Sunshine, smiles and Thai curry on Tryfan

20th May 2019 @ 18:15

Around the halfway point on day one of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race, the runners faced a stiff climb to the 917m summit of Tryfan. The ascent on a rocky path followed a welcome drop bag stop at a manned Support Point.

As the first runners pushed upwards, the sun appeared and chased away the morning’s low clouds.

Perhaps it was the warm rays, or the recent refuelling, but despite the effort of the ascent many participants were smiling and cheerful.


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

Robert Barnes on Tryfan ©No Limits Photography


One of the lead runners, Brit Robert Barnes (20) said: “I’m good. This climb is tough, although it’s not far to the top now so that is even better.” (He finished the day in third place.)

Konrad Rawlik (369), of Poland, said: “I am doing okay and I am enjoying it so far.”

Mark Innocenti (207), GB, said: “I’m feeling ok and now the sun has come out too that is good. I am enjoying it. I have found the groove and I’m taking one step after the other. Steady wins the race.”

Mike Robinson (378), GB, was relieved to have come out of the morning’s mist. He said: “It was quite hard finding the route earlier but now the sun has come out and the views are fantastic. It’s my first time in the race and so far I have enjoyed the company of others. I’ve been in a nice bunch.”

Welsh runner Andrew Jones (222) said: “I am really looking forward to the top of this hill.” 


Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Tryfan - Unknown Runner 1 - Copyright No Limits Photography

Rocky running on Tryfan ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Tryfan - Unknown Runner 5 - Copyright No Limits Photographyjpg

Tricky ups and downs ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Tryfan - Unknown Runner 3 - Copyright No Limits Photography

 Focusing on every step ©No Limits Photography


Christian Kreienbuhl (245), from Switzerland, said: “I am doing super. It is very nice, especially now the sun is out. I am here to enjoy myself and hopefully to finish. This is my vacation.”

David Chetta (72), GB, and Dan Murdoch (321) were enjoying the chat as they climbed. David said: “I am off work and it’s great because I don't feel too tired. The sunshine is not too good for me though.”

Dan butted in, saying: “I am going to contradict that. I am pleased the sun is out.” And off they went discussing the fors and againsts of sunshine in a race.

Carwyn "Caz" Phillips (353), from Wales, said: “The sun is shining and it’s not raining. There is good hwyl in the camp – hywl means happiness. I did have a strategy for today but it might be a bit blown already. I was trying to stay in my comfort zone. But, you know, I am enjoying the views in these hills and mountains that I know so well.”

American Alyssa Clark was the first lady to ascend Tryfan. She finished second female at the end of the day.  She said: “This section is hard; the hardest bit so far. But I am enjoying it.”

Patrick Kingston (239), GB, said: “I am doing grand. The sun is shining and we are in the hills of Wales. I just keep going, one step in front of the other.”

Lisa Watson (456), GB, who finished third female later in the day, admitted she is a newcomer to “this kind of race”. She said: “I have never done anything like this event before so this is something different. I just want to see how it goes. I have recce’d the route and I know what to expect but I am cautious of going off too fast and I am trying not to wreck my quads on the downhills. It’s difficult when you feel fresh and it’s a nice day, you just want to run. I think I am good overall.”


Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Tryfan - Stef Maginelle 273 - Copyright No Limits Photography

Pushing hard on the mountains ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Tryfan - Unknown Runner 6 - Copyright No Limits Photography

A runners edges upwards ©No Limits Photography


Kerstin Rosenqvist, (383), of Sweden: “I  am enjoying myself and going slowly. I really like the views and the sunshine and the wonderful terrain.” She finished fourth female today.

Danny Garrett (138), has travelled from New Zealand for the race. He was still struggling with jetlag. He said: “I am having a blast… It’s great. I am just submitted to the fact I am going to be tired for the next five days.

He has trained in the mountains close to his home in Wellington and enjoys multi day fast packing although he has never done a stage race before.

He said: “I wanted to do this race. It is one of the landmark stage races out there. There are quite a lot of ex-pats from the UK in New Zealand and that is how I heard about the race. Plus, it covers some awesome scenery and I get to visit a place I have never been to before. So far it’s all positive. It’s a lovely course and the views are great now the clouds have lifted.”


Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 1 - Tryfan - Unknown Runner 4 - Copyright No Limits Photography

Abimanyu from Singapore enjoying the climb ©No Limits Photography


Abimanyu Shunmugan  (398), from Singapore, was delighted by the warmer weather. “This is perfect for me,” he said.

And then there was a runner eating from an open packet containing Thai green curry. Chris Arrowsmith (12), GB, said: “Really, it’s great. It’s just what I need just now.”

Slick and up-beat volunteering

Beyond the noise of the runners chatting – and a few goats bleating intermittently – the sound of the volunteer team at the Support Point could be heard from the mountain and far below. Cheers and hollers of encouragement were given out to every participant.

As each runner arrived, one volunteer shouted out the race number to another member so as to speed up the process of retrieving the correct bag for the participant.

Gary Marlow (274), GB, was given a special birthday cheer. “This is an amazing day,” he said. “I am having a great time and I am doing fine. I like going downhill but not so much the uphills. I am ahead of schedule, which is good.

“I am 39 today and next year, for my 40th, I want to do the Cape Wrath Ultra.”

For some runners, coming later to the support point, the pain was obvious. John Paul Lukas (268), of Australia, said: “I wish I could say I was enjoying today but it is tough. I am rolling into it slowly but surely... we’ll just have to see. It’s only day one.”

Sally Mcconville (285), GB, said: “I keep getting cramp in my legs which is unusual for me. I am trying to eat some food and take on electrolytes. I am feeling fine in myself but my legs are not behaving.”

American Carina Rankinen (367) said: “I am having some problems with my footwear. My feet are moving about a lot inside them. I also got lost. It is what it is but I lost my way in a sheep field.”

Robert Meyer (296), GB, said: “I am feeling ok but I just seem to be very slow. I am slow on the descents. I think perhaps I am not used to the terrain. I run cross-country marathons and there is not so much ascent and descent. I am worried about the next cut off if I’m honest.”

Thomas Howell (197), GB, sat on the grass at the Support Point, looking disappointed. “I have been forced to retire due to an injured knee,” he said: “It happened as I descended towards the support point and I tried to go up Tryfan but it was just too sore. I will have to see how I am tomorrow. I am disappointed.”

Also read about the front runners on Day 1: Leaders make a good impression on a tough course.

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