Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race – Day Three Review

Start – Vanner Farm Campsite
Finish – Fagwyr Fawr Farm
Distance covered – 71km
Height climbed – 3,500m
Key features – Cadair Idris and Pumlumon Fawr
Number of runners still in the full race after day three – 138

On day three of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race, the cumulative effect of hard days of mountain running was very evident. The medical tent had been busy on Tuesday evening and there were more retirements overnight.

At least one runner still found time to enjoy himself on day three of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race – photo

The pre-race advice was that, statistically, those who finish day three stand a good chance of completing the full distance, so for many this was regarded as the crux day. However, it was a long one, 71km, with almost as much ascent as day two, and that was a daunting prospect with heavy legs and aching limbs.

Jim Mann works hard to make up lost time on day three of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race – photo ©

There were major developments at the front of the men’s race, which began when leader Jim Mann made a navigational error after reaching the summit of Cadair Idris. Mann took the wrong ridge line down from the checkpoint and didn’t realise for a long time. He only started to correct after losing a lot of height, and then wandered off track again.

Marcus Scotney ran a strong race on day three of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race – photo ©

Meanwhile, Marcus Scotney enjoyed another excellent day. He had always known that the last half of the race would suit his running style better and after he’d finished in a time of 7.54.33 today, he said, “It was nice to get off the rocks and be able to run some more today.”

Scotney passed Chris Lines of the Berghaus relay team on the climb up to checkpoint 5 on Tarren y Gesail. Lines comments: “Marcus looked very strong and comfortable, in sharp contrast to me I should add!”

The end result was that Mann (who finished in 9.30.43), and had set off with a lead of 70 minutes, is now 26 minutes behind Scotney. To retain his title, he will have to chase down Scotney over the last two days.

It’s a tall order as Scotney always planned to conserve energy on the earlier days, and try to finish more strongly. Neil Talbott was third today and stayed third overall, 33 minutes ahead of Jez Bragg.

Sabrina Verjee in action on day three of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race – photo ©

In the women’s race Sabrina Verjee was first to finish in 14th overall, but she was distressed in the heat. “I had asthma all day,” she said. “I felt like someone was strangling me but my good friend Jonathan ran with me and helped me through, making me eat and drink at the right time.”

Sabrina Verjee went straight off to medical tent for attention, but was soon recovered and said, “I was just being silly and not looking after myself like I should. I’ll be fine tomorrow when I take my medication.”

Carol Morgan on day three of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race – photo ©

Caroline McIlroy and Carol Morgan are having a great race with each other and are second and third, just 89 seconds apart.

It was a day of two halves in terms of the weather.

For much of the first half of the day, dense cloud settled over the mountains, but it was still mild and humid. As the afternoon wore on, the sun took over and runners had to deal with very warm conditions.

Jez Bragg climbs on day three of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race – photo ©

The forecast for the next two days is even hotter, something else for the remaining racers to contend with as they continue on their way. Tomorrow is another 71km, though with less climbing.

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