It now ranks highly in the bucket list of running events across the globe and deservedly so: the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race, which traverses the mountainous spine of Wales, is one of the most gruelling, yet rewarding, challenges out there. The field for 2017 has been confirmed by organisers and, with the event’s tagline of the 'toughest mountain running race in the world', is drawn from far and wide – 23 different nationalities will commence the five-day race on 22 May.
The original event was held in September 1992 and entered running folklore for its extreme difficultly. This incredible race is approximately 300 kilometres long with 17,000 metres of ascent across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain. Competitors can expect to be running for a minimum of 9 hours each day.
After a 20-year absence, it was revived in 2012 when Shane Ohly of Ourea Events, with sponsorship from Berghaus, relaunched the race. In 2012, the event lived up to its reputation, with only 32 of 100 starters completing the course.
The 2015 staging, similarly, attracted a field of international runners: of the 140 who signed up, only 64 competitors completed every stage. Despite this, entries for 2017 sold out within two weeks – underlining the broad appeal of tackling such a fierce course.
The 270 competitors, including Radio 2's Vassos Alexander, can expect a route largely unchanged from 2015 and one that will feature one of the most gruelling openings of any multi-stage race, with participants tackling all but three of the 14 Welsh 3000s. The second day will see runners uncover some of the roughest and most arduous terrain in the UK, the Rhinogs.
You can view a full breakdown of the five-day course here.