Montane Dragon's Back Race

  • UK (GBR)
  • Off-Road Running

Cope and Watson Lead after Day 1

Press Release / 06.09.2022See All Event Posts Follow Event
Title holder Simon Roberts on Crib Goch
Title holder Simon Roberts on Crib Goch / © Montane Dragon’s Back Race® _ No Limits Photography

Day one of the 2022 Montane Dragon’s Back Race ended with a surprise leader in the men’s race and a previous winner at the front of the women’s field. Ultra runners from 30 nations gathered in the courtyard of Conwy Castle early on Monday morning. After being serenaded by Cor Meibion Maelgwn (a male voice choir) before dawn broke, participants began their race at 6:00am, heading out along the castle walls and from there, up into the Welsh mountains.

The unexpected early leader was Chris Cope, 39, from Nottingham. Chris, who is a type 1 diabetic and has to carefully monitor and manage his blood sugar level while racing, set a fast early pace and maintained it during the day. He completed the 49km and 3,800m of ascent in seven hours, 36 minutes and 50 seconds. Second across the line was James Nobles from Bristol in 8:02:44, with Welshman Simon Roberts third in 8:05:15, as he started his attempt to win for a second year in a row. Simon fell and hurt his knee during the day and was assessing the damage overnight.

First female finisher was Lisa Watson from the Peak District, in 8:50:35, over an hour ahead of the rest of the field. Lisa won the women’s race in 2019 and like Simon, is attempting to be the first person to record two victories at the Montane Dragon’s Back Race. South Wales based Helen Brown was second woman across the line in 9:52:43, with Victoria Morris from Harrogate in Yorkshire third in 10:06:08.

Chris Cope commented: “I’m loving it and really enjoying myself. It was a bit misty at times, but I got some cracking views as well. I’m diabetic – my blood sugar’s been a bit all over the place with the stress of starting, but that’s settled down now. It’s all a learning curve – this is my first multi-stage race.”

Lisa Watson commented: “The challenge of day one is pacing it. You can’t go too fast because you just wreck your legs for later. Making sure that I hold it back a bit, particularly on downhills which I love, is always a bit of a challenge.”

After overnight rain, conditions were bright and warm for much of the day. As usual, the tough terrain and challenging cut off times exacted a toll, with 30runners failing to complete the full course on day one, despite the event starting an hour earlier than in 2021. Many plan to stay with the event and tackle half days, completing the Montane Dragon Back Race’s journey through Wales.

When entering the 2022 Montane Dragon’s Back Race, participants were given the option of making a donation, and the total raised is being shared equally between the eight Mountain Rescue teams that operate along the route of the race.In the event campsite at the end of day one, representatives from three of the teams were presented with cheques for £900 each.

The public can follow the progress of the race thanks to live tracking via, and the Montane Dragon’s Back Race team will be posting regular updates on social media throughout the event:

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