The 2023 Dragon’s Back Race is underway and in this blog we will be keeping you updated on the race and how the SCARPA team get on.
We have four SCARPA athlete’s competing in this year’s race – SCARPA UK athletes Jon Shield, Dougie Zinis and Carmine de Grandis and International athlete Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros.
We caught up with the team at registration to see how they were feeling pre-race.
Track the SCARPA Team at the 2023 Dragon’s Back Race Prepare to become an obsessive dot watcher! You can keep track of our athletes and everyone competing at the 2023 Dragon’s Back Race through the live tracking:
SCARPA Team Tracking Numbers
75 – Carmine de Grandis
272 – Jon Shield
297 – Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros
330 – Dougie Zinis
Music in the Mountains
SCARPA Athlete Carmine de Grandis is running the hatchling course whilst carrying his accordion. He is playing on the tops of each mountain and carry they heavy instrument as he goes.
2023 Dragon’s Back Race – Day One
Conwy Castle to Nant Gwynant
49km (30.5 miles) | 3800m (12,467ft)
At 6am the runners set off from Conwy Castle on the first leg of this epic race. On what turned out to be a hot and exhausting day – day one is a short day in terms of distance, but a tough day of climbing including tackling Crib Goch.
With the heat and tough conditions over a third of the 298 starters were either timed out or retired – showing just how hard this race is!
It was a strong first day for the SCARPA Team with Jon Shield and Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros both spending most of the day near the front of their respected fields.
Jon Shield finished day one in third with a time of 08:32:05 and only a couple of minutes behind second place.
Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros ended the day in third, after taking a tumble after 2km, Silvia did well to keep up the pace and finish around an hour behind leader Robyn Cassidy.
Dougie Zinis also ran a great race on day one finishing in 11:32:37. Carmine de Grandis who is running the Hatchling Course which is around half the full Dragon finished the day in a time of 07:04:27.
You can read the full day one race report here: Day One Race Report
2023 Dragon’s Back Race – Day Two
Nant Gwynant to Dolgellau
59km (36.5 miles) | 3400m (11,155ft)
Day two was another tough day (aren’t they all) with scorching temperatures continuing and more unforgiving terrain.
The route left the more popular and touristy areas of Eryri and headed into the lesser known, but arguably more rugged and spectacular Southern Eryri.
Highlights along the route included the ‘Welsh Matterhorn’ – Cnicht and the rough rocky terrain of the Rhinogydd as expertly navigated by Silvia in the clip below.
Jon Shield and Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros both kept their places in the top three in their respected classes, finishing day two in a time of 18:24:54 (Jon) and 20:15:06 (Silvia).
Jon had a tough day slipping further behind the top two runners, but still pushing hard and is still very much in the Race.
Silvia ran really well in the conditions and is in the overall top ten runners (both male and female) – she was also the first female to cross the line on day two.
Dougie Zinis is still running strong on the full course whilst Carmine de Grandis also completed the Hatchling course with his accordion in toe.
You can read the full day two race report here: Day Two Race Report.
2023 Dragon’s Back Race – Day Three
Dolgellau to Ceredigion
70km (43.5 miles) | 3400m (11,155ft)
A running theme for this year’s Dragon’s Back is the weather – unseasonably hot weather is making the UK’s Toughest race that much tougher!
Today was the longest day yet for our participants, as those on the full course had to tackle an enormous distance of 70km through Mid Wales.
The first obstacle of the day was the iconic Cadair Idris, the second most popular mountain in Wales behind Yr Wyddfa. Runners then headed into the sweeping Cambrian Mountains. The terrain was more runnable today, though it still presented plenty of challenging climbs.
Unfortunately the race (and the heat) took out two members of our team today with both Jon Shield and Dougie Zinis retiring on day three.
The hot weather is taking its toll on a lot of athletes running this year with the weather feeling more like Spain than Wales – which might be why Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros is still running strong. She slipped out of the top three runners – being overtaken by Alyssa Clark on day three. However she still has lots more to give over the second half of the race.
On the Hatchling course Carmine de Grandis again completed the day in tough conditions whilst carrying and playing his accordion.
You can read the full day three race report here: Day Three Race Report
2023 Dragon’s Back Race – Day Four
Through the Elan Valley
69km (43 miles) | 2300m (7,546ft)
After three days of unseasonal September heat – day four provided a welcome change in the weather with plenty of cloud cover cooling things down.
The course was also a little more forgiving with less elevation and forests and valleys to discover. Day four saw the 103 remaining dragon’s crossing the Elan Valley including SCARPA’s Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros.
Silvia is still sitting in fourth at the end of day four and is still in touching distance of the top 3 women. With some tough running to go on the final two days – we are excited to see if she can gain some time and reach that podium.
Over on the shorted Hatchling course our Accordion playing Italian athlete – Carmine de Grandis is still running strong and entertaining his fellow runners as he goes!
You can read the full day four race report here: Day Four Race Report
2023 Dragon’s Back Race Day Five
Into the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons)
70km (43.5 miles) | 3200m (10,499ft)
The penultimate day of the 2023 saw 99 Dragons head out to tackle the Bannau Brycheiniog – and a return to steep climbs after two flatter (but defiantly not flat) days!
The weather was again very hot – with Athletes choosing to cool down in the Usk Reservoir.
Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros has been running very well all week – especially as the mountains and hills of Wales are very new to the Spanish Runner. Starting the day in fourth – she has climbed up a place into third after second placed runner Victoria Thompson unfortunately had to drop out at the Water Point.
You can read the full day five race report here: Day Five Race Report
2023 Dragon’s Back Race Day Six
To Cardiff Castle
63km (39 miles) | 1300m (4,265ft)
The final day of the Dragon’s Back race sees the Dragon’s leaving the Brecon Beacons National Park and diving into the South Wales Valleys before finishing in the amazing surroundings of Cardiff Castle.
Technically some of the easiest and flattest running of the whole week – but after 6 days of running in sweltering conditions nothing is easy.
SCARPA Athlete Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros kept up the pace and finished in third in the women’s field behind winner (and 3rd overall) Robyn Cassidy and Alyssa Clark.
You can read the full day six race report here: Day Six Race Report
The SCARPA team are putting the SCARPA trail running range to the test on the Dragon’s Back race.
Want to check out what they are running in?
Take a look at the SCARPA Trail Running Range: