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.

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Jasmin Paris does it again… !

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Jasmin at Salomon Glen Core Skyline

Jasmin Paris does it again…. following on from her incredible 15:24 Bob Graham Round and her 16:13 Ramsay Round. This weekend, Jasmin completed the Paddy Buckley in 18:33 (tbc). That is the UK’s ‘BIG 3 ROUNDS’ completed.

“Paddy Buckley round in 18.33. Had to dig deeper than ever before. Huge thanks to an incredible team for making it possible. Time for a rest!” – Via Jasmin on Twitter

The Paddy Buckley, also sometimes known as the WCR, (Welsh Classical Round) is the Welsh equivalent of the BGR. Considered tougher than the BGR, a record attempt can be considered to take at least 1-hour longer.

Covering approximately 61-miles and 8500m +/- of ascent, the route takes in 47 ‘tops’ within Snowdonia.

Wendy Dodds was the first to complete the round way back in 1982, her time was 25:38. Like most rounds, the aim is to complete the round in sub 24, this was first done in 1985 by Martin Stone. He ran 23:26.

The route as one may guess, was devised by Paddy Buckley and it may be started at any point and can be completed in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.

Jasmin very clearly had a desire to complete and maybe set three records on all three rounds in 2016. An incredible feat, especially when one considers what she has also achieved in addition. A 3rd place at the Skyrunning World Championships, 6th place at her first 100-mile race; UTMB. Victory at Tromso SkyRace and the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline which also provided a world series title for the Skyrunner World Series in the Extreme category.

This Paddy Buckley result, in addition to all the other results listed, well and truly places Jasmin as one of the most interesting prospects in the fell, trail, mountain, ultra and Skyrunning world.

Congratulations Jasmin!

The previous ladies record was set in 2013 by Nicky Spinks in a time of 19:02. Therefore, once ratified, Jasmin Paris will hold records on all 3 rounds.

Fastest aggregate time for the three rounds in one year was by Adrian Belton – completed over 29 days in 1989.

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Jasmin on her way to victory, Tromos SkyRace

Rab Mountain Marathon™ 2016 – Open for Entries

 

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The 2016 Rab Mountain Marathon™ will be the 10th edition of an event that has gained an enviable reputation as the ‘friendly mountain marathon’, with its famously relaxed atmosphere, flexible start times and incredible run of good weather weekends!

Today the organisers have announced that the 2016 event will see the introduction of 4 new Linear Courses, following the traditional Elite, A, B and C course structure. Most interestingly, a ‘GPS’ Linear Course is being launched, that unlike the other courses, will allow the use of GPS navigational devices, and is intended to be a pathway for novice participants to enter their first mountain marathon.

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Continuing with the theme of innovation, the organisers are also introducing GPS Tracking for all the teams, on all the courses. The GPS Trackers will not assist with navigation but will enable the event to be followed live via the website.

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For entries before the end of March, the organisers have frozen the 2015 entry fee, which means that with the addition of the new courses and GPS Tracking, the Rab Mountain Marathon™ is easily the best value event of its kind.

Praise for the 2015 event, the second organised by Ourea Events, was once again superb. Tim Nichol who was participating in his first Rab Mountain Marathon™ said,

“Many thanks for organising such a great weekend in Snowdonia. It was my first Rab MM, but it definitely won’t be my last. The organisation overall couldn’t be faulted, the marshals were really friendly, the course well designed, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and the weather was the icing on the cake”.

Race Director Shane Ohly said,

“It is fantastic to get such consistently great feedback from our participants, but I am far from complacent, and have been considering careful how the event will evolve. As such, I am delighted to announce the introduction of Elite, A, B and C Linear Courses and an innovative new GPS Linear Course for the 2016 event. At the same time we are introducing GPS Tracking of all teams”.

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The introduction of the new GPS Linear Course is a first for mountain marathons and sure to raise a few eyebrows in the traditional map and compass camp, but Ohly explained his thinking,

“I am looking to the future, and attempting to attract new participants into Mountain Marathon events. I want the events’ courses to be both modern and relevant for all participants and audiences, and I consider the integration of technology as a part of everyday life.”

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“That said, my position on the use of GPS navigational devices on our other courses is clear. They are not allowed at all. Although these ‘traditional courses’ do not allow a GPS navigational device to be used, we can enable a great solution that embraces latest technology: Many competitors might want a GPX track of their weekend to upload to their training diaries and to share on social media, and this can be acquired from the GPS Tracker data post-event. It’s another great reason for introducing GPS Trackers to the event, which all soloists and teams will carry.” 

According to the organisers, the introduction of the GPS Trackers will have a significant but subtle effect on the event. First and foremost, it adds a layer of safety by allowing the event team to monitor the location of the participants, but it also allows the participants to summon help using an SOS button in the event of an emergency. The live feed from the Trackers will enable friends and family of the participants to engage with the event in new and exciting ways. During the event – for monitoring and public engagement – the GPS Trackers provide a public record of all routes taken, and can enable the organisers to detect if a participant has been into an Out of Bounds area or through an ‘uncrossable’ boundary – likely to result in disqualification. Lastly, with a GPX download and ‘Replay’ feature it is possible to review the weekend’s activity. This excellent functionality has been developed with the great assistance of Open Tracking.

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Shane Ohly continued,

“The GPS Trackers provide an obvious safety benefit, but they also allow the event to reach out to wider audience of the outdoor community and the friends and family of the participants. I think this is very important for keeping the event relevant, modern, and for attracting new participants into this exhilarating outdoor sport.” 

In more detail, the updates to the 2016 event include:

New Elite, A, B and C Linear Courses

  • Elite Course – Estimated winning time: 11 hours over two days
  • A Course – Estimated winning time: 10 hours over two days
  • B Course – Estimated winning time: 9 hours over two days
  • C Course – Estimated winning time: 9 hours over two days

The Elite, A, B and C Course are linear courses where participants must visit a certain number of checkpoints in the correct order – as defined by the organisers. The linear courses still have route choice between controls and are suited for those that wish to try something less complex than the Score Courses, when it comes to topographic decision making! Approximate length and height gains over two days would be:

  • Elite Course – 70km with 3,500m ascent
  • A Course – 60km with 2,800m ascent
  • B Course – 50km with 2,500m ascent
  • C Course – 40km with 2,000m ascent

New GPS Linear Course

This innovative new course is ideal for novice participants and offers a linear route that is a similar standard to a regular mountain marathon C Course. The aim of the GPS Linear Course is to offer a pathway for new participants to get into mountain marathons. This is the only course where GPS devices that aid navigation are allowed.

This GPS navigational device could be a traditional GPS pouch-and-handheld, a wristwatch GPS or a smartphone! Some participants will certainly choose to use a device that can be uploaded with topographic mapping, but please note that presently this would likely be Ordnance Survey or Open Mapping, and not a digital version of Harvey’s mapping. All participants receive a Harvey’s waterproof paper map – including the GPS Linear Course participants.

GPS Trackers

All teams (pairs and solo’s) will be issued with a GPS Tracker that must be attached to their rucksack for the duration of the event. The GPS Tracker allows the organisers, friends and family to follow the teams’ progress live and in real-time. A GPX download of every teams route and ‘Replay’ function of the race will be available shortly after the finish. Any team crossing an uncrossable boundary or passing through an Out of Bounds Area may be disqualified, even days after the event has finished, based on their GPS track.

Looking forward to September!

The organisers believe that these updates for 2016 will improve the event yet further, and broaden the appeal without compromising the core elements that make up the ‘Nature of the Challenge’. The combination of the new Linear Courses and GPS Tracking with the price freeze for early entries, makes the Rab Mountain Marathon™ easily the best value event of its kind and we very much hope that you will be able to join us this September.

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Key Event Information
Date: Weekend 24th 25th September 2016
Venue: Within 90 minutes drive of Manchester / Final venue disclosed 1 month prior to the event.
Courses: Elite, A, B, C, GPS, Long Score and Short Score
Entry Fee: From £54.00

Rab Mountain Marathon 2015 Images and Summary

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The Lake District, the Howgills and the Cheviots have all been previous locations for the Rab Mountain Marathon™. In 2015 it would be Snowdonia, Capel Curig provided the start and finish with the event using both the Carneddau and Glyderau.

What a weekend!

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Wales, Snowdonia National Park and the challenging Carneddau and Glyderau were bathed in incredible sunlight, blue skies and warm temperatures. It was definitely one of those weekends when one is thankful that our sport requires amazing locations and terrain. Wales has never looked so good!

Many runners arrived in Capel Curig on Friday night as temperatures dropped. Clear skies, an amazing bright moon and a chill provided a great appetizer to a stunning weekend as beer and food were provided in the marquee and ‘Trails in Motion’ was screened in a makeshift cinema.

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Tackling some very challenging mountain terrain, runners needed to be competent and confident when moving across the steep, rough and mountain terrain that Carneddau and Glyderau provided. Like all previous Rab Mountain Marathons™ the event was a score format. On Saturday a start window of 0830-1030 would ensure that runners avoided snakes as they moved from point to point. After all the race wants to test competitor’s navigation skills, yes? SPORTident electronic timing was used to ensure that accurate timings and logging of points were recorded and runners participated in one of the following categories: solo and teams of two. In addition to a variety of different runner’s class options there was also a walker’s class for those who want an easier, non-competitive weekend.

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In any serious mountain event, competitors should always be prepared for the worst possible conditions as the competition area can be isolated and the hills are often exposed to serious weather. For once, this weekend the weather could not have been better. Temperatures during the day were warm, visibility was amazing and the only possible downside came when the sun disappeared and temperatures dropped at night.

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Much of the discussion pre race was based around the decision to go north or south? The Carneddau and Glyderau are split by a main road and although closely connected they offer two very different running terrains. The south without doubt provided a smaller area with controls much closer together but the terrain is much rockier and demanding.

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Controls and points were split equally between north and south and any ‘visited’ control could not be re-visited the following day! Two main categories on long and short course made route planning and decision making a key element of the challenge and as one would expect, many got the decision process wrong by arriving after time and loosing points.

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Ultimately though Wales was the hero of the day. The terrain, mountains and scenery was resplendent in the September light and as runners traversed and made their way around the course, one common thread was heard:

‘It’s just an amazing weekend to be in the mountains, irrespective of how many controls we visit.’

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In the Long Score race, Adam Stirk and Andrew Higgins once again set the bar in the team race scoring 300 points (a maximum!) on day 1 and 215 points on day 2 to win with 515-points. Ian Bellamy won the solo Long Score race with 515-points too, he scored 280 on day 1 and 235 on day 2. First solo lady was Kirsty Hewitson, an ever-present at this type of event and her 215 and 200 (total 415) was 55 points clear of the next lady, Kate Worthington. Full Long Score results are HERE.

The Short Score race was won by male duo Alistair Macdonald and Richard Wren with 395 points (230/165) and Louise Beetlestone was 2nd overall, 1st lady and 1st solo competitor with 392 points, scored 220 and 172 respectively. Tom Woolley was the first male solo with 388 points. Full Short Score results HERE.

Shane Ohly, Ourea Events and all the volunteers once again provided a great event that was slick from beginning to end.

“Thanks for a great event, it was definitely a learning curve. Lovely smiley marshalls were brilliant. Met some great competitors on the course too.” – Adrianne Bolton

“It was my first and my sons first Mountain marathon it was one of my best experience. Massive learning curve as we got lost for three hours on the first day . Great organisers great staff will be coming back definitely.” – Phillip Bampton

“Epic” – Brookfield GM

Race website HERE

2015 results HERE

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Snowdonia Marathon Eryri 2014

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It is barely three months since the 2013 Snowdonia Marathon Eryri took place, and was hailed as one of the best races ever. However, such is the popularity of marathon running these days that entries for the 2014 event went live on at midnight on the 1st of January with the organisers expecting to fill the race in record time, exceeding the 40 day record from 2013.

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2013 winner Rob Samuel ©Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Race co-ordinator Jayne Lloyd has been at the head of organsing the race since 2004 and says that judging by the feedback from the 2013 event that the race could well be full inside those 40 days:

“2013 was incredible, as we now use online entry systems we could see the flow of entries coming in over January and February, it was pretty exciting to watch! Once again in 2014 runners were literally sat in front of their computers at midnight on New Years Eve waiting to enter and by midday on the 1st of January we have received nearly 700 entries. 

We are seen as one of the premier marathons in the UK now, and demand for places is getting higher every year”.

Regarding the feedback which the race receives, Jayne continues:

We are very proud of the praise that we get for the race, some of the comments received in 2013 were very humbling. People obviously see the race as their ‘event of the year’, creating holidays in the area around participating in the race, and come back year after year – that can only be a good thing for communities, sport in Wales and local business.”

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©Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Entries for the 2014 race opened on Wednesday Jan 1st at 00.01am and can be accessed by going to www.snowdoniamarathon.co.uk and clicking on ENTER THE RACE.