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.
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.
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.
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.
It was about 10:15 when the first runners arrived at Pennard Castle. They were already about 7 km into their grueling challenge.
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.
With not everyone keeping their footing.
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.
Pausing to catch a breath, before charging on down the dune.
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.
And here is another regulator stopping to help the newbies through this difficult section.
The runners were coming down the dune thick and fast now.
There were five peloton groups of varying ability and over 120 runners.
It is a tough race but there were a lot of smiles among the grimaces.
And extreme concentration getting down that bare earth section to the softer dunes below.
The regulators did a fantastic job of getting their pelotons down safe.
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.
It wasn’t long before Darth himself was charging through with the elite runner peloton.
The remaining pelotons weren’t far behind.
Even though it is a big field all the runners were through within twenty minutes of each other.
Next through was Dom from Clyne Riders, with experience on his side from successfully completing the Darth last year too…
…and there he goes.
There was the odd stumble…
…but he’s ok folks.
Some runners were just literally 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.