Wales Air Ambulance is giving lucky athlete free charity space on ‘the world’s toughest mountain race’ between Conwy and Cardiff

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Job : Sat 12 Nov 2022

Updated: Sat 12 Nov

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Do you have what it takes to tackle the world’s toughest mountain race, covering 236 miles of Wales’ unique, wild, trackless and isolated mountain terrain?

Wales Air Ambulance have teamed up with organizers 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 entrant will run the equivalent of 1.5 marathons per day over six days, starting at Conwy Castle and ending at Cardiff Castle.

The Montane Dragon’s Back Race will take place from Monday September 4 to Saturday September 9, 2023.

Spectators will be encouraged to cheer on the successful ‘dragons’ at Cardiff Castle for the grand finale.

Make no mistake, this is not a trail running event, and the route follows summit checkpoints along the mountainous spine of Wales, where the terrain is sometimes extreme.

Participants should be confident mountain runners with experience in rough terrain and navigation. Do you have the courage 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 is expected to raise a minimum of £2,000 for Wales Air Ambulance. To enter, submit a video of yourself by Wednesday December 7th to our panel of judges explaining why you think you have what it takes to conquer the world’s toughest mountain race.

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

Although he is no stranger to extreme racing events, with accolades ranging from winning the Commonwealth Ultra Distance title, to representing Great Britain not only in Ironman events but also in marathons and half- marathons, as well as in winning numerous races and triathlons, the father of two failed to complete the final leg of the race.

Richard is fully supportive of this year’s event and has offered to advise the successful charity runner 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 offers you incredible scenery and great camaraderie, but challenges you to the max!

“Anyone looking to compete next year shouldn’t underestimate him. Training and preparation in terms of endurance and mountaineering months in advance is essential. For my part, I did not fully appreciate the company and, even with my background in endurance sport, I could not complete the last day.

“Despite that, he is still up there with my greatest sporting achievements and experiences. I got so many positive experiences from it; some of which I have overlooked. It’s not for everyone though. I’ve competed all my life and needed that ultimate experience. I feel like I have nothing left to prove, and that left me in a good place, especially to be able to do it for charity.

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

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

Shane Ohly, Montane Dragon’s Back Race 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 travel across the country from Conwy Castle to Cardiff Castle.

“Working with Wales Air Ambulance, who provide free, lifesaving emergency care across the country, is a great way to support the local communities we pass through. We are thrilled to meet the runner who will occupy this charity location and take on this epic challenge for such a great cause.

The Wales Air Ambulance service provides advanced critical care throughout Wales. It is provided through a unique third-party, public-sector partnership between the Wales Air Ambulance Charity and the Emergency Medical Transfer and Recovery Service (EMRTS Cymru). As a result, the service is consultant-led and is known as the “flying emergency service”, bringing standard hospital treatments to the patient at the scene of an incident. This includes the ability to administer anesthesia, administer blood transfusions and perform minor operations, all at the scene of an incident.

Tracey Ann Breese, Events and Partnership Manager for Wales Air Ambulance, said: “It is very exciting to be able to offer a determined Wales Air Ambulance supporter a free place for the Montane Dragon’s Back Race again this year. I’ve been following the race for a few years now and am impressed with those who participate and take on this ultimate challenge.

“There’s a reason it’s called the toughest mountain race in the world. Richard’s journey over the past year is so inspiring. Can’t wait to see this year’s entry videos of supporters who are willing and able to go to such extremes to help the charity be there for the people of Wales when they have the no longer need us.

Do you have the determination, like Richard, to take up the challenge? All entry videos should be emailed to [email protected] by Wednesday 7th December.

For more information on the Montane Dragon’s Back Race visit

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