2021 Montane Dragon’s Back Race

Rocky descent wales

This classic event kicked off from Conwy Castle in North Wales with a 49km stage over 3800m of climbing uphill. Of the 367 starters 119 failed to finish,  highlighting the enormous task that faces those still standing over the next week.

The 2021 Montane Dragon’s Back Race saw Wales-based runners dominating and the early retirement of two pre-race favourites. 367 ultra runners from 24 nations set off from Conwy Castle at 7:00am, cheered on by family, friends and other local spectators. They faced a very challenging first day, with the temperature steadily rising every hour until late in the afternoon. Almost a third of the runners failed to complete the day.

Simon Roberts and Russell Bentley (handicap -3.8) pretty much ran the whole day together, safely negotiating the challenges of Tryfan, Crib Goch and the Snowdon horseshoe.Welshman Simon crossed the line first in 7:25:14 and has a slender lead of just 13 seconds over Russell (7:25:27), who is also based in the country. Third man across the line – and another Welsh runner –was Matt O’Keefe (8:41:58). Meanwhile, two of the leading contenders fell by the wayside, as previous winner Marcus Scotney and Kim Collinson both pulled out with injuries. In the women’s race, Katie Mills is setting the early pace, ahead of Elaine Bisson  and Zoe Murphy.

Simon, who was 23rdin the 2019 Dragon’s Back Race, said: “I went out to be first today. That is what I wanted but it is only one day in. It was good running with Russell and he’s going to be tough to get past. I have set out to win and so we will have to see what happens.”

The first female to finish on day one of the Montane Dragon’s Back Race was British runner Katie Mills in 9:58:06 (14th overall). Elaine Bisson, of England, was second in 10:49:12, withBrit  Zoe Murphy third in 11:05:41.

Katie said: “It was very hot but lovely today. I got the worst cramp on all the uphills, so I just tried to go slow and then try to make it up on the downhills. I am really surprised to be the first lady. I started pretty much at the back because I wasn’t sure where to line up. I wanted to enjoy the city walls at the beginning, which I did.”

Further back in the field, the heat and terrain took a big toll on the field, with 118 runners dropping out through injury, fatigue or by failing to make the cut-off times.This was a much higher number than the 44 who didn’t complete day one at the last race in 2019.

The public can follow the progress of the race thanks to live tracking via www.dragonsbackrace.com,and the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race team will be posting regular updates on social media throughout the event:

·         Twitter – follow @DragonsBackRaceand @TheRealBerghaus

·         Instagram – follow @DragonsBackRaceand @BerghausOfficial

·         Facebook - DragonsBackRace.

Key areas covered in stage  – the Carneddau, Glyderau and Snowdon massif

Start                                       Conwy Castle

Finish                                    Gwastadanas, Nant Gwynant

Distance covered                 49km

Height climbed                     3,800m

Number of finishers/starters   248/367

Photo Credit - No Limits Photography