Dragon's Back Race set to be tougher and longer in 2021 - Women's Running

Dragon’s Back Race set to be tougher and longer in 2021

Author: Holly Taylor

Read Time:   |  August 6, 2020

Often dubbed the 'world's toughest mountain race', Dragon's Back just got even tougher...

Organisers of the legendary Dragon’s Back Race, a multi-day 300km+ mountain run through Wales, have announced that next year’s event will be even longer.

The 2021 Dragon’s Back Race will be expanded from five to six days, to include a finish at Cardiff Castle and a fifth day traversing the Brecon Beacons. The total distance will be increased from from 315km to 380km, and height climbed from 15,500m to 17,400m, as competitors run along the whole spine of Wales.

The race, first held in 1992, has only taken place five times, but it has achieved near-mythical status as the world’s toughest mountain race. Only around half of those who start the race at Conwy Castle manage to complete it and win a much-coveted dragon trophy.

As ultrarunning has grown in popularity, so have the race’s entry numbers, almost doubling from 2017 to 2019 with over 400 runners taking on the challenge last year. Next year’s trickier challenge should attract more runners than ever to the glorious Welsh mountains.

Much of the work to update the course was completed at the end of 2019, with extensive on-the-ground reconnoitring of the obvious finishing options to extend the race south, and how they connected with the established course. The COVID-19 outbreak interrupted that work, but the key route planning has now been completed.

Race director Shane Ohly explained that the logical route for him had always been the six-day trek across the Beacons, finishing at Cardiff Castle, but that he had opted for a more cautious approach in the past. He’s delighted that the race will now take runners on a more fitting route that showcases Wales’ beauty from north to south.

Shane Ohly adds: “After careful consideration of the options, we felt that finishing at Cardiff Castle was by far the best choice. Day five will now be a monstrous 70km, including an extended traverse of the Brecon Beacons. The new route truly embraces the ethos of the event by continuing the journey along the spine of Wales’ most southerly peaks. Day six initially continues this theme, before linking together brilliant tracks and trails that speed participants south and straight into Cardiff Castle, for a spectacular and fitting finish in the capital of Wales.”

Entries for the event will open on at 10am on 1 September 2020. Find out more here.

Written by

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor is the digital editor of Women’s Running and co-host of the Women’s Running podcast, where she shares her running journey as well as the inspiring stories of women runners all over the country. She’s never been the sporty type, but running is the first time she’s felt real joy in getting active. She loves talking about running with a community of inclusive and supportive runners, and Women's Running is the perfect space for this. She's currently aiming for a half marathon PB!

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