Throughout the 5 days of The Berghaus Dragon’s Back the walls of the racer’s meal tent have been covered in huge colour blow up photos of Steve Birkinshaw, Helene Whitaker, Jim Mann and Jasmin Paris. They are the 4 previous winners of the modern day Dragon’s Back Race and are known as the ‘Dragon Slayers’ ... now they are joined by Marcus Scotney, winner of the 2017 men’s race.
Marcus Scotney - 2017 Berghaus Dragon's Back Race winner ©Rob Howard
Despite concerns about an injury Scotney has stayed ahead of his nearest pursuer, defending champion Jim Mann and increased even his lead. There was no sign of his being hampered by the knee injury as he raced away to take the title, crossing The Black Mountain and passing beneath the old finish at Carreg Cennen Castle, on his way to the new finish line on the outskirts of Llandeilo. (Which has made the race just a little longer!)
It was another hot day, but with a strong wind to help cool things down a little, and Scotney ran across the finish line at 14.11 to win the race in a total time of 37 hours 58 minutes. He was running for 6 hours 12 minutes today and over the 5 stages of a gruelling race had completed a journey of 315km with 15,500m of climbing across mountain summits the length of Wales.
Jen and Shelock (dog) welcome in Marcus on the finish line ©guillemcasanova.com
“It’s not really sunk in,” he told me, sitting in the sports hall where the race finishes. He was shivering despite being well wrapped up and speaking quietly, he hardly had the energy left to do that.
“I really thought it was over last night” he said, “and that I wouldn’t be able to run, but today I decided I had come here to complete the race and to win and that I had to give it a go. I knew too that this was potentially my fastest day and that I could run most of it if the knee held out, and it did, though I didn’t have a full range of movement. In the end I was well inside my 40 hour target as well so I’m delighted with the result.” (Mann won the race in 40 hours 38 minutes last time out.)
Marcus later on receiving the prestigious Dragon trophy at the prize-giving ©iancorless.com