2023 Montane Dragon’s Back Race – day two review

It was another hot day in the mountains of Wales for day two of the 2023 Montane Dragon’s Back Race.

More than a third of the participants were timed out or retired from the full race on day one, and 276 runners started out after the overnight camp – 183 in the full race and 93 on the shorter Hatchling course (choosing to run the section before or after the support point on the day).

With temperatures forecast to be even higher than on Monday, organisers introduced a ‘timeout’ option at the support point at Cwm Bychan, allowing runners to rest for up to 30 minutes without that being added to their overall time. Effectively, this meant that the final cut-off time for the day was extended to 10:30pm. An extra water point was also added to the second half of the day’s route.

Once again, the heat and terrain led to participants being timed out or retiring from both the full race and the Hatchling. However, athletes welcomed the extra rest time at the support point and a strong breeze mitigated some of the effects of the heat. During the day, another 36 failed to complete the full course, leaving 147who remain competitive in the race.

Hugh Chatfield extended his lead at the front of the race, with another strong run in 8:03:02 and an overall time of 15:52:31. Hugh is now almost an hour ahead of Jakub Wolski (8:21:21 and 16:51:37), with Jon Shield hanging on to third place, but losing significant time on the day (9:52:49 and 18:24:54).

The third fastest runner on the day was Robyn Cassidy in fourth overall (9:29:42 and 18:30:32), who is leading the women’s race and hot on the heels of Jon. Second woman is Victoria Thompson (9:49:41 and 19:40:17), with Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros in third (10:10:53 and 20:15:06). There are now four women in the overall top ten. The USA’s Alyssa Clark ran with Robyn during the final few kilometres and is in ninth place in the standings.

At the start of the day, Hugh commented: “I’m nervous actually – tough competition in tough conditions. I have a nice buffer but anything can happen when you run six ultras back to back. I know the Rhinogydd in hailstorms and gales, not this weather!”

After he finished, he added: “That was a tough, tough day, though not as hot with the wind. The half an hour rest was great fun. I had a good sit down and a good natter.

“I think it’s slightly easier tomorrow, with not as much climbing. The ground is easier and the last section is rolling. I’m feeling good about it.”

After she finished, Robyn commented: “I’ve never seen the view from the top of Cnicht. It is so pretty! That was so hot – I’m pleased with it.

“Obviously there were highs and lows, but no really bad moments. It was blowy – the first Moelwyn was properly windy, but that was so welcome because it cooled us down.”

The public can follow the progress of the race thanks to live tracking via, and the Dragon’s Back Race team will be posting regular updates on social media throughout the event: Twitter – follow @DragonsBackRace; Instagram – follow @DragonsBackRace; Facebook – DragonsBackRace.

Header image: Ousmane Diop on Cnicht on day two of the 2023 Montane Dragon’s Back Race. Credit: Montane Dragon’s Back Race® | No Limits Photography

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