Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ 2017 – Day 5

The 2017 Berghaus Dragons Back Race concluded today in Llandeilo – five days of epic mountain racing over. By epic, we mean E P I C!

For those looking for one of the toughest races in the world, Wales and the Dragons Back Race is a perfect starting place. 223 runners toed the line in Conwy, just over 100 finished – yes, 50% of the field didn’t make the journey from the north to the south.

For the first two days the race was very much about 2015 champion Jim Mann dominating the race, for the ladies, Sabrina Varjee also built a very clear lead over her main rivals – Carol Morgan and Caroline McIlroy.

However, on day 3 it was all change for Mann. The 90-minute margin he had built over days 1 and 2 was wiped a way with two navigational errors and a charging Marcus Scotney. On day 4, the heat came and Mann used his 0730 start to press the pace and apply pressure. Scotney had a lead of almost 30-minutes, surely it was too much for Mann to pull back? Well yes, but he came close. The final days race was going to be brutal.

But the ladies race spiced up on day 4 with Verjee suffering in the heat and Carol Morgan having a great day – like the men’s race, it was all to fight for on the last day!

Morning in day 5 camp was one of mixed emotions, the end was in sight but a tough day was ahead and to add to the pressure, forecasts were predicting a scorching 30deg high.

The majority of the field started early at 0600 but all eyes were on the 0800 ‘chase’ starts. Scotney and Verjee would start on the stroke of 0800 and then 2nd placed runners, Mann and Morgan would depart as per their time deficits to the leader. The same applied for 3rd placed lady, McIlroy. Quite simply, the first man or woman across the line would be the 2017 Berghaus Dragons Back winner.

Scotney had complained the previous night of a sore knee and had contemplated not starting day 5, however, on reflection, he decided it was better to fight and run with a chance of victory in comparison to leaving questions unanswered. He was flying, the terrain suited him and allowed him to stretch his legs. By CP2, Scotney was pulling away from Mann and Verjee and Morgan were equally matched with McIlroy losing time.

More good running to CP3 and then the climb to CP4 and the run along the high ground with the impressive Llyn Y Fan Fact to the right saw Scotney extend his lead. When Mann arrived at CP5 he was over 30-minutes back and barring Scotney having any problems, the race was his for the taking. Mann no doubt paying a price for a tough first 3-days and a hard chasing 4th day.

Scotney crossed the line in 6:12:09 1st and Mann came in much later (7:43:40) having eased off the gas knowing that his place for 2nd was secure. Neil Talbott who had started later than the 1st and 2nd placed runners had a long day chasing all in front of him, his 3rd place secure in 7:31:04 placing 2nd on the stage.

In the ladies’ race, Verjee although in the lead to CP5 was struggling with the heat, the fatigue of 4-days of tough racing and being chased by Morgan and McIlroy. She looked agitated, stressed and not her normal self. By contrast, Morgan at CP5 was relaxed and when asked how she felt, “I feel great – fantastic!”

The possible threat of a blazing run from McIlroy didn’t happen and the race was now between Verjee and Morgan.

Morgan hunted Verjee down and by CP6 had caught and passed her. It was all about putting her head down and pushing on. Victory was hers in 7:57:16 and with it, the title of Ladies 2017 Berghaus Dragons Back champion.

Verjee and McIlroy made it to the line, 2nd and 3rd places in 8:52:04 and 9:30:54 respectively. Like Mann, Verjee’s final thoughts maybe ones of disappointment with questions of what might have been…

It’s been a tough race for all concerned but when you race over 5-days with the highs and lows that this type of race can throw at you, it’s about how the runner manages all aspects of the race and not just one day. The 2017 edition will go down in history as one of the most compelling, particularly in the final 2-days.

Attention will now turn to 2019 and the next edition of the race but as Ourea Events rightly say, don’t forget it’s the Cape Wrath Ultra in 2018 for those who need their fix!

  1. Marcus Scotney 37:58:37
  2. Jim Mann 39:38:14
  3. Neil Talbott 41:54:33

 

  1. Carol Morgan 48:41:17
  2. Sabrina Verjee 49:29:42
  3. Caroline McIlroy 50:23:47

Results HERE

Read day 1 report here

Read day 2 report here

Read day 3 report here

Read day 4 report here

All images will be at iancorless.photoshelter.com post race

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ 2017 – Day 1

Jim Mann, the 2015 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ Champion, today set out his stall with a strong and dominant performance that left all the other runners following in his wake as he dominated the tough, challenging and yes, intimidating day 1 of this race.

For the ladies, Sabrina Verjee also produced a strong performance despite pre-race concerns that a recurring calf injury may surface and scupper her plans.

The day started at 0700 at the impressive Conwy Castle to music and a male voice choir. The early climb to Conwy mountain saw everyone close together but a pattern was starting to form with Jim Mann, Marcus Scotney, Jez Bragg, Neil Talbot and Nickademus Hollon. Sabrina Verjee and Carol Morgan similarly set the pace for the ladies.

Carnedd Gwenllian, Carnedd Llewelyn and Carnedd Dafydd followed and the field started to spread out as Mann upped the pace – ahead of his 2015 times!

The climb of Tryfan was a significant marker in the race and Mann and Varjee arrived first in the male and female categories. Scotney followed Mann but was not looking his comfortable self.

Climbing up and over Tryfan and then Glyder Fach the descent to Pen-Y-Pass was the next key marker. After crossing the road the long, steady and at times technical climb took runners to the exposed ridge of Crib Goch. Here man took a slight lower line in the final sections and mixed a control at the start of the ridge… there was some confusion as a map instruction did cause for a question mark. Most certainly it was a mistake by Mann but not intentional. It was decided post race by the judges he would receive a 15-minute time penalty.

On the ridge Mann extended his lead ahead of Neil Talbot who had now moved into 2nd and Marcus Scotney. The summit of Snowdon followed and then the run in to the finish at Nantgwynant. Mann was 1st in 7:27 (this includes the 15-min penalty), Talbot was 2nd 7:54 and Scotney 3rd in 8:14.

For the ladies, Verjee continued to the lead the ladies and although she moved a little slower over the exposed ridge of Crib Goch, she extended her lead on the final run in crossing the line in 9:27. Morgan took a lower line on Grib Goch to avoid the strong winds and in the process held off Caroline McIlroy – their times 9:46 and 10:07 respectively.

All results HERE

Image galleries will be available on iancorless.photoshelter.com post race

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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