Day 4: Excitement, drama and disappointment among female leaders

23rd May 2019 @ 18:00

The competition at the top of the female leaderboard in the 2019 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race heightened today, while one of the main contenders for a podium throughout the race was forced to drop out. Meanwhile, in the men’s camp the top two continued to run hand-in-hand - and pull away from the rest of the field.



Day 4 at the 2019 Berghaus Dragon's Back Race

Only the tiniest ultra-running margin of 73 seconds now separates the competition at the top of the female leaderboard - Lisa Watson overtook Sabrina Verjee's previous days' lead coming in 23 minutes faster today Meanwhile, Galen Reynolds and Jim Mann pull away from Rob Barnes & the rest of the field

Posted by Berghaus Dragon's Back Race on Thursday, 23 May 2019



Route and conditions

Day 4 of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race was another long one, with a rolling and very runnable route stretching 71km from Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth, to Rhandirmwyn, Llandovery. Runners faced 2400m total ascent, including one of the area’s highest summits, Drygarn Fawr, as they continued through remote hills and forests of Mid Wales and the Elan Valley. 

Another warm and sunny day was welcomed by many participants.

Some 264 runners started the day, which means that the drop out rate sits at around 34%. Race director Shane Ohly said: “The number of people still competing is higher than in previous years although the rate of attrition has steadily increased through 10%, 22% and 34%, which is what I would expect for such a tough multi-stage running race.”

“It’s fantastic to see so many people enjoying the race and so many still competitive.”


sabbie start

Sabrina Verjee sets off in first place at the start of the day. ©No Limits Photography


Lisa takes the lead by a minute after strong run

Day 4 female results:

Lisa Watson (456), GB: 8:06:30 
Sabrina Verjee (448), GB: 8:29:31
Kersten Rosenqvist, Sweden: 9:38:23
Lowri Morgan, GB: 10:07:23

Overall leaderbord:

Lisa Watson (456), GB: 37:11:16 (10th overall)
Sabrina Verjee (448), GB:  37:12:29 (11th overall)
Kersten Rosenqvist, Sweden: 40:46:41
Lowri Morgan (314), GB: 42:23:58



 Lisa is hard on the heels of another runner.  ©No Limits Photography


Lisa Watson ran a superb race today, coming home more than 23 minutes ahead of Sabrina Verjee and taking over the first position by a minute and 13 seconds. The pair are now sitting impressively in 10th and 11th places overall.

As Lisa ran speedily though CP4, just before halfway today, she said: The uphills are feeling a bit tough but this is my sort of terrain. I am enjoying myself.

On the finish line, she added: Today was amazing. I really enjoyed it. My quads were starting to hurt towards the end but; I think probably just smashed it down too many hills.



Sabrina reaches a trig check point. ©No Limits Photography


Sabrina was also happy with her running. After her finish line collapse yesterday, she believed she had recovered sufficiently to set out for today’s 71km course.

She said: “I feel fine. Once I could eat something last night I felt a lot better. I am looking forward to today.”

At today's finish line, she added: “I ran well and I ran as hard as I can go. Nothing really hurt so that was good.” 

“I am struggling to drink enough. I have drunk so much but somehow it’s not enough. I am running harder than my last Dragon’s Back race, so perhaps this is causing me to need more water.” 

“I have been making myself eat all day. I have been eating a lot but it feels like the calories have gone in and out. This probably means I am racing at my absolute peak.”

“It’s good though and I am enjoying it.” 

She was aware that Lisa had run a good race today. Sabrina said: “Lisa is strong and if she has run faster than me then she is stronger than me. She is doing really well.”

Sadly, today saw American Alyssa Clark drop out. She has been in the top three ladies all week but between CP3 and CP4, she collapsed and needed medical assistance.

Alyssa said: “I wasn’t feeling good overnight. I was shaking uncontrollably but I thought I might be okay once I got started with the race this morning.

“But I still didn't feel that good. I was so tired. Then my vision started to blur and I was blacking out. I collapsed, twice I think. Luckily some of the participants could help me and they called for a medic. I was just shaking so much and fainting…

“I am gutted to be out. I so desperately wanted to finish but I can’t. If you are blacking out, then that is the time to stop.”

Alyssa wonders if she had not managed to eat and drink enough throughout the week. She said: “I have some food intolerances so it isn't always easy to get all the right foods in races like these.”

“I think I have not been eating or drinking enough. I have been red-lining it each day and I have not managed to replace the calories.”

Although close to tears, she smiled as she described the first part of the race. She said: “I loved the first two days. You can give me technical mountain terrain any day. I had so much fun out there. But yesterday was hard for me. It is more runnable terrain in some ways but I prefer the tougher ups and downs of rocky mountains.”

“I wish the other ladies well. Lisa and Sabrina are ferociously competitive but they are lovely and I am sad to be out of the race but I wish them well.”

“I will be back for sure. I now have the Tor des Géants race to focus on but I want to come back to do another Dragon’s Back Race. I am only 26 so I have plenty of time…”


j and G start

Jim and Galen set out together again today. ©No Limits Photography


Galen and Jim pull away from the field - together

Day 4 male results:

Galen Reynolds (373), Canada: 7:21:19
Jim Mann (479), GB: 7:21:23
Konrad Rawlik (369), Poland: 7:23:04 
Robert Barnes (20), GB: 8:12:42

Overall leaderbord:

Galen Reynolds (373), Canada: 31:02:31
Jim Mann (479), GB: 31:44:34
Robert Barnes (20), GB: 32:51:22
Konrad Rawlik (369), Poland: 33:18:43



G and J

Galen and Jim in matching outfits, as well as matching paces! ©No Limits Photography


Running side by side again – and even sporting the same orange t-shirts and black shorts – the two leaders, Galen Reynolds, of Canada, and Jim Mann, of England, increased their lead ahead of third placed Rob Barnes. 

The pair seem inseparable and they are enjoying their new friendship.

Smiling and cheerful on the finish line, Jim said: “It was nice out there today. It was great fun. A fantastic day.”

Galen add: “It went amazing. It was a pretty tough day and I definitely felt that one. There was a bit of a long stretch out on the road and it was really hammering the quads so that hurt but I enjoyed it.”

Before this race Galen and Jim had never met. For the past two days they have started and finished together.

Galen said: “It’s really enjoyable running with Jim. It’s social. It’s a hundred times more fun to run with someone than on your own. Also we have both been pushing the pace and so we know it is difficult for Jim to now make a big dent in the time difference of some 40 minutes between us."

Konrad Rawlik also ran a great race today coming home in third place just behind Galen and Jim. He has tightened his fourth place to just 27 minutes behind Rob.

Rob Barnes was very happy with his run as well – and his racing overall. He said: “I felt good today. I’ve enjoyed the mix of terrain in the race. On the flat I am puffing and panting but then the hills come and I am happy.”

“I think I have done alright. It is going well, which I am shocked at because I didn't know I could perform like this.”

Tomorrow starts with a chasing start

The final day of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back is a “chasing start”. It means in the ladies field that Lisa will start at 8.00 and Sabrina at 8.01. 

Sabrina said: “I am not a fan of chasing starts. I find it demoralising if someone passes me. It’s not so much about being competitive because I run my own race and if others are doing well I know they are running their own race.” 

“But it’s more that I like to start when I want and I prefer to choose when I start and who I run with. Oh well, there is not much I can do about it.”

For Jim and Galen, the chasing start will mean an end to their side-by-side running because Galen will be given a start time 40 minutes ahead of Jim.

However, earlier Galen said: “We have talked already and we think we will probably try to run together again tomorrow.”

Only time will reveal how they will play the planned chasing start...

Also read: Day 4: Runners smile and chat through the pain

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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