Blog, Run

Dragon’s Back 2017 – Tracking and Dragon Mail


Please donate to my cause, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Plymouth – HERE

I thought I’d give you a quick update with a couple of days to go before Dragon’s Back 2017. Read on for an update on how to track and message me during the race, as well as a bit of info about my training progress and race strategy.

richardImportant bits for race week first. You can:

The organiser will also be putting regular race updates onto Facebook here. There may also be an update or two going onto the Bike Run Swim Facebook page from my family.

Dragons Back 2017 Logo

Thanks to everyone for your support so far. I am nearing my fundraising target of £1000 thanks to a very generous donation from Chris Williams of Elite Spas and Leisure. It came at the end of a long week and it absolutely made my day. DSRT Plymouth were over the moon with it as well. I still have a little way to go though, so please do donate if you can afford to do so.

My training has gone really well, although work and the occasional bug have got in the way so it hasn’t been perfect. The support from my coach, Charles Miron of Solo Sport Systems, has been outstanding and since recruiting him last autumn I have been busting PBs all through winter at ultra distances as well as some shorter races too. One of the first things that I did, on Charles’ recommendation, was to get my lactate threshold measured. I had this done by Ben Anniss at the Marjons’ Sports Science Lab in Plymouth. My subsequent training was then strongly based around those zones. You can read about my cool day out at Marjons here.

I certainly feel that I am fit and ready enough to start Dragon’s Back. I also have more confidence than I have ever had prior to a race. With that said it is a long and complicated race, so I’ll need a bit of luck on top of all that to see me through to the finish on Friday. Whatever happens I will have given it everything that I can to get me as far as possible.

Race strategy

I have a fairly straight forward strategy in terms of food, drink and electrolytes. I will be switching things around a little during the week, with a few treats stashed in my drop bag, to keep things interesting. The level of effort should be low for most of the time, so that I can’t eat real food on occasion. Straight forward isn’t quite the same as simple, so I’ve got lots of labelled bags for the various days. This means that on the day I don’t have to think about it too much. If I simply pack what I’ve labelled then I will have the basics. I can switch things around after that depending on how I feel

With regards to pace, times and finishing positions: I couldn’t give a jot about the latter. Sticking to my plan and finishing is what matters. Where I end up overall is largely a matter of who is at the finish line on day 5. Broadly I expect to be in the front third, but I’ll settle for finishing last if that’s what a finish means.

For pace I am going out slow. The first two days are so rough and hilly that they are pretty much long walks rather than runs. On day 1 we start at 7am and if I am finished much before 6pm then I’ve gone too fast! It isn’t until day 3 that things get a bit more runnable in places, but by then I still wont be doing anything rash. I’ll have the hilliest days behind me and muscles will be sore right from the start. Day 3 is about survival, as is day 4. The final day, day 5, will be an interesting one. Everyone is going to be knackered, and seeking to get as much as they can from extremely tired bodies and minds. All being well this may be my fastest day, but possibly not as 37% of it is on rough ground with no paths!

Dragons Back GPS Tracking
Track me here.


Ah, the weather. It is looking like a very British forecast. I was hoping for some clear skies on Monday so that I could get some good views and photos on the 3000 footers, including Crib Goch! Unfortunately the Mountain Weather Forecast for Snowdonia for Monday s currently saying things like:

  • Local 40mph winds
  • Cloud: Extensive. Likely to shroud many hills
  • Little, if any, sun
  • 20% chance of cloud free summits (in my experience anything less than 70% means no cloud free summits!)

There is still time for it to change though and thankfully it looks like the weather will brighten as things go on.

With that said, I generally do pretty well in terrible weather so it doesn’t bother me too much. The weather is the same for everyone and I’ll just get on with it. It does make navigation a little more fun though!

Final words

Some of you are probably reading the above thinking “that sounds horrible,” however I am really looking forward to it. I am strong and fit. I am raising money for a good cause. And I simply love spending all day out in the hills. It’s going to be bloody hard though! See you on the other side 🙂

Please donate to my cause, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Plymouth – HERE

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