There is a very different mood in the day one Dragon’s Back camp tonight, compared to the last race 3 years ago.
This evening the weather has cleared and it’s a lovely, fine night to enjoy a sheltered valley location, surrounded by rocky outcrops and native forestry. Although with the wind now dropping the midges are biting, so you can’t have everything!
The camp is busy with the volunteer marshals working hard to assist the runners, the kitchen is busy producing lots of wholesome food and the masseur is working non-stop. Runners are coming into the finish regularly, and the biggest difference is the number of finishers and their condition. On the last race day one was longer (including all the Welsh 3000ers) and in the very hot conditions the majority of racers didn’t finish. Those who did were very exhausted and not all managed to go on and complete the race.
The change to the course and the cooler weather have ensured a much, much higher finish rate and the racers in camp have more time to recover. There is a lively atmosphere in the mess tent as routes and races are discussed and the British racers explain to visitors what a midge is ... and why the marshals are wearing nets over their faces!
After a hard first day the tally of those who have scratched or cut the course short is only 6. Pavel Paloncy was injured in a fall and the others who pulled out during the day are Chris Lewis, Ahmed Mohammad, Kelly Lim, Wayne Singleton and Sharon Broadwell, who took an incredible and eccentric route around, about, over, back and over the Glyders again. (Although they are now deemed non-competitive they can still complete the following days, or sections of them.)
Another racer, Richard Townsend, opted out of crossing the Crib Goch ridge and instead took the Pyg Track up Snowdon. He will miss a checkpoint and be ‘non-competitive’ but its better to avoid the exposed ridge he feels uncomfortable with, rather than risk getting into difficulty there.
The final racer to make the day’s second and last cut-off was Ni Wiwin Leung from Hong Kong, who made it to the Pen-y-Pass Youth Hostel with 7 minutes to spare. She was in good spirits and stopped to take pictures of the marshals before finding the start of the Pyg Track and looking up at the steep ascent to the start of Grib Goch. “Do I have to go up there?” She said resignedly.
She was undaunted though and said the day was as she’d expected, but she’d not managed to run much of it. She did catch two others on the ridge later, so may not be the last into camp tonight.
In the morning there is a staggered start from 06.00 with the slowest runners from day one setting off first. It means they will get less rest unfortunately, while the leaders get a late breakfast and a lie in, but it has to be done that way to allow the race logistics to cope with the varying speeds of those taking part.
Written by Rob @ Sleep Monsters