The 2021 Montane Dragon's Back finishes at Cardiff Castle

simon Roberts Dragons back race winner

The 2021 Montane Dragon’s Back Race lived up to its billing as the ‘world’s toughest mountain race’, with only 25% of starters expected to finish the full course in the time allowed. Simon Roberts became the first Welsh winner of the race, which followed the mountainous spine of Wales from north to south, starting at Conwy Castle and finishing for the first time at Cardiff Castle.

Simon Roberts and Katie Mills have recorded convincing victories in the 2021 Montane Dragon’s Back Race. Both took commanding leads into the last day and safely negotiated the final 63km and 1,300m of climbing to cross the line at Cardiff Castle. In a race that covered 380km and 17,400m of climbing in just six days, Simon was the overall winner in 45 hours, 42 minutes and 11 seconds and became the first Welsh winner of the event. Like Simon in the men’s race, English athlete Katie led the women’s field from start to finish and also finished seventh overall in 61:12:54. Russell Bentley was second overall in 47:08:55, with Matt O’Keefe third in 52:08:13. In the women’s race, Elaine Bisson claimed second in 66:53:28, with Cat Slater third in 69:49:14.

Simon Roberts crossed the line alongside second placed Russell Bentley. The two men led the field all week. Simon commented: “I am elated.I said at the start that I would win. I had trained enough and I was confident I would win. I have done what I set out to do. But I still can't find the words to explain how I feel.”

Speaking about Russell, he added: "I have so much respect for Russell as an athlete. He is a tough runner, a proper runner. He has tested me, especially on the road sections. He is awesome and a top bloke."

Katie Mills commented: "It feels really, really good to get here and to not run anymore. I just tried to hold it together all week. I am so proud to have finished it. That means more than anything. I have had injuries for the last few years so to get to the finish line in one piece is amazing. There are not too many girls who have got to Cardiff and I am so happy to have performed how I wanted to. All the guys and girls did amazing in this race."

Russell Bentley added: "I feel ecstatic. The crowd is brilliant and the castle is gorgeous. I am over the moon.When it gets tough it is your kids you think about.You get dark times in an event like this. It tests you like you have never been tested before. It is thoughts of the kids that get you through.

"Racing against Simon has been great. He was a very aggressive competitor. I was trying my best every day to shake him. I didn’t have an easy day. I have got to hand it to him – the better guy won. I really gave it everything and there was nothing more I could do. He had more than me. He is rising star and a nice guy."

This year’s race was one day and 65km longer than previous editions and hot weather early in the week had a big impact on the field. Of the 367 starters, only 25% are expected to finish by the cut-off point of 10:00pm tonight. If they fail to meet the deadline by even one second, they will have fallen agonisingly short of completing the epic race.

The final results and other news and reaction from the race will be published at,and the Montane Dragon’s Back Race team have been posting regular updates on social media throughout the event:

·         Twitter – follow @DragonsBackRace

·         Instagram – follow @DragonsBackRace

·         Facebook - DragonsBackRace.

Photo credit -No Limits Photography