Helene Whitaker and Steve Birkinshaw

Helene Whitaker and Steve Birkinshaw

Two ultrarunners will have the support of a major outdoors brand when they tackle a gruelling five-day, 200-mile race.

Berghaus is sponsoring Helene Whitaker and Steve Birkinshaw in the Dragon’s Back Race, which runs down the spine of Wales.

Ms Whitaker was joint winner of the original race 20 years ago when, as Helene Diamantides, she finished first with Martin Stone.

Mr Birkinshaw is veteran of numerous ultrarunning events and is seven times winner of the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon and its successor the Original Mountain Marathon.

The pair have been working with Berghaus during recent months, helping to test and refine a new range of products that they will use during the race, which will take place from 3 to 7 September.

Helene Whitaker said: “I really want to go out and have five nice days of running in Wales.

“I have two aims: first, to get to the start line; second, I would very much like to get across that finish line. Neither are foregone conclusions.

“Actually, it is very enjoyable doing long distance travelling across mountains on foot. I love being in the mountains – and deserts too for that matter – and experiencing the views, and the wilderness.

“I enjoy the navigational challenges and the skill of maximising my own chances. It’s hard to keep body and soul together after a time and how you eat, drink and what you wear makes all the difference.”

Steve Birkinshaw added: “I enjoy racing against other people and I also enjoy long days running out on the fells – the rougher and longer the better.

“So the Dragon’s Back is the perfect race for me. There will also be a navigation element in the race. Finding the best lines between the checkpoints will be very important and I really enjoy and excel at this aspect.”

The two runners have been working closely with the Berghaus product development team, testing some new kit for next year’s spring and summer range and helping to refine them ahead of their launch.

Both runners will be using some of the new range during the Dragon’s Back Race, which Berghaus is sponsoring. All competitors in the race will also be offered the opportunity to use the new products during the race.

The race will begin at Conwy Castle on Monday, 3 September, when 100 individual competitors are expected to line up at the start.

Over five days, they will cover about 200 miles, including almost 15,000m of ascent, finishing at Carreg Cennen Castle in south Wales. More details are on the Dragon’s Back Race website.

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