/ Dragons Back 2018
Race entries opened today for the May 2018 event, appears they had 200 sign up in the first hour - if anyone is thinking about it, maybe worth getting your name in there?
I've marshalled on the last 3, do I go for 4!
> Race entries opened today for the May 2018 event,
Doh!!!! I'm probably still signing my cheques 2017.
It's sorely tempting but I'mstruggling to fathom out the effects of an enforced change to a vegetarian diet on an event where you need to hit peak performance
It's a huge entry fee to have to stump up under those circumstances.
> It's sorely tempting but I'mstruggling to fathom out the effects of an enforced change to a vegetarian diet on an event where you need to hit peak performance
Will it make any difference? There are plenty of veggie athletes out there operating at a high level.
> Will it make any difference? There are plenty of veggie athletes out there operating at a high level.
I honestly dont know, whilst I appreciate that there are plenty of veggie athletes it seems a bit silly to expect to make a fairly major dietary change during the longest endurance events that you have ever attempted. The switch to catered food could be challenge enough without the extra challenge of cutting out a major component of your regular diet.
I have had periods when I have eaten more veggie food whilst on trips with vegetarians but they have not been anywhere near as strenuous.
I'm torn, it looks like a great event over a fantastic route but to pay a £900 entry fee and they can't even be bothered to cook a few pork sausages alongside the veggie ones or to buy some diced beef to offer a non-veggie curry option seems exceedingly shoddy.
Is it shoddy or is it an ethical choice? If it's an ethical choice I would say no one has any grounds for complaint, you wouldn't go into a veggie restaurant and complain about the lack of meat.
You provide your own hill food anyway so nothing to stop you taking your own meat.
What if you normally eat, say, chicken and fish; wouldn't pork sausages be just as unfair on you?
Or what if you'd somehow managed to convince yourself that eating red meat was the only way you could perform in any sport to your potential; should they provide beef options too?
If you're convinced that eating pork sausages will be essential for you, then either don't enter or find a way to take your own. But I suspect any difference would be almost entirely psychological. In any case, you could always prepare in advance by having veggie weeks that coincided with some of your heaviest periods of training. You never know - you might even run better ;)
A couple of comments Tim regarding the veggie food (I am not veggie, but as a helper I always have a tin of spam available!).
Firstly there are the logistics of carrying fresh meat about in potentially sweltering heat, it is just asking for food poisoning of some sort. Everything is catered on site and shifted to another site daily, much as many of the helpers and runners would kill for a bacon sarnie each morning we can see the sense in not having meat on site. Purchasing fresh meat for near 300 people daily in mid Wales isn't a goer either. The veggie option makes sense, however much we want meat.
Many of the runners do manage the change in diet, but many are longing for a bit of meat after a couple of days some carry peperami or similar, purchase meat pies in machynlleth. Day 4 campsite is in my village next to my local pub, they put on basket bar meals for the night - this proved very popular with runners who stacked up on burgers, chicken, sausages + beer.
Just do what anyone with special dietary requirements does; make your own arrangements to get the food you need / want.
I'd suggest that expecting a large number of people that you're tasked with the job of catering for to follow your own ethical choices is a bit shoddy.
I'd say from past experience that the effects of switching to a veggie diet are more then "psychological". The effects usually consist of a couple of days of being " stopped up" before things get more urgent ;)
I would wholly agree with the "take your own" option if it wasn't for the fact that the rules make it somewhat difficult. If a veggie can enjoy onsite catering at overnight stops I can't see why having a family member hand you a meal as you arrive would be defined as an unfair advantage.
I'm looking at that possibility, the rules aren't exactly written in a way that makes it easy.
When the organisers state that the overnight catering will provide adequate nutrition it seems bizarre that they believe that having a supporter drop food for you would provide you with an unfair advantage.
> I'd suggest that expecting a large number of people that you're tasked with the job of catering for to follow your own ethical choices is a bit shoddy.
Don't worry, you'll be able to survive for days on the chips you have on your shoulder about this.
I'd suggest that if this is a big problem for you, you don't enter, just as I would suggest that someone who is keen to have a steak doesn't entre a vegetarian restaurant.
I'm still not sure if it is an ethical decision or as Moley (above) outlines a sensible organisational one.
I know the pub next to the day 4 camp well ;)
But I'm by no means confident that I'll be moving fast enough to get there before they close
If as you suggest it's a food hygiene issue I think would have some serious concerns about the suitability of the caterers.
You're welcome to dine on those chips that you have mistakenly identified ;)
I'm looking for solutions rather than criticisms, it's easy to say that top athletes do well on a veggie diet but that doesn't mean that we all have the desire to make a fairly major change to our diets or the confidence to gamble a substantial entry fee on our ability to adapt when our bodies are already under stress.
If I can see the answers I'll enter, if not a solo supported journey could be an appealing option even if it isn't quite the same experience.
> I'd suggest that if this is a big problem for you, you don't enter, just as I would suggest that someone who is keen to have a steak doesn't entre a vegetarian restaurant.
It may come to that but it seems a shame seeing as this is a race rather than a casual meal out.
> I'm still not sure if it is an ethical decision or as Moley (above) outlines a sensible organisational one.
If it is an ethical decision I'm surprised that its not highlighted as such. If it's organisational it seems a little bizarre as based on experience of catering for groups on greenfield sites it shouldn't be that hard.
The catering isn't quite as simple as a Greenfield site, the site moves every day and relies on generators for electric - once the generators have also been packed away, transported and relocated - it's hard to appreciate the logistics unless you have seen it all in action. Obviously they hire refrigerated vans but it would be an unnecessary risk if fresh meats were involved. The catering staff are on the go from 4am preparing till about midnight clearing up, under these pressures it would be easy to make a mistake with a few bits of chicken!
With regards the ethical stance, to my knowledge the organisers were vegan, but the catering has always been vegetarian, not quite the same.
I will add that as a meat eater myself along with many other Marshall's, we are frequently to be spotted diving into a cafe for a meat pie or sandwich! So I do 100% understand your concerns, but runners seem to manage although some definitely gain a craving.
I seem to recall one of the foreign runners on the 4th evening last time consumed 3 pub dinners all with meat! Also recall Wendy Dodds finishing and saying something like "Thank god i can have some meat now".
In the end of each day you will be so bollocking tired you will eat anything and you can always carry some tins of meatballs, chicken curry, peperami, spam, corned beef etc and chuck it on your rice cold.
Certainly is; 900 quid!! What’s the rate of inflation on entry to these mountain marathons?
> In the end of each day you will be so bollocking tired you will eat anything and you can always carry some tins of meatballs, chicken curry, peperami, spam, corned beef etc and chuck it on your rice cold.
Thank you that is the bleeding obvious answer that I knew I must be missing. WTH didn't I think of canned meatballs or even canned beef stew whilst I was racking my brains for something that could easily be packed in the regulation bags ;)
If I can ask another question, I'm also considering the possibility of volunteering next year to gain some beta and earn some credit to help pay for an entry in '21. Do you know when volunteer applications open?
Ah but how many mountain marathons can match the route ;)
Its certainly a good challenging route, cheaper entry and not veggie ;)
But I think the Dragons Back somehow just has the edge in my mind.
Unless you're talking about the winter Spine ;)
900 quid.... bloody hell, are they having a laugh? When I entered the first one (1992) the entry fee was a tenner, which even at the prices of the time was amazingly good value, but 900 quid??? The overnight camp logistics and the catering, which was superb, were provided by the boys of the Parachute Regiment, who were brilliant. There was none of this veggie nonsense either... you could eat veggie if you wanted to, but there was as much meat as you could eat... and we ate quite a lot!
You probably need to get in touch about volunteering asap. There are usually more applications for volunteers than runners and bear in mind it is a full week away from home. Very hard work but good fun with a good team and you will learn a lot about it.
The fee makes it a f*cking joke. Any chance of ignoring these commercialised wankfests and just organising a casual race?
I'll race you? Let's put £40 on it.
Last one to the castle is a boiled egg!
Honestly, I get it's expensive but I do think the cost makes sense when you consider the huge costs involved of setting up, running an event of this scale.
Infact, compared to a Glastonbury ticket it seems like incredible value.
Nobody is making you do it, go ahead and organise your own run it is allowed you know, without having to slag off others.
In 2007 a group of 5 of us from wales did exactly that with our own version of the route, hired a van and some friends did backup for us over 5 days running. You will find the write up in a Fell runner magazine for that year.
For those that want to race and have professional support there is an alternative and the fee is (in my opinion) justified by the organisational expenses that go into it. Obviously the 250 people that signed up in the first hour or so are happy to pay up and enjoy the experience.
Let us know how you get on organising and running your alternative event, it isn't difficult to do.
250*899 = £224,750
> 250*899 = £224,750
You know it's run by a business with costs and a profit to make? I'm sure Ourea Events do well enough out of it but it's bloody hard work and certainly not £224,750 straight in their pocket. I've not done the DB but I have done the Glen Coe Skyline which they organise and it's a huge operation. £100 for a days racing is expensive compared to a five quid fell race but once a year I think it's worth it for the experience and I can certainly see where a lot of the money goes.
As you and others have pointed out you could just go do it yourself but then it wouldn't be a race and racing is very different from just running.
> 250*899 = £224,750
There's no point in discussing detailed finances as none of us have a copy of the company accounts in front of us.
But as Dave points out, it is a business, it employs full time (and part time) staff that have to be paid all year, there is a constant and massive investment in equipment, hire of equipment and believe me, I can see money haemoraging out of an event like that.
484 applicants now on SI entries, I don't know the max he will accept but obviously the concept is growing in popularity.
So who's in?
I'm going to do a recce of day 1 next weekend 1-3 Jun if anyone fancies it - early starts and late nights mean perfect chance to test ability!
I'm staying in Capel plas Curig hostel:
Day 1. Bus or car share to Tryfan, Glyders, Crib Goch, Snowdon and down to Plas Gwynant. Moving light. 8 hours to make "cut off".
Day 2 Conwy to Tryfan. (Day 1 start).
Not for me, I'm too old and slow to keep up with you lot.
But when you come to recce days 4&5, that is my area and I'll give you whatever help and advice on routes etc. that I can. I live very close (a mile away) to the day 4 overnight campsite. Get in touch when you are coming down this way.
Hiyah... Owe you an email... Off to the LAMM Thursday, will let you know how we get on. If you and the Missus are crewing for 2019 (are we sure about the year!!) put me down for a job as well... A
Good luck on lamm, don't forget the midge cream! Yes, I had a minor "senior moment" when I put this post up and then couldn't work out how to edit it, doh.
Be in touch when you return.
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