Thursday, September 7, 2023

The toughest mountain race in the world


That would be the Dragon's Back Race down the length of Wales in the United Kingdom.  This year's event kicked off at Conwy Castle in north Wales on Monday, and ends at Cardiff Castle on Saturday.  The event covers 236 miles, and participants who complete the course will climb a total of 57,087 feet - almost twice the height of Mount Everest - and descend it again, over six days.  It's enough to make your legs cramp just thinking about it!

As a book about fell running describes it:

You need to imagine yourself there, standing in the rain at Conwy Castle on the north coast and contemplating the coming ordeal. Somewhere to the south of you should be Conwy Mountain and the Carneddau, but all you can see are wet foothills and low cloud. You are cold already, but you know that this is as nothing to the chill you will feel on the high ground. You are about to spend the best part of a week on that high ground, immersed in cloud, with most of the waking hours devoted to climbing and descending as fast as your body will allow, while knowing all the time that if you stop concentrating on your map and compass for a moment you will be lost. Does your heart sink? If not, think about it again until it does.

Here's a short clip about the 2019 race to set the scene.

There's more information, and more videos, at the race Web site.  You can watch a BBC news report about the start of this year's race at this link.  I also recommend this longer video about the inaugural race in 1992.  You'll find much more material on YouTube if you look for it.

Just looking at the video clips makes me feel tired all over.  I was never that fit or that motivated, and at my present stage (age?) of decrepitude, I reckon I'd keel over with my third heart attack less than an hour into the course!



Tree Mike said...

Wow, I'm in awe.

Old NFO said...

Ouch... that hurts to watch!