No fewer than four 1992 originals entered including winner Helene Whitaker (nee Diamantides)
Following on from our story yesterday about the Berghaus sponsorship of the relaunched Dragon's Back Race this autumn, there's a nice twist to it all with the news that original winner Helene Whitaker - Diamantides when she won the first and only Dragon's Back in 1992 - has confirmed that she'll be taking part in the event.
Four Originals Entered
It tells you everything you need to know about the enduring fitness of top-level fell runners, that she'll be just one of four 1992 veterans taking part in the 200-mile race with its 45,000 feet of ascent, though obviously some things have changed since then.
Not only is Helene 20 years older, but she now has a young family. Race organiser Shane Ohly asked her how this had impacted on her preparation:
“I don’t have the selfish luxury of hours and hours roaming the hills! Nor do I want to anymore," she says. "My old joints certainly wouldn’t thank me for it either if I tried to. It was my husband who encouraged me to enter, as I didn’t think it would be fair to the family to commit the time and effort required to have half a chance of making it to the start line, let alone the finish line. I’ve had to concentrate on trying to get fit enough to train for the Dragon’s Back Race™ without something breaking.”
Stone On Tactics
Shane's been chatting with Helene and her then race partner Martin Stone about their memories of the original Dragon's Back Race, which they won. Here's Stone's take on race tactics:
“The race was completely absorbing, tactical and finely balanced. When the top teams were running with us, Helene and I revelled in games of cat and mouse. For a while we would all be mates running together across misty mountains. But the moment the opposition took their eyes off us, we were gone, evaporating in the mist, never to be seen again until the end of the day”.
Great stuff - you can bete your bottom dollar that 20 years later, things won't be so very different out on the hills. You can find the full interview at www.dragonsbackrace.com/history/twenty-years-later-an-interview-with-helene-whitaker-and-martin-stone/.