Tough Harrier Holloway breaks Dragon’s Back
Athlete one of few to complete 300km, five-day race
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.