15th Sept. 2011 - post 3.
The organiser of the Dragons Back Race recently posted some very useful and interesting info on the website. Check out the sections and links below. I'm sure that some of the videos and pictures will inspire you to get out in the hills. They've certainly made me want to get out of the office and onto the trails!!
Rob Howard, the managing editor of SleepMonsters, and one of the journalists who reported on the original 1992 race has written a short article about the history of the first race.
This section of the website has now been updated with a 15 minute film of the 1992 race, which makes for fascinating viewing and offers a real insight into what is in store for you next year. Also, is a small selection of Rob Howard's photos.
Over the last few months I've field many questions from competitors and I've compiled a list of the most frequently asked ones. Reading this section should provide some additional insight into the event.
Within the FAQs section I have included some further details on the route but as this is the topic I am asked about most, I am going to include these details here as well.
First of all, the 2012 will be very slightly different to 1992 route. We have altered it to account for our negotiations with landowners, to reduce the longer road running sections (i.e. competitors will do more running in the mountains than in 1992) and we have added a number of additional summit checkpoints (i.e. competitors will have more climb than in 1992). Overall, the course is marginally 'harder' than in 1992.
Many competitors have been asking for checkpoint grid references or detailed information about the route. As explained on the website, this information will not be available until the evening before you race. For example, you will be given the Day 1 details at the mass briefing for all competitors on the Sunday night, Day 2 details on the Monday night etc.
The straight-line distances and height gains for each day are:
Day 1 = 30 miles (48 km) / 19,700 ft (6,000m)
Day 2 = 27 miles (43 km) / 14,700 ft (4,500m)
Day 3 = 34 miles (54 km) / 16,400 ft (5,000m)
Day 4 = 37 miles (59 km) / 11,500 ft (3,500m)
Day 5 = 34 miles (54 km) / 11,100 ft (3,400m)
Totals = 162 miles (260 km) / 58,730 ft (17,900m)
Of course we all know that you don't run in straight lines in mountainous terrain and the optimum course as been calculated as exactly 200 miles (322 km) with 45,600 ft (13,900m) of ascent. I hope that this information helps with your training.
Shane Ohly (DBR race organiser)
I'll be honest, when I first read the distances I was a little disappointed! 162 miles in 5 days sounded more like a long weekend race... or to put into other terms, exactly the distance of one of the popular desert races. I'd been excited by the DBR because I was afraid of it; I questioned my ability to finish, to survive! Considering that reports of the original race were of a 220 miler, I wondered where the mileage had gone; had Wales shrunk?
But reading fully through Shane's info and thinking about it, I realised that this would still probably be close to 220 miles. With 200 miles being the optimum course, as opposed to straight line distances, and not counting for a few bad navigational choices (bound to happen with accumulating tiredness), I think 40+ miles a day of rough mountain running will be more than challenging enough. For anyone who has ever even walked in the mountains of Wales, you'll know that even a single 8hr+ day in the hills is tough going! It was also pointed out to me in a separate email that the '92 race was not accurately measured and the 220 mile distance just stuck. So, once again, I'm scared of it. I'm wondering if I can drag my body through day after day of being battered by the terrain and weather. But it's this extreme mountain sport that excites me and will drive me to train and keep my enthused over the coming months.
The main training news for this entry is more to do with lack of training rather than high mileage. Everything was going very well for a couple of weeks after summer holidays; good weekly mileage and quality long runs at weekends, including some 20+ milers over hilly trail routes. But I've been trying to balance all of this with starting a new job. That in itself isn't something that would impact too much on training, but because I've been balancing two jobs, I've been getting tired and run-down. Result - I developed a cold with a sore throat to boot. Over last weekend I tried to do a little training in the hope that it was just a sniffle and it wouldn't amount to much. I did take part in a local 10k race, but I jogged around and even at one point stopped and sat on a fence to cheer others on and soak up some atmosphere!
So the plan now is to just recover this week, maybe with a couple of short jogs on the treadmill, and get well enough for a sub-4hr marathon distance training run on Saturday, with a 10 miler to loosen the wheels on Sunday. The New Forest Marathon is the weekend after, but I don't plan to taper for that; it's very much being treated as a training run with a view towards minimal disruption to training the following week. The goal this year is to enjoy running around the Brecon Beacons in the "Might Contain Nuts Brecon 40" in December with a few lads from the running club. With that goal in mind, we've planned a recce trip for the first weekend in November. Five men, six hours driving, seven hours of mountain running, followed by eight cheeseburgers... each!
The biggest news for this posting is that last week I asked Catherine to marry me, and she said 'yes'! I couldn't be happier! Catherine is incredibly supportive of my running and everything else I take on, so I only hope that I can be as supportive and loving. We spent last weekend informing family, who were all very excited for us, and ring shopping. It's all terribly exciting and my words simply won't do justice to how happy I am and how much I'm looking forward to my future with Catherine.