History made at this year’s Montane Dragon’s Back Race

The 2022 Montane Dragon’s Back Race has concluded with success from athletes James Nobles, who became the first former volunteer to win the race, and Lisa Watson, who successfully became the first competitor to win two editions of the Dragon’s Back Race.

Taking place from September 5, 2022, the six-day race, sponsored by British outdoor clothing specialist Montane, saw athletes cover 380km of distance with 17,400m of accents across Wales, starting at Conwy castle in Northern Snowdonia before taking on Crib Goch, the Cambrian Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, finishing at Bute Park in the south.

At 6am on day one, over 260 ultra-runners from 26 different nations set off from the start line just as the sun began to rise. The atmosphere was set by the Maelgwn Male Voice Choir as competitors benefitted from clear conditions at the start of the race.

Success was found by former volunteer James Nobles and Lisa Watson, who was the 2019 first female finisher, arriving at Bute Park in with a time of 50:40:23 and 53:46:22 respectively. This win now means that Lisa has become the only person to successfully win the race multiple times.

Concluding on September 10, 2022, challenging terrain and weather conditions meant that just 102 athletes completed the race which is billed as one of the world’s toughest mountain races. In light of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, race organisers made changes to the closing event, moving locations from Cardiff Castle to Bute Park and paused all social media activity.

Upon finishing, race winner James Nobles said: “The high of the week was running over Crib Goch, it was spectacular. Starting out in the dark and seeing the sunrise over Conwy was really special. The whole thing was gritty, emotional and awe-inspiring. My top tip is strength training; it made such a difference in the ability to recover.”

Lisa Watson, the first female finisher said: “The race was epically beautiful and brutal with a lot of big views and big hills. I genuinely really loved it. The extra day made all the difference; day five was absolutely insane and doing day six was hard but lots of nice trails and they really found the best bits of the valleys”.

Montane’s Global Marketing Manager, Matthew Hickman, said: “Conditions for this year’s race were tricky, with a mix of thick cloud alongside hot and humid weather. The Montane Dragon’s Back Race is a truly inspiring feet of endurance and the athletes that take part really do push themselves and each other to achieve. Our focus at Montane is to inspire the wider outdoor community to have the confidence to take on new challenges and push to the extreme, which these athletes certainly do. We offer our congratulations to James and Lisa and look forward to seeing what they do next.

“It is important to recognise the special circumstances in which the race went ahead this year and acknowledge the efforts made by the organisers to bring the race to a conclusion in a manner that displayed sensitivity to the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and ensured the safety and wellbeing of the participants.”

The annual Montane Dragon’s Back Race takes place in September each year with a route that is inspired by that of the 1992 race. Full details of the Dragon’s Back Race can be found here:

Header image: James Nobles at the 2022 Montane Dragon’s Back Race. Credit: No Limits Photography

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