Mountain running company Ourea Events has introduced new ways to participate in two of the world’s most iconic multi-day ultra races.
Runners can now choose to take on shorter courses at both the Cape Wrath Ultra (21-28 May) and Montane Dragon’s Back Race (4-9 September). The shortened options are designed to make the races more inclusive, for those who want to experience the journeys through the spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands or Wales, but don’t feel able to complete the full distance, or want to build up to that in a future year. Entries have opened for each event.
The Cape Wrath Explorer has been pitched as a ‘choose-your-own adventure’ in which participants can decide to tackle part of the route each day, typically either the first half or the second half. Race organisers have built in flexibility so that runners can mix and match which half they attempt on any given day. Each participant will still benefit from the full race infrastructure and experience, including the overnight camps and the finishing line at Cape Wrath Lighthouse. An Explorer memento awaits everyone who completes the race. The full Cape Wrath Ultra is an eight-day, 400km running adventure through the Scottish Highlands, leading to the north-westerly point of the British Isles. Participants travel through some of Scotland’s most spectacular landscapes, including Knoydart, Kintail, Torridon, Assynt and Sutherland.
The Montane Dragon’s Back Race Hatchling offers a similar option to the Cape Wrath Ultra Explorer. Participants will take part in the first or second half of each day during the journey south along the mountainous spine of Wales, starting in Conwy Castle and with a finale at Cardiff Castle six days later. Completing the race will earn each runner a special Hatchling memento. The Montane Dragon’s Back Race is widely regarded as the world’s toughest multi-day mountain running event. The full course presents the challenge of 380km and 17,400m of ascent, with an exhilarating route that includes iconic peaks such as Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), Tryfan, the Glyders, Cnicht, the Rhinogs, Cadair Idris, and Pen y Fan.
Shane Ohly, of Ourea Events, said: “This is a really exciting development for Ourea Events. We know that the running public’s interest in ultras is greater than ever and we’re now able to offer options that are that bit more inclusive and feasible for a lot of aspiring participants. The Cape Wrath Ultra Explorer and Montane Dragon’s Back Race Hatchling are both serious and significant undertakings in their own rights, so those mementoes will be well earned. At the same time, I hope that they will entice a few more people to test themselves with a multi-day ultra, and perhaps even use the events as stepping stones towards attempting the full distance races in years to come.”
Ourea Events does not use any signs or waymarking to mark the event routes and participants are required to use a combination of traditional navigational skills with a map and compass, supplemented by modern GPS technology. The event team will set up a campsite and catering each night, removing everything the following morning as they move along the route. This approach is part of the company’s commitment to reducing the impact of its activities on the environment. Ourea Events has a wide-ranging programme to address sustainability issues, with an open and transparent approach to showcasing that work at www.oureaevents.com/sustainability.
Every year, Ourea Events recruits volunteers to a wide range of roles and by contributing in that way, they can earn credits to take part in future races. James Nobles, who won the 2022 Montane Dragon’s Back Race, had previously been a volunteer at the event. This model makes the races accessible for more people and full details of the volunteer scheme can be found at www.oureaevents.com/volunteering-opportunities. The company is also taking other actions to broaden the diversity of participants and volunteers at the races that it organises. Find more details of that work at www.oureaevents.com/equality-diversity-and-inclusion-policy.
Full details of the Cape Wrath Ultra and Explorer can be found at www.capewrathultra.com. Full details of the Montane Dragon’s Back Race and Hatchling can be found at www.dragonsbackrace.com. The website also hosts a feature that debunks a few of the myths surrounding the race, written to encourage more runners to embrace the challenge of tackling an iconic ultra – Debunking the myths of the Dragon’s Back Race® — Montane Dragon’s Back Race® (dragonsbackrace.com). Keep an eye on www.oureaevents.com for all of the news from the Ourea Events team.
Header image: Lisa Watson on Crib Goch at the 2022 Montane Dragons Back Race. Credit: No Limits Photography