2018 Boot Camp


We want everyone starting the 2019 edition of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race® to maximise their chance of completing the race. However, the statistics speak for themselves with an average finish rate of 46% across the last three editions of the race. 


Sympathetic event team at support point

Sometimes it can all feel a little bit too much ©Guillem Casanova


We know that a surprising number of participants come to the event underprepared, and the sole focus of this Boot Camp Weekend is to lay bare what is ahead, and how best you can prepare and train for the event over the crucial winter months. Through inspiring presentations, and candid interviews we will cover the history of the race, a breakdown of the course day-by-day, training, nutrition and hydration, mental preparation and equipment and clothing. Every presentation is given by real experts… these are the runners who have already ‘slayed the dragon’, and the Event Team who know the event better than anyone. 



Success! 315km, 15,500m, 5 days - all done! ©Guillem Casanova


The weekend will be split, with the first day entirely focused on presentations, and the second day spent running in the fells with an event expert, with plenty of time for informal chat and Q&A. There will be an option to join a running or a navigation group. Each running group will be moving at a certain pace so that you get a solid idea of the pacing required to complete the event in your desired time. The navigation group will focus on navigation skills through a combination of running, walking and instruction.



Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th November 2018



Ambleside, The Lake District. 


Saturday 3rd November 

The course is based at the Ambleside Parish Centre and all the presentations will be held in the Main Hall. You will need to use one of the many car parks in Ambleside and allow about 15 minutes to get parked and to arrive promptly. Please do not attempt to park at the Ambleside Parish Centre itself. 


Ambleside Parish Centre

Vicarage Road


LA22 9DH


Sunday 4th November 

We will all meet at Esquires Coffee for pre-run caffeine hit before heading out. Esquires Coffee is just a few hundred metres from the Ambleside Parish Centre. So that we don’t overwhelm the café, each running group will meet between 08:30 and 09:30 as agreed with you running guide on Saturday evening.


Esquires Ambleside

14 Market Cross,

Ambleside, Cumbria

LA22 9BT



Saturday Programme

0830: Doors Open, Coffee/Teas and pastries available

0900: Doors Close, Welcome by Shane Ohly


Part 1 – Event History

0900: The 1992 Race by Helene Whitaker

0930: The 2012 Race by Steve Birkinshaw

1000: The 2015 Race by Cath Holloway

1030: Short comfort break

1040: The 2017 Race by Marcus Scotney

1110: 20 minute break. Coffee/Teas and pastries available




Part 2 – The Course 

1130: Course Break down, day by day with Kate Worthington and Sabrina Verjee 

1230: ‘A Tale from the Back’ by Tom Withers

1315: Morning Summary and Open Floor Q&A

1330: Break for lunch; 1-hour.


Part 3 – Surviving the Race

1430: Nutrition and Hydration by Heather Ohly

1515: Personal Admin and the Overnight Camp by Martin Stone & Shane Ohly

1600: 20 minute break. Coffee/Teas and pastries available

1620: Health, Wellbeing and Blisters by Abbi Forsyth

1700: Winter Training & Injury Prevention by Paul Tierney

1745: 15 minute break. Coffee/Teas and pastries available

1800: Cut-Offs & Rules by Shane Ohly

1830: Open Floor for Q&A

1900: Conquering the Dragon Film

1945: Split into your running groups for Sunday and meet your running guide

2000: End


Who are the Presenting Team?

  • Shane Ohly – Race Director 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019
  • Helene Whitaker – 1992 Overall Winner, and 2012 Female Winner
  • Steve Birkinshaw – 2012 Overall Winner
  • Cath Holloway – 2015 Finisher
  • Marcus Scotney - 2017 Overall Winner & Event Team 2012
  • Kate Worthington – Event Team 2017 & Course Planner 2019
  • Sabrina Verjee – 2nd Female 2017 & 5th Female 2015
  • Tom Withers - Last finisher in 2017 & regular Event Team with Ourea Events
  • Dr Heather Ohly – PhD in Nutrition, and event caterer at the 2015 and 2017 races
  • Martin Stone - 1992 Overall Winner 
  • Dr Abbi Forsyth – Event Doctor 2015, 2017
  • Paul Tierney - Missing Link Coaching


Sunday Programme

We want to maximise our time on the hill on Sunday so after an early morning coffee we will be heading out. There will be a number of different groups and each group will be running at a certain pace so that you can get a sense of the speed you need to be moving to finish the race in a desired time. 


Finish time? We expect all groups to be finished by mid-afternoon.


With the exception of the navigation group, all the groups will be following a route of between 20-30km, they will just be moving at different speeds. Depending on the popularity of each group we will move around our coaching staff to have a coach to client ratio of approximately 1:10 for the guided running groups, and 1:5 for the navigational training groups. If you would prefer a female running guide we will do our best to accommodate this.


When you sign up, please indicate how long you think you will take to complete the race, and we will assign you to a group with similar aspirations. There will also be the option to join a group focused on navigation training. This group will not be racing around, and much of the day will be spend walking, whilst practicing and learning navigational skills. The group choices will be:


  • Less than 50 Hours
  • Less than 55 hours
  • Less than 60 hours
  • Less than 65 hours
  • Less than 70 hours
  • Navigation Group


The Running Guides will be:

  • Steve Birkinshaw
  • Abbi Forsyth
  • Heather Ohly
  • Shane Ohly
  • Marcus Scotney
  • Paul Tierney
  • Tom Withers
  • Kate Worthington


If you are unsure, please study the 2017 results

You will be able to change your group on Saturday


What you need to bring for Sunday

  • Food > Sufficient food to sustain a long run in the mountains.
  • Money > A pre and post café stop is almost certain
  • Mountain Running Clothing & Equipment > In addition to the suitable clothing and footwear you’ll be wearing for a long mountain in November (winter conditions are likely), you will need to be carrying the following:
    • Compass
    • Whistle
    • Permanent marker pen
    • Head torch
    • Survival Bag
    • Waterproof Jacket or Smock (with taped seams and a hood)
    • Waterproof Trousers (with taped seams)
    • Watch
    • Hat & Gloves (suitable for the weather conditions)
    • Spare warm layer
    • Suitable rucksack or vest pack to carry the above
    • Whilst unlikely, micro-spikes and an ice axe maybe necessary – we will advise if there is snow on the ground before the weekend.


What is Included?

  • Presentations on the Saturday 
  • Tea/Coffee and pastries during the presentation 
  • Professionally qualified mountain leader for the Sunday run


What is Not Included?

  • Car parking on either day
  • Lunch on either day (there many excellent cafes in Ambleside)
  • Transport to alternative locations if your group decides not to run from Ambleside on Sunday
  • Accommodation (there is an excellent YHA and many hotels and B&B’s in Ambleside)


2017 winner Marcus Scotty skipping along from Diffwys, Day 2

Marcus Scotney skipping along from Diffwys, the final checkpoint on day 2 ©Guillem Casanova



£99 per person


Please ensure you read the terms and conditions before you sign up for a place.



U18? Sorry but we are not able to accept U18’s on this Boot Camp Weekend.