Competitors And Choir Mass At Dragon's Back Start, Conway Castle - image John Brook
It is, says organiser Shane Ohly, an event which has 'something very compelling, exciting and almost mystical' and not inappropriately the 2012 Dragon's Back Race began at 7 o'clock this morning in the dramatic surroundings of Conway Castle on coast of North Wales.
Over the next five days the 91 competitors from 14 different countries will cover over 320km including some 15,000 metres through the mountains that form the backbone of the Principality with each day's route being revealed just before the start and always including mountain-top checkpoints.
Today's stage takes the competitors over the major ranges of Snowdonia and should be properly tough even for hardened competitors like Berghaus-sponsored Brits Helene Whitaker and Steve Birkinshaw. For Whittaker in particular, it should all seem very familiar - she was part of the winning pair at the first and only other Dragon's Back Race which was held in 1992 and immortalised in the cult fell-running book Feet In The Clouds.
Should be a proper epic event, arguably one of the hardest ultra-running/trail/adventure races in the world and we'll be bringing you occasional updates. For starters, there are a couple more start images below.
If you want to follow the action more closely, check out www.dragonsbackrace.com and www.twitter.com/therealberghaus.