Journey to the Dragon’s Back Race 2019- Wouter Huitzing

With only 2 weeks until the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race (DBR), training and preparation is almost over as our #DragonsInTraining look to the start line! Another athlete who is looking to conquer the dragon this year is Wouter Huitzing.

Dutch Berghaus Ambassador, ultra-runner and adventure racer Wouter Huitzing has an impressive career to date. An FKT record holder in Pierterpad 498km and 3 times Dutch Champion AR, Wouter has his eyes set firmly on a second time chase of the Dragon.

We caught up with him during training and looked to find out where Wouter is pitching himself for the 2019 race.

What made you enter the DBR 2019?

The race appealed to me for many years. I was really intrigued by The Dragons Back Race claim as “The world’s toughest 5-day mountain running race”. So, I entered in 2017 and it was such an amazing week of Welsh mountain running, scenery and companionship. I only have great memories from the event and couldn’t refuse another chance to come back again in 2019!

Have you taken part in the race before?

Yes, I have done this race in 2017. For me it’s unique in the fact that you run 5 separate days. After finishing a day, you get to hang out with all these amazing athletes. The only thing you need to do is eat and relax (and when possible wash!). The atmosphere at the race HQ is really great.

When did you start training and how is it going?

I am always training!  In November, I completed the Adventure Racing World Championship with my team in 15th place. After that I had some weeks off and went back to ultra-running ready for the Spine Challenger in January where I took 2nd place. Some weeks of rest again and training for a Guinness Book of Records Fastest Known Time attempt, running the Netherlands from North to South (500km) over Easter. I have set a new record of 4 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 10 seconds. Now it’s rest again. The DBR is in 3 weeks and I expect to be strong again by then!

Wouter Huitzing, Dragon's Back Race, Race, Mountain Race, Mountain Runner, Runner

Wouter Huitzing in training for this year’s Dragon’s Back Race.

Have you set yourself any goals during the race?

In 2017, the goal was to finish the DBR and do my best. I finally finished in 16th position and felt that I could have done a bit better. So, this year, although I have just finished my 500km FKT, I would like to see if I can improve on my 2017 result and maybe get into the top 10!

Do you have a piece of kit that you wouldn’t race without?

I have some great Berghaus jackets. Depending on the weather forecast I will decide which one to bring. The Berghaus Hyper 100 jacket is great for good weather conditions. It’s very lightweight and easily packs away. If I get cold, or there is unexpected rain I am happy to have this jacket with me. And with only 100grams, it’s a great reassurance. But if the weather is bad, I will bring the GR20 Storm jacket. It weighs a bit more, but offers much more protection. A great jacket to move and run in. Definitely an essential piece of my wardrobe.

What motivates you during this type of race?

The beautiful landscape! We have nothing like this at home in the Netherlands. The views and seeing what’s behind the next hill will motivate me a lot, and of course the chips at camp!

Would you say you have any barriers to overcome?

My feet where quite destroyed during my 500km FKT attempt. They are healing well but will have soft new skin at the DBR. I hope they will be okay, otherwise it’s going to be a long, long 315km!

During the race (20-25 May 2019), Berghaus will be providing live updates of the race, so make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram to check in and see how Wouter progresses throughout the race.

Wouter Huitzing, Dragon's Back Race 2019, Mountain Runner, Fell Runner, Running

Wouter during the Spine Challenger 2018