Episode 130 of Talk Ultra brings you some audio from The Coastal Challenge with Sondre Amdahl, Jason Schlarb, Anna Comet and an in-depth chat with Cherie Soria and Dan Ladermann. We also talk with UK based fell and mountain runner, Jim Mann.
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Rand Hayley, Simon Darmody, Mike Hewison, Tom Flummerfelt, Rupert Hitzenberger, Derek Doran, Dan Masters, Steve Milne. Daniel Weston, Andi Dunn, Sam Wilkes, Ron van Liempd, William Sichel, Jonni Suckling, Ally Spiers, Lindsay Harmoudi, Rene Hess, Mathew Melksham, Jamie Oliver, Kent Keeler, Aaron Aaker, David H, Brian Wolfkamp, Neil Catley, Craig South, Melissa Bodeau, Mark Moromisato, Sarah Cameron, Kerstin Palmer, Nicola Scott, Rohan, Aurora, Thomas Mueller, Fredrik Rantarkyrl, LostTrailRunner, Neil Staveley, Philippe Lascar, Marc Mills, John De Martin, Brian Walters and Martin Gray.
Courtney Dewaulter ran 250km (155.3 miles) to set a new American record beating Sabrina Littles best by more than 3-miles. Dewaulter will join Katlin Nagy, Traci Falbo, Jenny Hoffman and Pam Smith in Ireland for the IAU 24-Hour Championships. – That is a seriously strong ladies team!
What a stunning race that turned out to be a Pau Calpell and Azara Garcia show. The two respectively lead from the front to take great victories. Pau (13:21) smashing the old course record set by Didrik Hermansen who placed 3rd in this years edition. Second place went to Lithuanian, Vlaidas Zlabys (13:35) who is going to be one-to-watch this year! Although Azara won the ladies’ race (16:25), she was 1-hour slower that Caroline Chaverots 2016 time. Chaverot dropped at 30km not feeling good! Andrea Huser placed 2nd (17:150 and Melanie Rousset 3rd (17:30).
The Coastal Challenge
Anna Frost won in 27:08. Anna Comet (Spain) and Ester Alves (Portugal) were second and third in 27:58 and 28:23, respectively. Tom Owens dominated the men’s in 22:29. Chema Martinez (Spain) 23:43 and Jason Schlarb 24:34 were second and third. We caught up with Sondre Amdahl, Anna Comet and Jason Schlarb for a post TCC chat.
00:25:10 INTERVIEW with Sondre Amdahl, Anna Comet and Jason Schlarb
At TCC Cherie Soria and Dan Ladermann were a constant inspiration to all competitors. Niandi caught up with them and ‘Coastal’ the dog, back in our hotel in San Jose.
01:30:14 INTERVIEW with CHERIE SORIA and DAN LADERMANN
Iditarod Trail Invitational
David Johnston once again won the 350-mile journey from Knik Lake to McGrath. Conditions this year were very tough with many drops. This is Johnston’s 5th victory – he finished in 5-days, 21-hours, 43-minutes. Second was Kyle Durand… 2-days later! I am not sure if any woman finishes, results don’t show this HERE
Red Mountain 55k
Once again saw ‘one-to-watch’ Hayden Hawks take another victory in 4:15. Rachel Cieslewicz won the ladies’ race in 5:38. Results HERE for the men and HERE for the ladies.
Way to Cool 50k
Cody Reed won in 3:16 and Megan Roche in 3:52 results HERE
Not many race results yet, still early in the calendar but if you are missing watching some of the top runners in the world, take a look at ski mountaineering. The cross over between mountain running and skimo is growing and growing – Kilian and Emelie have long been exponents but runners like Rob Krar, Nick Elson, Mike Foote, Jason Schlarb and so on are turning to skis over the winter months. Currently the iconic Pierra Menta is happening – it’s the Hardrock (on a much bigger scale) of skimo. Read here.
RUNNING BEYOND BOOK
I will be also going to Sofia in Bulgaria on the 17th, 18th and 19th March for a trail, mountain and Skyrunning expo.
Jim Mann is a low-key highly accompolished fell and mountain runner in the UK. However, he like to keep a low-profile. Recently, Jim completed all 3 UK rounds in 1 month… in winter! On the 22nd January Jim set a new winter record for the Charlie Ramsay Round completing it in 22:23. Three weeks later (11th February) Jim completed the Paddy Buckley Round in 21:37. And then theBob Graham Round in 20:26. I had to chat with him!
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Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce the confirmed calendar for 2017.
Following on from a very successful 2016, changes have taken place over the winter months and Skyrunning UK is now pleased to confirm races that will take place in the UK calendar for 2017.
The season will start with the V3K taking place on June 24th. Now in its 4th year on the Skyrunning UK calendar, the race personifies what makes a great Skyrunning course – technical terrain, elevation, a challenge and amazing landscape. It’s a rugged race that requires an awareness of the mountains and the challenging Crib Goch provides exposure and lofty heights to place each and every runner in the sky! 55km and 4000m of vertical ascent provides a stunning start to the 2017 season.
Closing date for entries is June 1st. Website here
The Lakes Sky Ultra team once again bring us the Lakes Sky Ultra and a new race, Scafell Sky Race for 2017. This duo of races take place on the 15th and 16th July and provide two incredible opportunities. The Lakes Sky Ultra is a tough, challenging and adventurous race that requires experience and vetting. Elevated ridge lines, exposure, tough, challenging and technical terrain all pale into insignificance with grade 3 scrambles. Extreme, gnarly and hardcore, it’s everything a Skyrunning race should be! 55km in length and 4500m of vertical gain.
The Scafell Sky Race offers a 40km race and 2700m of vertical gain. It’s a challenging race that like its bigger brother offers an incredible Skyrunning experience. However, the challenge is less extreme and vetting is not required. Therefore, this race is open to all.
In 2017 Skyline Scotland provided us with three events, the Mamores VK, the Ring of Steall Sky Race and the Extreme Glen Coe Skyline – the latter event was a Skyrunner World Series event. In 2018, race organisers Ourea Events add an Ultra, the Ben Nevis Ultra. For the UK series, to have a Skyrunner World Series event in the UK was incredible – in 2017 we don’t go one step farther, but three steps. The Ring of Steall, Ben Nevis Ultra and Glen Coe Skyline will all be in the SWS calendar. The Mamores VK will be added to the new VK Series. Taking place over an action packed weekend of the 15th, 16th and 17th September, Skyline Scotland will not only provide one of the key weekends on the UK calendar but also the world calendar.
Salomon Mamores VK™
Friday 15th September 2017– 5km / 1,000m – enter now
An incredible leg burning and lung-busting ascent from sea level to Munro summit.
Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ – *new for 2017*
Saturday 16th September 2017 – ~110km / ~4,000m – enter now
Weaving through remote glens, crossing high mountain passes and embracing the superb wilderness on offer in the Scottish Highlands. Truly, this course is for the boldest all-round ultra-runners.
Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™
Saturday 16th September 2017 – 29km / 2,500m – enter now
A variation of the classic ‘Ring of Steall’ ridge-walking route, the Skyrace® has spectacular views of Ben Nevis from the Mamores and includes short sections of easy scrambling.
Does this race need any introduction? Pure Skyrunning that includes the most challenging Scottish mountain terrain. Scrambling/climbing experience required.
To conclude the 2017 season will be the Mourne Skyline MTR in Ireland which takes place on October 21st. This race over the last 3-years has grown to become a favourite of all the runners who have participated in the UK series. At 35km’s it is one of the shorter races in the UK circuit, however, the Mourne Mountains pack a whopping 3370m of vertical gain. Salomon International athlete and Skyrunning World champion, Stevie Kremer, said it is one of the hardest events she has ever participated in. Don’t let that put you off though. The landscape, terrain, views and Irish hospitality make this a stunning way to close the 2017 series. Entries are available HERE (note, entries open March 17th)
In 2016, the Skyrunning UK Series was won by Bjorn Verduijn and Sarah Ridgway, they both will gain free entry into all 2017 events as part of their prize.
For 2017, the Series will take place once again but with some changes.
Points will be awarded for the top 20 men and top 10 ladies in the following races:
Lakes Sky Ultra or Scafell Sky Race
Ring of Steall or Ben Nevis Ultra or Glen Coe Skyline
Mourne Skyline MTR
The Mamores VK will not be included in the points for the UK Series.
To participate in the series, you will need to run at least three races. If you run more, your best three results count.
Points will be awarded as follows (please note, new scoring points
In addition, points will also go to the Skyrunning World Ranking. The Skyrunning World Ranking is a rolling 52-week ranking based on all the points awarded to the athletes from his/her participation in:
(i) All the Skyrunner® World Series races.
(ii) The SNS races, wherever run (best four results).
(iii) The Skyrunning World Championships.
(iiii) The Skyrunning Continental Championships.
(maximum one counting).
Points in the world ranking will be awarded to the top 30 men and top 20 women.
Skyrunning UK, the V3K, Lakes Sky Ultra team, Skyline Scotland team and Mourne Skyline MTR look forward to welcoming you all for LESS CLOUD, MORE SKY in 2017!
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’
The 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jasmin Paris – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race
Jim Mann – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race
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Episode 120 – Alex Nichols tells us all about his first 100-miler and how how he won it! Emelie Forsberg tells us about her return to Kima and finding solace and new skills in India. Jasmin Paris is on fire and we sum up an incredible 2016 and ‘another’ round record and finally Speedgoat Karl answers your questions about the Appalachian Trail FKT.
KARL ON THE AT
Some questions from listeners:
Daniel “DJ” Denton Funny: will he burn the van because it has his permanent stench after not showering for over 40 days, and, Serious: did the experience result in a deeper bond/relationship with is father and wife?
Seth Holling What was his thoughts on the smokies? Was the smokies tougher or easier than expected? Would he recommend tacklinnog the smokies first (NB) or last (SB)? Also, did he find a sixer that was left for him at Davenport gap where the AT crosses I-40 🍺
Chris Morgan Ask Karl if he had to push through any injuries?
And if he did how did he do it and did they go away? Or did they become something that needed constant management.
Florian Schuetz What made the difference compared to his previous attempts? Why did he manage to break the time this year? Better fitness, no injuries, mental game, etc.
Brett Slater I’d be interested in his foot care regimen and how he avoids calf issues.
David Nowaczewski Ask him what the heck happened on the day he was found face down on the trail?
Ray Jackson Jr. Ask him how it feels to finally be home and in a place where he can rest without deadlines.
RUNNING BEYOND BOOK is now available in Spain, Germany and Italy and the UK edition will be delivered to UK audiences, USA audiences and Southern Hemisphere audiences from November 3rd: more info – HERE
In the SkyRace (39km) Joe Gray did the double ahead of Tayte Pollman and Patrick Parsel – 4:00, 4:00.3 and 4:11 respectively.
Alicia Shay (now Vargo) won the ladies 4:51 ahead of Kristi Knecht and Sandi Nypaver 4:53 and 4:54
GRAND TO GRAND
Florian Vieux and Emilie Leconte won the self-supported race with Sebastien Nain and Elisabet Barnes taking 2nd.
Became a ‘really’ short race due to bad weather and Dylan Bowman and Fernanda Maciel ran great races to win the 27-mile race
Miguel Heras was back to winning ways with a dominant performance and just missed Kilian’s record. he finished in 12:05.Jessed Hernandez and Cristofer Clemente was 3rd. Cristofer became Skyrunner World Series champion for the Ultra distance.
Gemma Arenas tool the race win and Skyrunner World Series. Hillary Allen and Anna Comet placed 2nd and 3rd in the race.
Jasmin Paris sets another FKT on a UK round in wales
00:29:00 INTERVIEW with Jasmin Paris
Kaci Lickteig and Mick Jurynec/ Ryan Weibel (joint) won in 20:27 and 19:33
Rob Krar was back with a victory at Berkeley Trail Adventure 50 mile
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.
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.
Skyrunning 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 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 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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
“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.
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.