As the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race fast approaches we catch up with the Berghaus staff members brave enough to tackle the world’s toughest mountain race as part of a relay team.
Chris Lines (CL)
I have been working with Berghaus since 1998 and have a deep love of the outdoors, and particularly of running. Based in County Durham, I am a member of local athletics club Sedgefield Harriers and have completed numerous races over the years, ranging in distance from 100 metres to marathons.
Richard Schorah (RS)
Growing up I did quite a bit of athletics but stopped around 18 / 19 years old. Around 5 years ago I decided I started running again and couldn’t run more than ¼ mile without being ill.
At that time I couldn’t understand how it was possible for anyone to run such long distances. Since then, the distances and type of race I have done have gradually changed to the point where I can believe that completing a day of the Dragon’s Back race is achievable.
Edward Austin (EA)
Technical Sales Executive
I have been working for Berghaus for almost a year; I am a passionate outdoor enthusiast now turned weekend warrior.
Daniel Smith (DS)
(Now ex) Berghaus Product Designer
(so maybe brand ambassador / product tester… Call me what you want now)
I was lucky enough to take part in the Berghaus relay team in the last Dragons Back race, and I’m gagging for more!
So, the Dragon’s Back Race – the world’s toughest mountain race – WHY did you put your name down!?
CL: I have a passion for running in general, but particularly on trails and fells, and I have tackled a few mountain marathons and adventure races before. I have also attended the last two Berghaus Dragon’s Back Races in a work capacity and found the events and competitors to be truly inspirational.
I don’t have the time to prepare for the full race (and even if I did, I don’t know if I’d be capable of completing it!), but tackling a leg as part of the Berghaus relay team feels like it is feasible, just about.
RS: To have the opportunity to take part in such an iconic race that so few people ever have taken part in even just for one day, is something not to be missed.
EA: The chance to run / crawl through some of the spectacular mountain landscape in Wales will be an incredible journey. I have always followed the Dragon’s Back races and the chance to be part of one is an incredible opportunity, and one not to be missed.
DS: It’s such an adventure! The scenery, being amongst the elements (we experienced most of the elements on day 5 last time) and putting yourself right over the edge of your comfort zone. It’s also an amazing opportunity to be back amongst some of the most inspiring people who aim to complete the full 5 days!
What training have you been doing in preparation for the race?
CL: Erm… next question.
RS: Preparation started long before I got confirmed onto the team. During 2016 I took part in 9 different events, triathlons, road runs and more specifically trail runs including a 30+ mile event in December. This year I have concentrated on getting the mileage back up to where I need it to be and included a couple of days in the Lake District in the mountains.
Certainly reading previous accounts of this race it will be nothing like I have done before but I enjoy trying new events and challenges.
Better not to talk about my diet, like most people it could be better, but as long as I am eating and drinking enough before, during and after I am normally ok.
EA: Lots of up-hill …lots and lots of uphill! I am lucky to live in Sheffield close to the Peak District so my training has predominantly been a mixture of running, climbing, and cycling.
DS: I’ve been loosely following a training programme I found while searching through plenty of blogs and magazines, there’s so much out there to help when you start looking!
Also not just focusing on running; I’ve found it really helps getting in plenty of hill walking too. And finally getting out to places I’m not so familiar with, which forces me in to keeping on top of my navigation skills.
And what have your learned while training
CL: That I should have done more training.
RS: That training plans or races don’t always go to plan. Don’t dwell on the problems but identify what you could have done better for next time.
EA: I need to do more!!! Maintaining a good pace is key.
DS: I’ve learned to listen to my body more… I’ve made the mistake before of just focusing completely on getting in the mileage and not resting enough, which ended in injury… this time round I’m putting in more time in to building strength and mobility.
What is going to be your key bit of kit, or let’s open this up, key thing to take with you?
CL: I tend to suffer from cramp badly during long races with lots of climbing and the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race puts two very large ticks on those particular boxes. So, I will have to do my utmost to mitigate that, through carefully planned hydration and nutrition, which is always tricky for me on long events as I can’t digest sucrose or maltose, which limits the options.
I think that this will also have an impact on my choice of pack – I have a couple of great suitable products in my personal Berghaus collection, but haven’t quite decided which one I will use yet.
RS: I don’t have any specific items other than the recommended kit. It’s not worth taking anything that is unnecessary and adds weight. I do think that having good trail shoes will be the key though.
EA: Sugar, water and of course my Berghaus Hyper 100.
DS: FOOD! Fuel is the key for me on races like these, and working out what works for you is important…for me I find when I’m running low on energy and even morale, Percy Pigs get me through!
Any motivational words you would like to tell your future self during a tough part of the race?
CL: Your arms move your legs – keep moving those arms.
RS: It’s only one day and a series of short run between checkpoints. Counting down after each checkpoint will give me motivation to know I am a little nearer to the finish.
EA: Enjoy every step, take in the stunning scenery and remember you are only doing 1 day out of 5, think how the real competitors must be feeling! Ouch!
DS: Suck it up, you’re only doing a day… these poor sods around you are doing 5 of these!