Chasing the Dragon in 2018 from a Standstill

And so it begins...

It has been 18 months since my last challenge, which was The Scotland Coast to Coast hosted by The Rat Race, and now I am ready for a new one. So at the end of March I started looking, and fell on the Mountain Marathon, generally a two day event running in the mountains, visiting control points along the way.

This was all very well, but I have a fear of bogs, heights and the dark, not to mention the fact that I haven’t run in those last 18 months so my fitness is not good to say the least. What a thought though, to be able to run confidently in the hills with the wind in your hair and the beautiful views spreading before you.

So the decision was made, I would run a Mountain Marathon. Next thing was to find one…and this is where the problem begins. Whilst looking for an event I came across The Dragon’s Back Race, which follows the mountainous spine of Wales in the UK from Conwy Castle to Carreg Cennen Castle. This incredible five day journey is approximately 300km long with 17,000 metres of ascent across trackless, remote and mountainous terrain. It is not a trail race. This description is taken from the official site at if you want to take a look.

The Dragons Back has only been run twice to date, once in 1992 and again in 2012 with the next one being in 2015. So I contacted the organisers to see if it would be possible to go from a beginner to compete in 2015. It was but I was advised that it would be risking injury as I would also need to get Mountain Marathon, fell running and ultra experience to help my acceptance into the race. So now we have an Event and a Date…2018. They also advised that I should look at the Welsh 3000′s, Bob Graham, Paddy Buckley and Charlie Ramsay Rounds as part of my training. So now I am the proud owner of the necessary maps for these nightmares, and am going to be booking some courses with to become confident in navigation and hill skills.

So to date…

I have an Introduction to Fell Running workshop booked on 10th June 2013 and I now have a training plan that if all goes well I should be running a marathon distance by mid January 2014. My first ultra is going to be The Wall hosted by The Rat Race in 2014, so I now have a goal to start increasing my mileage.

I started running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute for 3 miles a few weeks ago, and am now up to running 7 minutes and walking 1 minute for 40 minutes, and the other day I could have run loads more. By the end of June I should be running continuously for 3 miles. Once I get to this point I will be starting hill training as well as increasing my mileage. So that’s where I am now, right at the beginning of a very long journey that fills me with excitement of the unknown and a healthy amount of fear…and lots and lots of training and wonderful outings into the hills of the United Kingdom....

And as of today I am a proud owner of The Cool Impossible, and look forward to reading it and taking my training further.

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Comment by Emma Setterfield on May 15, 2013 at 4:58pm
Thank you, and I will post regular updates.
Comment by Sergio Meléndez Jacob on May 14, 2013 at 11:10pm
Awesome, keep posting and good chase!
Comment by Lori Enlow on May 14, 2013 at 2:55pm
Keep us posted on your journey!
Comment by Margot W on May 14, 2013 at 10:39am

Have fun and good luck.  It sounds like an amazing journey.

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