Michelle Bowen and Tremayne Cowdry in action on the Dragon's Back. Photo: Rob Howard

Michelle Bowen and Tremayne Cowdry in action on the Dragon's Back. Photo: Rob Howard

Women runners are setting the pace in the gruelling Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race.

Six of the top 20 racers were women at the end of the second day’s running.

UK runner Jim Mann maintained his lead but Jasmin Paris moved up to second place overall yesterday, as the runners contended with difficult terrain and injuries.

Czech runner Pavel Paloncy has re-joined the race after having to have stitches in a leg injury after a fall. But though continuing the event he will not be classified as he will not have completed the full course. Nevertheless, despite his injury, he finished in 11th fastest on the day.

A second leading contender was forced to retire on day two; Ed Catmur had a fall on the Rhinogs, suffered a bad cut and could not continue.

Tuesday’s leg saw runners make the journey from Nant Gwynant to Dolgellau, via the Moelwyn and Rhinog hills. The heat, and fatigue following the first day, were major factors in how the racing played out, as was the fact that there were a lot more route options on offer, particularly between the fourth and fifth checkpoints.

This, along with the fact that the slower runners from day one set off first, resulted in a fascinating day for those following the race, as the consequences of the navigational choices that were made started to manifest themselves on the live trackers and leaderboard.

Some of the women in the field had a very successful day, with Beth Pascall and Lizzie Wraith also gaining places.

Pavel Paloncy is continuing to run despite having a leg wound stitched. Photo: Rob Howard

Pavel Paloncy is continuing to run despite having a leg wound stitched. Photo: Rob Howard

Although he lengthened his lead, Jim Mann did have difficulties, which he outlined to Rob Howard of Sleepmonsters at the end of the day: “At one point I lost the path and took a bearing but found cliffs blocking the way.

“In the end I threw my bag and jumped down. I think I’ve paced it well so far. I don’t enjoy running in the heat so much and suffered a bit at the end of the day, but am told the forecast is more overcast for tomorrow, which would suit me.”

Jasmin Paris adds: “He [Jim] helped lead me over the Rhinogs and at the end when he was struggling more I encouraged and waited for him, helping him through to the finish.”

The event is starting to take its toll on the competitors. There have now been 17 retirements from the event and, as was the case in 2012, there are also some who, like Paloncy, have not completed the full course and are therefore non-competitive, but are continuing to run.

The runners stayed overnight at the Vanner campsite just outside Dolgellau, with the tents set up beside the ruins of Cymer Abbey. The first competitors set off at 6am today for the third day’s racing.

The race, down the spine of Wales, is expected to end on Friday. The runners can be tracked in real time on the Berghaus Dragon’s Back website.

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