In this blog we’ll talk to the Berghaus staff members who have been brave enough to put their hand up and tackle the Dragons Back Race in June.
Why do you want to be involved in the Dragons Back Race?
Dan Geraghty (Assistant Store Manager):
I wanted to be involved in the event as it is such an iconic race and despite having been held only twice before, the race has developed a cult status among fell/trail/ultra runners and is a HUGE challenge for all those that enter. The concept is incredible. Running the length of Wales, taking in some of the most beautiful terrain and views in the UK while being surrounded (until the group thins out of course!) by a friendly, committed group of likeminded adventurers.
Luke O’Connor (Field Sales Manager):
Because I am a bit soft in the head..!? I like a big challenge and big adventure – opportunities like this don’t come along very often, especially not for a mere a mortal like me! Even just being involved in one day of it, and on a wider team with the likes of Rob and Steve, will be the biggest physical and mental challenge I have ever completed.
Steve Birkinshaw (Berghaus Athlete and Winner of the last Dragons Back Race in 2012):
It is an amazing route over a beautiful part of the world.
Ivan Muckle (Technical Support Representative):
The Dragons Back is a truly epic event covering some of the most beautiful landscape in the country, if not the world. I may not be up to doing the event as a whole (maybe something for future) but to do a leg and be part of the Dragons Back in any capacity will be a truly rewarding experience I’m sure.
Angela Foster (Extrem Marketing Executive):
It’s an iconic race that I have heard so much about and just to be involved by attempting to achieve one day will be a big enough goal for me.
Rob Jarman (Berghaus Athlete):
The Dragons back to me seems like a proper adventure. To run the end to end of Wales solo is a bit too much of a challenge for me at the moment, but to be part of a team is a great way of experiencing one of the hardest running races on the planet.
What motivational message would you send to yourself on the race when you’re at a low point?
During difficult races and challenges I tend to just remind myself to keep taking one more step, forward progress at all times and to remind myself that I have done harder things in the past (although that may not be true in this case..). One thing I find works is to adjust to your ‘new reality’, which is come to terms with the fact that your day (or days) is all about making it from A to B and how you feel, good or bad, is just a part of your new reality.
It’s just time, distance and pain.
Keep going one step at a time and enjoy the views.
Your part of an amazing team with some fantastic athlete’s, you don’t want to let them down so suck it up and keep going.
Just keep on going one step at a time, the faster you go the faster you are finished!
Think of Steve Birkinshaw doing the Wainwrights. That always gives me a reality check when I’m feeling tired.
What training have you been doing in preparation for the race?
Running, lots of running. Living in Sheffield I have the Peak District on my doorstep and regularly train in the Peak be it races, long days or just hill reps of my favourite steep hills. I feel it is important to cross train too so I continue to rock climb as it is the other sporting passion in my life. That said, on this build up to the Dragons Back Race, I always feel a pang of guilt when climbing and I see runners pass underneath the crags.
Not enough! Standard running (5K Park Run, 10K Events, a half marathon and heading out with Harrogate Harriers – my local running club), hill days, an 1,800m Alp effort plus I want to do a “fast” Yorkshire Three Peaks PB as race prep too. Also not wanting to overdo it on my knees; indoor climbing, circuits, hiking and Mountain Biking plus a few “obstacle” races to try put less impact through them. It’s tough getting into a routine with my job, but I am even considering cancelling my Sky subscription and getting a gym membership so I can get some swimming in too! One of my team is in Scottish Mountain Rescue so I’ll be tapping him up for a Nav Skills day around Aviemore and then asking Rob, Steve and Race Director Shane Ohly for their top tips!
Lot of long runs on the Lake District fells.
Sporadic runs and hikes, made all the more difficult by throwing in a house move to a different part of the country and a new job role. The next 2 months are key, because that’s all the time I’ve got left!
I have been doing some marathons over the winter/Spring but unfortunately I have now got Achilles Tendinitis, I am hoping that I will recover in time and so just to complete it would now be top of my list!
I’ve done a couple of trail marathons, The 3 peaks, The Hardmoors 55 and I aim to complete the Hardmoors 110 in May. So I should be pretty much hammered by the time I start the Dragons back. (I’m not very good at training properly)
What is the one most important thing you will take with you?
I don’t really have a lucky piece of kit or anything so I will just pack according to the weather and what I fancy to eat/drink during the days racing. I don’t like running with music as I prefer to take in my surroundings and draw my distractions from the views and my thoughts. During the evening, comfortable lounging clothing and a book I think.
My overwhelming sense of self-belief that writes cheques my body cannot cash…that and my HyperTherm Race Smock. Whatever the conditions I know it will get used at various points, such a versatile piece of kit and that extra warmth will help with staying motivated at the higher altitudes later in the day when the pace and temperatures drop.
The Berghaus Hyper smock. It is so lightweight but it will keep me dry and warm if the weather turns bad.
Apart from the obvious like my trail shoes, I’ve always found them handy for these type of things. I think a “can do” attitude is key!
My iPod, after the 20 mile mark I’ll really need my music to motivate me which also comes with a camera, I can’t go anywhere without taking photos.
VapourLight Hypertherm for one it gets a bit chilly on the tops. It’s always in my bag or on my back.
The 2015 Dragons Back Race takes place from Monday 22nd June to Friday 26th June 2015. To find out more information about the event, click here.