Tough Har­rier Hol­loway breaks Dragon’s Back

Ath­lete one of few to com­plete 300km, five-day race

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­

CHILTERN Har­rier Cath Hol­loway has com­pleted the leg­endary Dragon’s Back Race, which fol­lows the moun­tain­ous spine of Wales from Conwy Castle to Car­reg Cen­nen Castle.

The in­cred­i­ble five-day jour­ney is ap­prox­i­mately 300km long, with 16,000m of as­cent across wild, re­mote and moun­tain­ous ter­rain.

Run­ners have to nav­i­gate the whole route them­selves and carry sup­plies and kit, and Hol­loway has been train­ing for two years in the Chilterns, Wales, the Lake Dis­trict and the Alps.

It cer­tainly paid off too as the Amer­sham teacher was one of only 60 com­peti­tors to com­plete the event from a start­ing field of 130 run­ners, rep­re­sent­ing 16 coun­tries from four con­ti­nents.

The event is by in­vi­ta­tion only, with com­peti­tors go­ing through a strict vet­ting process, such are the de­mands of the race, and it has only taken place twice pre­vi­ously.

In 1992, only 39 fin­ished, and in 2015 only 28 made it to the fin­ish line, so very few peo­ple in the world own one of the cov­eted pewter dragons.

Hol­loway came 45th over­all (eighth fe­male), beat­ing a num­ber of pro­fes­sion­ally spon­sored ath­letes and, in the process, she raised al­most £1,000 for the

TOUGH RACE: Cath Hol­loway in ac­tion dur­ing the Dragon’s Back Race char­ity EduHaitian. There was also an im­pres­sive en­durance per­for­mance from fel­low Har­rier Ali Young, who took on the solo chal­lenge at the En­dure 24, which saw solo run­ners, pairs, and teams of up to eight rack up as many laps of a five-mile loop as they could within 24 hours.

De­spite find­ing it tough, Young man­aged to re­tain­ing her ti­tle in the event, run­ning 23 laps (115 miles) in an hour quicker than last year.

The Har­ri­ers mixed team of Trevor Lee Poole, Paul Mai­ley, Kirstie El­liott, El­lie Bates, Pip Harris, Dave How­ells, Neil Brown and Tom Pow­ell also put in con­sis­tent lap times to fin­ish sixth in their cat­e­gory (out of 169 teams) and 12th over­all, man­ag­ing a to­tal of 38 laps (190 miles).

Pow­ell and Harris also took part in the hilly Chel­tenham Chal­lenge, Pow­ell fin­ish­ing the half marathon in 1hr 50mins and Harris com­plet­ing the 10k in 55 min­utes, while Ed­die O’Gor­man fin­ished third over­all at the Penn Seven in 42.32m.

Andy Wiseall was first Har­rier home at the CPM Thame 10k, earn­ing him­self a new per­sonal best of 38.37, while Kings­ley Nanton was just be­hind with a sea­son’s best of 39.00, hav­ing also posted a speedy 30.36 in the Ick­en­ham Five Mile Race.

Ash Holmes fin­ished ninth over­all with a nice sub-40 time of 39.14 at the Ra­dio Run 10k, with Laura Hay­ers and Nat Baker both third in their age cat­e­gories in 48.12 and 49.25, while Alis­tair Melville-Smith came fourth in the 15k at the Chiltern Chase in 59.34.

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