Have you got what it takes to take on the world’s toughest mountain race, covering 236 miles of Wales’ uniquely wild, trackless, and remote mountainous terrain?

The Wales Air Ambulance has teamed up with the organisers of the Montane Dragon’s Back Race to offer one lucky athlete a free place, worth £1,599, to take part in the ultra-running race. The successful participant will run the equivalent of 1.5 marathons every day in six days, starting from Conwy Castle and finishing at Cardiff Castle.

The Montane Dragon’s Back Race will take place between Monday 4 September to Saturday 9 September 2023. Spectators will be encouraged to cheer on the successful “dragons” at Cardiff Castle for the grand finale.

Be under no illusion, this is not a trail running event, and the course follows summit checkpoints along the mountainous spine of Wales, where terrain is at times extreme. Entrants will need to be confident mountain runners with experience in rough terrain and navigation. Do you have the grit and determination to push your body to the absolute limit to succeed?

If so, then we want to hear from you! The winner of the free charity place would be expected to raise a minimum of £2,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance. To enter, send a video of yourself by Wednesday 7 December to our panel of judges, explaining why you think you’ve got what it takes to conquer the world’s toughest mountain race.

On the panel, will be athlete Richard Gardiner, who last year beat off stiff competition to win the Montane Dragon’s Back Race charity place.

Despite being no stranger to extreme running events, with accolades ranging from winning the Commonwealth Ultra Distance Title, representing Great Britain in not only Ironman but marathon and half marathon events, as well as winning numerous races and triathlons, the dad-of-two failed to complete the final stage of the race.

Richard is supporting this year’s event and has offered to give the successful charity runner advice in preparation for the race.

He said: “The Montane Dragon’s Back Race is a once in a lifetime opportunity providing participants with memories that will last for the rest of their lives. It’s a unique adventure that provides you with amazing scenery and great camaraderie but challenges you to the absolute max!

“Anyone looking to take part next year shouldn’t underestimate it. Training and preparation in terms of endurance and mountain climbing months in advance is key. For me I didn’t fully appreciate the undertaking and, even with my background in endurance sport, I wasn’t able to complete the final day.

“Despite this, it is still up there with my greatest sporting achievements and experiences. I got so many positive experiences out of it; some I didn’t account for. It isn’t for everyone though. I have taken part in competitive events all my life and I needed to have this ultimate experience. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove anymore, and it has left me in a good place, especially being able to do it for charity.

"I will be willing to fully support the next successful entrant. I am happy to share any advice and help in any way I can, so that they can learn from my mistakes and have the best possible experience at next year’s Montane Dragon’s Back Race for Wales Air Ambulance.”

The Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road. It provides vital 24/7 emergency air cover for those who face life-threatening illness or injuries and is the only air ambulance charity based in and dedicated to Wales. 

Shane Ohly, Montane Dragon’s Back Race Director, said he was delighted to continue supporting the Wales Air Ambulance for a second year.

He said:“The Montane Dragon’s Back Race explores the beautiful and unique landscapes of the Welsh mountains as participants run the full length of the country from Conwy Castle to Cardiff Castle.

“Working with Wales Air Ambulance, who provide free, emergency and life-saving care across the country, is a great way to support the local communities that we pass through. We are excited to meet the runner who will take up this charity place and tackle this epic challenge for such a great cause.”

The Wales Air Ambulance service offers advanced critical care across Wales. It is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership between the Wales Air Ambulance Charity and the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru). As a result, the service is consultant-led and is known as a ‘flying emergency department’, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient at the scene of an incident. This includes the ability to administer anaesthesia, deliver blood transfusions and conduct minor operations, all at the scene of an incident.

Tracey Ann Breese, Wales Air Ambulance Events and Partnership Fundraiser, said: “It’s very exciting to be able to offer a free place to one determined Wales Air Ambulance supporter for the Montane Dragon’s Back Race again this year.

"I have followed the race for a few years now and been in awe of those taking part and taking on this ultimate challenge. There is a reason it’s called the world’s toughest mountain race. Richard’s journey from last year is so inspiring.

"I’m really looking forward to seeing this year’s entry videos from supporters that are willing and able to go to these extremes to help the charity be there for the people of Wales when they need us the most.”

Have you got the determination, like Richard, to brave the challenge? All entry videos must be sent via email to [email protected] by Wednesday 7 December.

For more information on the Montane Dragon’s Back Race visit www.dragonsbackrace.com

Pictures: ©Dragon’s Back Race | No Limits Photography