"We’re enjoying the more runnable terrain and amazing sunshine"

21st May 2019 @ 17:30

The upbeat atmosphere of the 2019 Berghaus Dragon Back’s Race continued today with sunshine and plenty of smiles out on the 58km course. Catching up with the runners on the first summit Cnicht (689m) and then again at the Roman Steps, just after the Support Point and some two-thirds of the way through the race, it appeared that most participants were enjoying a generally more runnable course compared to day one.

Although longer by 6km, there was 200m less overall ascent (3600m in total) and the mountains were of lower stature on average. The infamous Rhinogydd mountains posed a final challenge in the latter stage of the course before a long stretch tarmac to reach the finish point at Dolgellau.


Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 2 - Cnicht- Unknown Runner 2 - Copyright No Limits Photography

A runner at the checkpoint on Cnicht ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 2 - Cnicht- Unknown Runner 3 - Copyright No Limits Photography

The first summit of the day ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 2 - Cnicht- Unknown Runner 5 - Copyright No Limits Photography

Many runners said they were enjoying the views and sunshine ©No Limits Photography


Here is what some of the runners had to say about day two of the Berghaus Dragon's Back Race.

On the Summit of Cnicht

Sean O’Connor (307), GB, said: “I am running on tired legs because yesterday was hard. Today I am treating as active recovery.”

Michael Bruhin (54), Switzerland, said: “It’s so far, so good for me. That’s the first summit done and that is good. The weather is good and there are nice people around and so it’s great to be here.”

Filippo Faralla (125), South Africa, said: “Yesterday was tough. The second half was tough. I am feeling much better today.”

Wouter Huitzing (200), Netherlands, said:  “I have sore feet but the views are good and the sun is out. It is much better than two years ago when it was foggy. My strategy is to get through today and speed up tomorrow.”

Tom Hollins (191), GB, said: “I am hot but good today. Yesterday, was hot but good, too. It was technical yesterday and that made it tougher. I had recce’d the route but not all in one go... so doing it all one go was tough. I hope I will be okay today."

Oliver Lutte (269), GB, said: “My legs were in continuous cramps from 5pm to 11pm last night and I had to have some paracetamol. Somehow that and about 20 salt packets solved it. Today they are just teasing me with whether they are going to cramp again. But no worries, it’s a great day so far.”

Robert Barnes (20), who finished in 3rd place overall today, said: “It is warm today but I am feeling okay and I am looking forward to more runnable terrain.”


Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 2 - Checkpoint 6 - Copyright No Limits Photography

  A volunteer pulls out a drop bag for a runner at the Support Point ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 2 - Checkpoint 7 - Copyright No Limits Photography

A runner looks for important kit and food at the Support Point ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back 2019 - Day 2 - Roman Steps - Unknown Runner - Copyright No Limits Photography

A runner heads along the Roman Steps ©No Limits Photography


At the Roman Steps

Carwyn “Caz” Phillips (353), Wales, said: “I have been taking it a bit easier than yesterday. I was too fast yesterday. The sun is a bit too much for me but it’s fine. I am enjoying the race, the course and meeting new people.”

Michael Tonkins (439), GB, said: “I had a miserable day yesterday because I went out too fast but today is much better and I am enjoying the race again.”

Mark Innocenti (207), GB, said: “It is hot; hotter than yesterday. But the terrain is better I think although there is the Rhinogydd to come yet.”

Lisa Watson (456), GB, who finished third lady overall today, said: “I have recce’d this and I like this section over the Roman Steps… and then there is the Rhinogydd and that can be tricky finding a place to descend but hopefully I’ll be ok.

“I think today is probably easier overall. There was the boggy stuff but, actually, I like having wet feet because it feels cooler.”

Anwen Darlington (98), from Wales, said: “I am good but tired. It is very different from yesterday. There were more big climbs and big descents yesterday but today is more boggy and there are all the ups and downs. So, that is tiring in its own way.”

Jane Williams (466), GB, said: “I’m finding it a bit easier today because it is undulating and there is less scrambling but I do have tired legs. I am getting there…”

Jamie Cattle (68), GB, said:  “My legs are moving and I am doing ok. The terrain is better suited to hooves than trainers but I am getting my head down and getting on with it.”

Andreas Stemberger (415), of Austria, said:  “Today is better than yesterday… the body is used to running and I slept well. There is no stress but I am tired.”

Kirsten Isak (210), of Denmark, said: “Two years ago, I timed out a Pen-y-pass but I made it this year.  I was super excited to make it this year and to get to the end of day one. Today is harder for me.”

King Yan Anthony Leung (257), of Hong Kong, said: “So far, so good in the race and I am hanging in there. I am a bit tired but I am okay. I am slow on the flats and crawling up the hills! “

Avril Challoner (69) and Fiona Lynch (270), both from Ireland, met while recce’ing the race course and have been running the route together. Avril said: “We have been kidding ourselves that we will be winners, especially with Carol Morgan not racing! We must be the only Irish ladies in our age groups and so we will be first home.”

Fiona said: "We are having fun, running and chatting together.”


Berghaus Dragon’s Back 2019 - Day 2 - Rhinog Fach - Unknown Runners 3 - Copyright No Limits Photography

A runner on Rhinog Fach ©No Limits Photography

Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2019 - Day 2 - Cnicht- Unknown Runner 1 - Copyright No Limits Photography

Runners summit Cnicht ©No Limits Photography


Two tough races, but different

Some runners, who have completed the sister event, the Cape Wrath Ultra, compared the two races.

Kirsty Reade (3700), GB, said: "The Dragon’s Back is much gnarlier than CWU. Yesterday was really difficult. There are also longer days and less time to recover in between. What is similar is the scenery, which is beautiful, and we are following the best possible course but it is harder. My aim is to just hang in on day 1 and 2 and then see if I can get through day 3 to 5.”

Peter van der Heijden (444), Netherlands, said: “This is different stuff than Cape Wrath. I am at my limits. I already thought about quitting yesterday because the terrain is tough. We can't train in Holland for this stuff."

Read about the front runners in Day 2: Front runners pull ahead on ‘more runnable’ course

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