Day 5 - The Black Mountain

7th Sep 2012

Reporting by Rob Howard /

It is the final day of The Dragon’s Back Race, and the runners are now making their way across The Black Mountain towards Carreg Cennen Castle, renowned as one of the most impressive castle ruins in Wales (and of course as the finish of the Dragons Back Race). 

The day began with heavier cloud cover, but by mid-morning it was another hot day with clear skies.  The planned chasing start didn’t happen as the leaders are so far ahead it wasn’t practical, so once again the racers decided when to set off, and those who are doing the ‘half-way race’  (now known as The Spanish Dragon) cheered them off and helped break camp before getting lifts out to the supply point in every available vehicle.  As always the Spanish team were in a cheery mood, singing ‘Why, Why, Why .. Delilah!’

The first part of the day took the runners along a sharply defined ridge and down into the town of Llandovery (chance for tea stops and second breakfast) and then through rural farmland to the support point at the Usk Reservoir.  This came early on the route today, with the more difficult and steeper terrain of The Black Mountain coming in the latter part of the day.

About half the full course runners had arrived here while the Spanish Dragon racers were waiting to set off, so there was a big crowd to cheer them in.  Steve Birkinshaw and Rob Baker were still running together, though Baker looked like he was struggling, and ladies course winners Helene Whitaker was still with the ‘super group’ of runners chasing the leaders.  (The full course racers were offered a treat here as the marshals had been to buy a supply of choc ices!)

This afternoon the racers will make their way over the main summits of The Black Mountain but CP5 on the day has been taken out to allow a more direct and shorter route.  The last checkpoint of the race is on Tair Carn Isaf, after which there is a mandatory route for the run into the finish.  The last hill of the day is of course the climb up to the castle ... where else would you build at castle, but on top of a big hill!

(Yesterdays results did not show the final finishers, Wendy Dodds, but she made camp safely after dark.)

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