running skills on the V3K course. Ciara has had more experience of flatter and faster trail running on less technical terrain but who knows?

And so the countdown begins to the first of the Skyrunning UK events as the competitors taper towards what promises to be a very exciting race weekend

Pob Iwc! Or for those who don’t speak Welsh, Good Luck and may there be Less Cloud, More Sky!


Skyrunning UK is sponsored by RAIDLIGHT UK

Skyrunning UK website is available HERE

Skyrunning UK calendar HERE

The DRAGON has been unleashed #DragonsBackRace 2015

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The DRAGON has been unleashed and the 2015, 3rd edition of the #DragonsBackRace is underway. Here are a few images from the first summit of the day, as you can see, the rain is already here and the wind was blowing in strongly from the sea.

©iancorless.com_DragonsBack2015Day1-3996As in 2012, a Welsh male voice choir started the race and on the stoke of 0700 the runners were off! Running around the Conwy Castle walls they all have a tough day ahead that includes the Snowdon horseshoe route and the challenging Crib Goch. At just under 50km, it’s going to be a challenging first day.

Live tracking is available here: http://www.dragonsbackrace.com/live-tracking/

Followon Twitter – @DragonsBackRace @TheRealBerghaus @talkultra

Facebook – facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

The Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ – Registration

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It is the day before the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ and runners are slowly arriving in Conwy, Wales to register ahead of one of the toughest challenges available over a multi-day format.

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Travelling from the north to the south of Wales via it’s spine, runners will depart at 0700 on Monday 22nd June and over 5 days they will look to endure (and conquer) everything that Wales has to offer. Long days, tough climbs and quad busting descents. Yes, the Dragons Back Race is arguably one of the toughest multi-day adventures in the world.

It’s going to be an extremely exciting week with runners travelling from all over the world to take part. We have some key runners taking part: Jez Bragg (The North Face) who just last weekend set a remarkable FKT for The Ramsay Round (interview HERE), Pavel Paloncy who has won The Spine, Ed Catmur, Charlie Sharpe, Andre Jonsson, Konrad Rawlik, John Duggan, Jim Mann and Joe Faulkner who has run and completed the 2 previous editions of the Dragons Back.

The ladies race may prove to be extremely exciting with a wealth of talented fast ladies: Jasmin Paris recently won the Fellowman, Lizzie Wraith is the current Lakeland 100 course record holder but recently has has some problems with Giardia, Beth Pascall the 2014 Spine winner, Carol Morgan, Kerstin Rosenqvist and Joanna Zakrzewski who is a prolific road racer particularly at the 100km distance and the iconic Comrades in South Africa.

Nerves are on edge in Conwy. Bags are being packed, labels are added, transponders attached to packs and race T shirts collected. It’s countdown time. If you have an opportunity why not come out and support the race. Tomorrow am will almost certainly be an impressive start.

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123 runners are registered to start and currently we have information that the following will not start the 2015 edition: Don King, Nick Mead (The Guardian), Adam Stirk, Achillefs Tsaltas, Debbie Brupbacher, Rod Sutcliffe and William Gane.

For the third edition of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™, members of the public will be able to follow the race live with GPS tracking of the competitors and a leaderboard of their positions as they pass through each checkpoint.
Award winning Slackjaw Productions will also be filming the event and publishing multiple 90 second videos on the event website as the race unfolds each day. 1992 winner Helene Whitaker will be presenting these films and providing expert commentary.
It is going to be exciting and compelling viewing, which all kicks off on Monday 22nd June.
Also, keep an eye on Twitter for updates from:
@DragonsBackRace and @TheRealBerghaus
@talkultra and on Facebook – facebook.com/iancorlessphotography
#DragonsBackRace