At 7:00am, 223 competitors from 24 countries set out on the 2017 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race from Conwy Castle. Over the next five days, some of the planet’s leading ultra-runners will attempt to complete a course of 315 kilometres, including 15,500 metres of ascent (almost twice the height of Everest).
Competitors gather at Conwy Castle for the start of the 2017 Berghaus Dragon's Back Race - photo credit www.guillemcasanova
Staged only three times before, in 1992, 2012 and 2015, the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race has acquired near mythical status in the adventure racing and ultra-running community. The race heads south along the spine of Wales, starting in Conwy and finishing in Llandeilo in South West Wales on Friday 26 May. Over five days, competitors will have to navigate across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain, finding checkpoints before cut-off times, and carrying essential kit at all times. Each night, they will stay at an official event campsite, before setting off on the next leg early the following morning. It is the toughest five-day mountain race in the world and fewer than half of those who start are expected to complete the course.
The 2017 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race field is the biggest ever and includes some elite competitors. Notable participants include the 2015 winner, British runner Jim Mann, and Carol Morgan from Ireland, one of the favourites in the women’s race. In 2015, female competitors finished in second, fourth and sixth overall – ultra-running is a sport in which women race alongside the best male competitors on an almost equal footing.
Other notable participants in the 2017 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race include Joe Faulkner, who is aiming to be the only person to complete every race since it was first held in 1992. Also setting out from Conwy this morning was radio and TV presenter Vassos Alexander, taking time out from the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 to run through the Welsh mountains.
Maelgwn Male Voice Choir serenaded competitors ahead of the start.
The public can follow the progress of the race thanks to live tracking via www.berghausdragonsbackrace.com, and the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race team will be posting regular updates on social media throughout the event:
Facebook - DragonsBackRace