News & Events
Lecturer Silences the Dragon
- Posted by: pembscollegesuperadmin
Described as the toughest race in the world, Pembrokeshire College lecturer and ex-paratrooper Rob Thomson, battled pain and exhaustion to be one of the elite few to successfully complete the Dragon’s Back Race when it returned for the first time since the initial run in September 1992.
Raising money for the Parachute Regiment Afghanistan Trust, Rob had been in training for months preparing himself physically and mentally for the gruelling 162 mile race across ‘the spine of Wales’.
Consisting of five days of ultra-marathon running, day 1 began within the gates of Conway Castle on the north Wales coast with the finish line waiting at Carreg Cennen Castle near Llandilo on the Black Mountain.
The exact route for each day was kept secret leading to a few surprises for the runners, the greatest of which was the inclusion of all the Welsh 3000s (peaks over 3000 feet) on the first day. A huge undertaking in itself which included the Carneddau, Tryfan, the Glyders, Crib Goch and Snowdon, only 35 of the 91 competitors who started day 1 made it through to day 2.
Day 2 saw the runners cross the Moelwyns and the Rhinogs, day 3 included Cadair Idris and Plynlimon, day 4 saw a massive 37 mile run across the Elan Valley, and Day 5 took the runners over the Black Mountain to the finish line.
For the duration of the race Rob spent up to 14 hours a day completing each section often using torchlight to navigate after dark.
To help the runners, each evening’s campsite had been set up by a dedicated team of volunteers allowing runners to head straight for the canteen, swiftly followed by bed. Amongst the volunteers was a small and busy team of nurses and a doctor who were on hand to tend to blisters and strap athletes up ready for the next day’s run.
By day 5 Rob was on home ground as he ran over the Black Mountain which had been a regular training haunt before the race. Completing the race in 25th position and an accumulated time of 67 hours, 41 minutes, Rob has so far raised over £1,000 for The Parachute Regiment Afghanistan Trust. Anyone interested in sponsoring Rob can do so by visiting: www.justgiving.com/Rob-Thomson3