The Darth Mannion 2016. The Force Awakens, Pennard Castle.

Thumbs up! Darth Manion

This is the seventh year of the Darth Mannion Beach & Swamp Run Challenge, and my second year photographing it. You can read what happened last year, here. This year I am writing three posts on this half marathon across Gower with river runs and full sea submersions.

Darth Mannion 2016

I have already written about the Official DimExcuses runners #Team Bruvver, you can read about their exploits, here. This is the second post and features all the excitement in the steep dune descent from Pennard Castle into Three Cliffs Bay.

Darth Mannion Fun

When my girlfriend Sharon, myself and our dog Molly arrived at Pennard Castle we were shocked to see an exceptional high tide had flooded the valley floor entirely. It was a spectacular site for us as we often see this view, but never like this.

High tide flooding at Three Cliffs Bay

Luckily we were an hour early and the tide fell back in time for the runners to pass. In the meantime Molly was keeping a close eye on the course.

Molly Darth Mannion Course Inspection

It was about 10:15 when the first runners arrived at Pennard Castle.  They were already about 7 km into their grueling challenge.

Darth Runners Past Pennard Castle

The runners come across Pennard Golf Course and pass Pennard Castle before dropping straight down the steep dune side into the valley below.  There is a particularly steep hard section before you get into the deep sand and it took some navigating.

Down the dunes

With not everyone keeping their footing.

Careful steps, Darth Mannion

There were many familiar local faces. Katie below shows her husband Simon that he is not the only extreme sport nutter in the Gibbion household.  

Katie on the Darth Mannion

Pausing to catch a breath, before charging on down the dune.

#TheseGirlsCan Darth Mannion

There were plenty of official Darth Mannion Regulators, helpers and veteran runners to help the runners new to the Beach & Swamp Challenge.  Alun here has several Darths under his belt.

Alun Darth Mannion

And here is another regulator stopping to help the newbies through this difficult section.

A helping hand. Darth Mannion 2016

The runners were coming down the dune thick and fast now.

Darth Mannion Runners

There were five peloton groups of varying ability and over 120 runners.

Peloton

It is a tough race but there were a lot of smiles among the grimaces.

Darth Mannion, keep smiling

And extreme concentration getting down that bare earth section to the softer dunes below.

Slopestyle Darth Mannion

The regulators did a fantastic job of getting their pelotons down safe.

The Castle Run

Once on the soft sand it is plane sailing all the way to the valley and you can get some good bounces out of each step.

Soft sand

It wasn’t long before Darth himself was charging through with the elite runner peloton.

Darth Mannion Himself

The remaining pelotons weren’t far behind.

Keep bouncing

Even though it is a big field all the runners were through within twenty minutes of each other.

Keep on running! Darth Mannion 2016

Next through was Dom from Clyne Riders, with experience on his side from successfully completing the Darth last year too…

Dom Darth Mannion

…and there he goes.

Dom Slopestyle

There was the odd stumble…

The Odd Stumble

…but he’s ok folks.

...He's OK Folks

Some runners were just literally flying!

I am Flying!

Once again a great race and definitely worth watching it at Pennard Castle.  I have the river at Pwll Du Bay still to report on and I have over 80 pictures from this Pennard Castle section that I am posting in a separate gallery. So if you can’t see yourself here it might be worth looking there. I just need to get on photo editing, DimExcuses.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The Darth Mannion 2016. The Force Awakens, Pennard Castle.

  1. Pingback: Darth Mannion 2016. Pennard Castle Full Gallery. | DimExcuses

  2. Pingback: Darth Mannion 2016. Pwll Du River Run. | DimExcuses

  3. Pingback: Gower business as usual. Three Cliffs Bay, April 2016. | DimExcuses

  4. Pingback: How green is my valley & coast? Three Cliffs, Gower July 2016. | DimExcuses

  5. Pingback: Mud, sweat and tears. The Darth Mannion 2017. | DimExcuses

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s