Less than three weeks remain until over 400 brave participants set off from Conwy Castle on their challenging journey down the mountainous spine of Wales for the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race.

Anticipation is building. With this race set to be the biggest in the event’s history, we take a look at some of the runners to watch.

In the women’s race, Sabrina Verjee will be back after finishing fifth woman (14th overall) in 2015 and second woman (13th overall) in a very close 2017 race. With so much previous experience of the route, she will hope to use this to her advantage and finally come out on top in 2019.

Sabrina Verjee in action on day two of the 2017 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race
© iancorless.com

Sandra Mastropietro from Germany will be taking on this race for the first time, but comes to the event with plenty of experience as a three-time finisher of the GORE-TEX Transalpine Run – a seven-stage trail race traversing the Alps from Germany to Italy, and also the 102-kilometre Zugspitz Ultratrail which takes in 5,500 metres of ascent through the German Alps.

Lowri Morgan is a Welsh television presenter, adventurer and marathon runner. Among her many adventures, she has completed the Jungle Ultra Marathon, a 140-mile event in the Brazilian Amazon, and was one of only 50 participants (out of 150 starters) to complete the course. She also successfully completed the notorious 350-mile non-stop footrace in the Canadian Artic, the 6633 Arctic Ultra.

A potential dark horse in the women’s race could be Sheffield-based Dark Peak club runner Lisa Watson. Earlier this year, she finished in fourth overall and first female team on the notorious High Peak Marathon and won the coveted Edale Skyline in March.

In the men’s race, Jim Mann is returning after having finished sixth in 2012, first in 2015 and second in 2017 following a closely fought race with eventual winner Marcus Scotney.

The start of the 2017 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race in Conwy Castle
© Guillem Casanova

Another favourite in the men’s race is newcomer Robert Barnes. In 2018, he won the Cape Wrath Ultra, the sister event to the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race also organised by Ourea Events.

There are plenty of other top runners to keep an eye out for, including Berghaus athletes Wouter Huitzing (Netherlands) and Stef Maginelle (Belgium). Huitzing is returning for his second Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race after finishing 16th overall in 2017. There is every reason to believe that he is coming back stronger and more experienced, after having secured a win in the non-stop 108-mile Spine Challenger race last year with a new course record of 25 hours, 42 minutes and 21 seconds.

Galen Reynolds won the long course at the 10Peaks race in 2018, finishing the 73-kilometre course, with 5,000-metres of ascent, through the Lake District in 11 hours and 46 minutes. He is also a two time-finisher (2017 and 2018) of the 330-kilometre Tor des Geants in the Italian Alps.

Vassos Alexander on Crib Goch on day one of the 2017 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race

Other participants to follow through the Welsh mountains include Virgin Radio presenter Vassos Alexander, who will be back for his second attempt at the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race after having dropped out on day three in 2017. An experienced road marathon and ultra-runner, Vassos has trained hard for his second attempt to claim a Dragon.

Information on how to access the live GPS tracking of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race will be released three days before the race starts on 20 May. In the meantime, follow the build-up on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and at berghausdragonsbackrace.com

Header image: 2015 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race winner Jim Mann. © iancorless.com