2017 Route Update

5th Apr 2017


An extract from the final section of day 1. Note the short section of Mandatory Route off the summit of Snowdon. © Harvey Maps

2017 Route Information

We are now in a position to confirm the Berghaus Dragon's Back Race™ route for 2017. The route will be approximately 315km with 15,500m of height gain.‚Äč You can compare the 2017 route with the 1992, 2012 and 2015 races in the table below:

  1992  2012  2015 2017
DAY 1 44.8km / 3,184m 57.39km / 4,802m 49.3km / 3,823m 52km / 3,800m
DAY 2 53.0km / 3,091m 52.79km / 3,700m 53.9km / 3,544m 58km / 3,600m
DAY 3 59.5km / 3,084m 66.80km / 3,894m 68.3km / 3,712m 71km / 3,500m
DAY 4 65.1km / 1,783m 68.15km / 2,417m 64.0km / 2,273m 71km / 2,400m
DAY 5 67.4km / 2,004m 55.61km / 2,273m 56.5km / 2,313m 63km / 2,200m
TOTAL 289.8km / 13,146m 300.7km / 17,086m 292.0km / 15,665m 315km / 15,500m


2017 Averages
Average Daily Distance: 63km
Average Daily Height Gain: 3,100m

2017 Average Terrain Type:

DAY 1 16% 78% 2% 4%
DAY 2 25% 37% 16% 23%
DAY 3 11% 45% 30% 14%
DAY 4 23% 30% 18% 29%
DAY 5 37% 16% 17% 30%
Average 22% 40% 17% 21%


We do not wish to continually reinvent the route and fundamentally there is very little change to the 2017 route (when compared to the 2015 route). However, there have been a number of small incremental changes to the route that mean the overall distance has increased from 2015. The reasons are:

  • Most importantly we have measured the actual route on the ground more accurately, and the overall distance was under-reported in previous years.
  • It was not possible to arrange access to Carreg Cennen Castle (the finish for previous races) in 2017 due to landowner permissions, and the route has been extended on Day 5 to a new finish at Tregib Sports Facilities in Llandeilo.
  • There have been several deviations to avoid known trouble spots, which are usually farmyards with uncontrolled dogs. 
  • We have painstakingly tested on the ground a new ‘Recommended Route’, the Recommended Route is not necessarily the fastest/shortest route but it is the easiest to follow and has the most runnable ground. Based on considerable analysis of the 2015 routes taken by participants, the Recommended Route is mostly similar to what the majority of runners did that year.

The process of creating and testing the Recommended Route has meant that our knowledge of the ground and many different route options has increased considerably. The Recommended Route avoids obstacles like maintained stone walls, and is recommended for a good reason. Our strong advice is to follow it! 


Following The Route

The route is not marked in any way and participants must use the event map and/or their GPS device to follow the route when required. The route will be shown by two different coloured lines on the map, indicating whether the route is Mandatory or Recommended:

  • Mandatory Route = The route must be followed carefully (ORANGE overprint)
  • Recommended Route = Participants have free route choice (YELLOW overprint)

The vast majority of the 2017 Berghaus Dragon's Back Race route is 'Recommended' i.e. there is free route choice for the majority of the journey through Wales.  

The GPX file of the final route will be available on 26th April. 



An extract from the 2017 Berghaus Dragon's Back Race™ map showing the 'Recommend Route' (yellow) and the 'Mandatory Route' (orange). © Harvey Maps

Mandatory Route
Generally, the Mandatory Route will only be used in lowland areas where it is important for participants to follow established paths and tracks often through farmland. In reality there is little scope to deviate from this route with little benefit to be gained. Imagine, if you will, following a footpath through some woodland or agricultural fields. Participants are monitored via their GPS tracker to ensure that they are following the Mandatory Route. 

Recommended Route
The Recommended Route shows what we consider to be the 'best' route. The route shown on the event maps switches from Mandatory to Recommended as the route rises out of the valleys; typically this is actually very distinctive on the ground. Our best route is not necessarily the fastest route, but all things considered, such as navigation, terrain, dangers (crags etc), it will be the optimum route for the vast majority of the participants.


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