|Above: Jim Mann, Helene Whittaker and Patrick Devine-Wright (from right to left) tackling committing, technical terrain on the Crib Goch ridge. © Alastair Lee / Berghaus|
The 2015 Berghaus Dragon's Back Race will be taking place 22nd-26th June 2015. The legendary Dragon’s Back Race™ follows the mountainous spine of Wales from Conwy Castle to Carreg Cennen Castle. This incredible 5-day journey is approximately 300 kilometres long with 16,000 metres of ascent across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain. It is not a trail race.
As the race approaches we have been updating the race website with various details. Today we are delighted to confirm the provisional 2015 route statistics, confirm that the competitors will be some of the first people in the country to experience camping life in the superb new Berghaus AirHaus Tents and confirm that Harvey Maps have extended thier 1:40,000 map coverage to include days 1, 2, 3 and 5.
Read the details below:
The 2015 course will be similar, but not identical, to the 2012 route. The 2012 route took its inspiration from the original 1992 Dragon’s Back Race™.The optimum route is approximately 300km with 16,000m of height gain across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain. It is not a trail race. It’s an incredible journey.
- DAY 1: Carneddau, Glyders and Snowdon
- DAY 2: Moelwyns and Rhinogs
- DAY 3: Cadair Idris and Plynlimon
- DAY 4: Elan Valley
- DAY 5: Brecon Beacons
You can compare the provisional 2015 route data with 1992 and 2012 races on the table below:
|DAY 1||44.8km / 3,184m||57.39km / 4,802m||49.3km / 3,823m|
|DAY 2||53.0km / 3,091m||52.79km / 3,700m||53.9km / 3,544m|
|DAY 3||59.5km / 3,084m||66.80km / 3,894m||68.3km / 3,712m|
|DAY 4||65.1km / 1,783m||68.15km / 2,417m||64.0km / 2,273m|
|DAY 5||67.4km / 2,004m||55.61km / 2,273m||56.5km / 2,313m|
|TOTAL||289.8km / 13,146m||300.7km / 17,086m||292.0km / 15,665m|
Route Variations 1992 – 2012
Having carefully researched the route – both in literature, by speaking with 1992 veterans and extensive time on the ground – we felt that a route that genuinely followed the mountainous spine of Wales was more in keeping with ethos of adventure and mountain running that is at the heart of the Dragon’s Back Race™. The original 1992 route had more road running and visited significantly fewer mountain summits when compared to the 2012 route. This is why the distance is roughly similar but the height gain increased dramatically.
We also included all of the Welsh 3000ft mountains on the first day of the 2012 Dragon’s Back Race™, which obviously made the first day much harder and added to the overall height gain. This was done because we knew the last day of the 2012 route would be shorter than the 1992 version and, in keeping with our interpretation of the Dragon’s Back Race™, we wanted a journey across the mountain summits of Wales to be integral to the race experience.
|Above: Steve Jones approaching the summit of Crib Goch via the north ridge. © Alastair Lee / Berghaus|
Route Variations 2012 – 2015
The 2015 route will be broadly similar to the 2012 route and the provisional statistics in the table show this. However, it is also obvious that we have shortened the first day. In 2012 only 29 of the 82 starters completed the first day in full and we anticipate that the combination of the increased daylight hours in June 2015 (the 2012 race was held in September) and slightly shorter course will mean that more competitors are able to complete the first day and have the chance to go on, and complete the full course.
However, 2015 competitors should be under no illusion about the difficulty and challenging nature of day one, which will include more technical terrain than 2012; whilst day one may be shorter in terms of distance and ascent, it will probably be the most testing mountain day that many competitors will ever experience.
We have also moved the location of one of the Overnight Camps. Again, this causes a variation in the daily distances and height gains.
Overall, the changes to the route in 2015 have been done to fine tune what was already a superb course and we are very confident that everyone will appreciate these once they have completed the race.
Difficulty of the Route & Time Each Day
We expect the fastest competitors to be running for approximately 8-9 hours each day and the slowest competitors (who complete the full course) to be run/walking for approximately 13-15 hours each day. Please have a look at the 2012 results to gauge how long the competitors were out for.
By modern ultra running standards these are not huge distances individually but please do not underestimate the cumulatively difficulty AND bear in mind that much of the route is across wild, remote and totally trackless ground. It is very rough underfoot. In 2012, one seasoned 100 mile ultra runner stated that any day of the Dragon's Back Race™ was tougher than any of the 100 milers he'd done... and he's done over 100 of them!
Finally, it is worth noting that these distances and height gains are based on the optimal route choice learnt from significant experience on the ground and considerable time spent planning and testing various route options: It is easy to run further and many competitors do.
Accommodation for competitors will be in brand new Berghaus AirHaus tents. These are huge eight person tents with two 4 person-sleeping compartments and a large, central communal area. There will be sufficient space for eight people to organise themselves.
Specific tents are allocated to competitors by the organisers and competitors must stay in the specified tent during the race. The details of the tent allocation are available at registration. There will be a female only tent(s) available for female competitors that would prefer this. We are happy to group friends together in particular tents if they ask in advance.
In what we believe is a major improvement to the event we will be providing dedicated 1:40,000 Harvey maps for days 1, 2, 3 and 5. Harvey Maps have been extending thier 1:40,000 map coverage specifically for the Dragon's Back Race™ but this new mapping does not yet cover all of day 4, and therefore day 4 will be using a 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey map. The maps will be printed on waterproof and tear proof paper and pre-marked with all the checkpoint locations.