However, the long distance and sustained climbing continued to exact a toll on the field, with one major casualty during the 71km day
Sabrina Verjee (UK) started the day 22 minutes ahead of Lisa Watson (UK), with Alyssa Clark (USA) a further 35 minutes back. Lisa put in a great run, completing the course in 8:06:30. Sabrina also ran well – and faster than in 2017 – but her time of 8:29:31 means that Lisa now has a lead of just over a minute. Meanwhile, Alyssa struggled badly, collapsing on the hill before being helped to the support point by fellow runners, where she retired from the race.
In the men’s race, leader Galen Reynolds (USA) and second place Jim Mann (UK) ran together for the second day in a row, in 7:21:19 and 7:21:23 respectively, meaning that Galen maintained his lead of 42 minutes. Together, they pulled away from third place athlete Rob Barnes (UK), who recorded a time of 8:12:42 for the day.
Overall, another eight runners were timed out or retired for other reasons. All of those who are still competitive know that one more day of hard work is all that separates them from completing the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race and earning a coveted Dragon. Tomorrow’s 63km route takes runners into the Brecon Beacons and 2,200m of climbing includes a sting in the Dragon’s tail, in the form of the summit of Fan Brycheiniog and Carreg Yr Ogof on the Black Mountain.
At the front of the field, there will be a chasing start on the final day. Lisa Watson and Galen Reynolds will both set off at 8:00am, followed by Sabrina Verjee at 8:01:13am and Jim Mann at 8:42:03am. As a result, the first athlete to cross the finishing line in each race will be the winner, making for a compelling and exciting day for anyone following the event along the course or online.
Lisa Watson comments: “Today was amazing. I really enjoyed it. My quads were starting to hurt towards the end, but I think I probably just smashed it down too many hills.”
Sabrina Verjee comments: “I ran well and as hard as I can go. Nothing really hurt so that was good. Lisa is strong and if she has run faster than me then she is stronger than me. She is doing really well.”
Alyssa Clark comments: “I wasn’t feeling good overnight. I was shaking uncontrollably, but I thought I might be okay once I got started with the race this morning. But I still didn't feel that good. I was so tired. Then my vision started to blur and I was blacking out. I collapsed twice I think. Luckily some of the participants could help me and they called for a medic. I was just shaking so much and fainting. I am gutted to be out. I so desperately wanted to finish but I can’t. If you are blacking out, then that is the time to stop. I wish the other ladies well. Lisa and Sabrina are ferociously competitive, but they are lovely and I am sad to be out of the race but I wish them well. I will be back for sure.”
The public can follow the final day of the race with live tracking at www.berghausdragonsbackrace.com, and the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race team is posting regular updates on social media:
· Facebook - DragonsBackRace.