Latest News - Day 1: Leaders make a good impression on a tough course - The Berghaus Dragon's Back Race®

Day 1: Leaders make a good impression on a tough course

20th May 2019 @ 18:30

More than 400 runners and a strong crowd of supporters, flanked by many of the volunteer team, gathered in the stunning ruins of Conwy Castle, north Wales, early this morning for the start of the 2019 outing of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race.

 

 
Day 1 at the 2019 Berghaus Dragon's Back Race

Iconic, knife-edge ridges, breathtaking views and the highest summits. Who are the leaders? What's happening behind the scenes? The 2019 race is underway!

Posted by Berghaus Dragon's Back Race on Monday, 20 May 2019

 

Before they set off to run a tough first day course, the participants were treated to an uplifting choral performance, courtesy of the Cor Meibion Maelgwn Male Voice Choir. 

Race Director Shane Ohly offered the runners his words of encouragement, while Marcus Scotney, the 2017 race winner, further urged them to go out and run a brave race.

 

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Start of the Berghaus Dragon's Back Race® ©No Limits Photography

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The Berghaus athletes waiting for the off this morning ©No Limits Photography

 

And then they were off… With cheers ringing in their ears and flags from many of the 32 represented countries waving them on, the participants streamed out through the castle and along the ramparts before climbing the first “taster” summit of the day, Mynydd y Dref to 245m.

Day one of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back race is described by Ohly as “a baptism of fire”, frequently sifting out the participants who might make it to the finish line on Friday and those who will not. The 2017 race completion rate was only 56%.  

Runners faced 52km of northern Snowdonia’s rockiest and gnarliest mountains, including Tryfan, the Glyders and Snowdon via Crib Goch, as they made their way to the finish at Nant Gwynant. A total ascent of 3800m would be sure to test their leg muscles.  

Overall the weather was kind with early cloud giving way to a mostly sunny day and little wind.

 

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Heading up one of the first of many climbs. ©No Limits Photography

 

 

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Crib Goch - First Male - Galen Reynolds 373 - Copyright No Limits Photography

First male, Galen Reynole, on Crib Goch. ©No Limits Photography

 

Canadian takes an early lead

At the top of the rankings after day one is Canadian Galen Reynolds. He is taking part in the Berghaus Dragon’s Back race for the first time but his back story includes a win at the 2018 10Peaks long course through the Lake District and also two finishes in the 330-kilometre Tor des Geants in the Italian Alps. 

He came home in 7:37:42, more than 12 minutes ahead of Polish runner Konrad Rawlik. Konrad, the husband of renowned fell and ultra runner Jasmin Paris, finished in 7:50:18. He was third in the 2015 outing of the Dragon’s Back Race.

 

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Crib Goch - Second Male - Konrad Rowlick 369 - Copyright No Limits Photography

Second placed male, Konrad Rawlik ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Crib Goch - Third Male - Robert Barnes 20 -  Copyright No Limits Photography

Third placed male Robert Barnes ©No Limits Photography 

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Crib Goch - Second Male - Konrad Rowlick 369 - Copyright No Limits Photography

Second placed male, Konrad Rawlik ©No Limits Photography

 

In third place today was Brit Robert Barnes, the winner of the Cape Wrath Ultra® 2018, in 8:02:35. 

Jim Mann, his fourth time at the Dragon’s Back race, sits in fourth place in 8:11:46, some 34 minutes off the pole position. Jim was sixth in the 2012 race, the winner in 2015 and second in 2017.

After crossing the line, Galen said: “It’s been beautiful running today. It felt good.” However, he was not to be drawn on his overall game plan. “Ask me on day five if I am racing to win,” he said.

 

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Leading lady after day one Sabrina Verjee on Crib Goc©No Limits Photography

A trio of ladies to watch

For many observers, it was the ladies that most impressed in the first day of racing. The first three females showed their mettle on a testing course with Sabrina Verjee, Alyssa Clark and Lisa Watson all finishing in the top 26 overall and within 14 minutes of each other.

GB runner Sabrina is the most experienced on the course. On day one of her third Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race she came home first female and 11th overall in a time of 9:10:20. That is 17 minutes ahead of her time in the 2017 race. 

She said: “I felt good and it got better towards the end. The first part of the day was tough because I have a sore back and the descents were painful.

“But things felt better later on and I was pleased to feel strong on the final descent to the finish."

 

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Crib Goch - Second Female - Alyssa Clark 75 - Copyright No Limits Photography

Second lady after day one Alyssa Clark ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Crib Goch - Third Female - Lisa Watson 456 - Copyright No Limits Photography

Third lady after day one Lisa Watson ©No Limits Photography

 

In second place, some five minutes behind Sabrina, was American Alyssa Clark. Her first time in the Dragon’s Back Race, she finished 21st overall in a time of 9:15:44. 

She said: “I wasn’t really trying to push today and I just ran what I felt I could do. I am happy because it felt like it went really well.”

Sabrina revealed that the terrain suited her. She said: “I grew up running on the Appalachian Trail and that is very similar to what we encountered today. I am really happy with the course.”

Lisa Watson, also a GB runner, was third and 26th overall in 9:24.05. She said: “It was great out there today. I really enjoyed myself.”

Only 14 minutes separate the three top placed females, with the fourth female, Kerstin Rosenqvist, of Sweden, coming home in 9:49:40. She is 44th overall.

Also read some comments from the rest of the field: Sunshine, smiles and Thai curry on Tryfan.

 

2019 Average Terrain Type:

  Trackless  Single Track  Double Track Road
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%

>> scroll right >>

 

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