Darth Mannion 2017. Gallery 4.

This is the forth gallery from the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge 2017. You can find an index of all four galleries here. Click on any of the thumbnails below to open and view the gallery, DimExcuses.

Darth Mannion 2017. Gallery 3.

This is the third gallery from the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge 2017. You can find an index of all four galleries here. Click on any of the thumbnails below to open and view the gallery, DimExcuses.

Darth Mannion 2017. Gallery 2.

This is the second gallery from the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge 2017. You can find an index of all four galleries here. Click on any of the thumbnails below to open and view the gallery, DimExcuses.

Darth Mannion 2017. Gallery 1.

Here is the first of four galleries from today’s Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge. To see this gallery of the extreme Gower half marathon click on any of the thumbnails to open the album.

Mud, sweat and tears. The Darth Mannion 2017.

This is my third year photographing the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge (to give it it’s full name).

You can see photos from 2016 here, and photos from 2015 here.

This year was the biggest and best so far. The route was longer, but still included the fiver runs and sea dips that this extreme Gower half marathon is famous for. The number of runners was also up with well over 400 runners this year.

The weather was worse than previous years with high winds and heavy mist. How can you even have those two weather conditions at the same time?

But it is the spirit of the Darth that everyone gets round the course and finish with big smiles.

I am slowing working through my photos and I will get them all up by the end of the weekend. The following links will be clickable once they are available.

Darth Mannion 2017 Gallery 1.

Darth Mannion 2017 Gallery 2.

Darth Mannion 2017 Gallery 3.

Darth Mannion 2017 Gallery 4.

Time for me to get editing, DimExcuses.

None like it hot. Swansea Bay 10k 2016.

Swansea Bay 10k 2016

What a lovely day in Swansea Bay, unless you were planning on running 10 kilometers on the seafront in Swansea Bay 10k 2016. One of the best road races in the UK, the virtually flat course takes in the wide sweep of Swansea Bay along the Wales Coast Path. You can read a km by km guide to the course here.

Winner Swansea Bay 10k 2016

The weather was warm with little wind, hot conditions for a long road race. The Kenyans above just took it in their stride leading the race from the beginning. But you didn’t have to wait long to see some familiar Swansea runners. Andrew Frazier setting a blistering pace.

Frazier Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Chris Jones was next smashing almost 10 minutes off his time from last year.

Chris Jones Swansea Bay 10k 2016

You can see photos from Swansea Bay 10k 2015 here.

You can see photos from Swansea Bay 10k 2014 here.

You can see photos from Swansea Bay 10k 2013 here.

A familiar face in Swansea Bay 10k photos above, Sam Donaldson was running this year too. Here he is at just past the 2km mark at Blackpill.

Sam Donaldson Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Closely followed by another Swansea Bay 10k veteran Luke Millward.

Luke Millward Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Jan Lawrence was next completing her second year in the Swansea Bay 10k, running for the Salisbury NICU premature baby unit that had just treated her latest grandson.

Jan Swansea Bay 10k 2016

This year the sisters were doing it for themselves, with both my sister and sister-in-law running. First to reach us at 2km was my sister-in-law Caz.

High Five! Caz. Swansea Bay 10k 2016

My sister Michelle wasn’t far behind, cheered on by a big family turn out.

Michelle Swansea Bay 10k 2016

The great thing about spectating at Blackpill is as soon as most of the runners are past you the elite runners are running back on the promenade behind you. So I ran over to my usual spot to catch the runners coming over the bridge. Here is the fight for first place.

Swansea Bay 10k Winner. Battle for first place.

The first women runner was an equally fierce battle.

Women's Race Winner Swansea Bay 10k 2016

The rest of the elite runners were next.

Superman 2016

The usual suspects weren’t far behind them. Andrew Frazier not dropping any pace in the heat.

Andrew Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Chris Jones setting a personal best for this race.

Chris Jones Swansea Bay 10k 2016

There he goes, jostling for places on the hill climb.

Hill race

Some were taking it a little less seriously.

Ian in a Tutu. Swansea Bay 10k 2016

But there were still some seriously fast runners in the far from ideal hot conditions. It was the lack of wind more than the temperature.

None like it hot. Swansea Bay 10k 2016

I just missed Sam Donaldson on his return run. Here is his back as he climbs the hill.

Sam Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Frances Samuel was the next familar face I spotted in the crowds.

Frances Swansea Bay 10k 2016

The hill being her least favorite part of the course.

Frances Samuel Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Clare was the next to tackle the hill.

Claire Swansea Bay 10k 2016

I even spotted one of my old students, giving a big thumbs up.

Swansea Bay 10k Sept 2016

Luke looked pleased to have got to almost 8km into the race.

Luke Swansea Bay 10k 2016

My nieces were thrilled to see their mum Caz safely past the Blackpill bridge…

Caz crosses the bridge

…and onto the hill. I thought Grace would start running with her.

Caz Bidder Swansea Bay 10k 2016

My Sister Michelle was marking a return to the 10k after having a baby and was joined by her fellow Paul Popham running club members.

Paul Popham Runners Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Just demolishing the hill towards the final 2km.

Paul Popham Running Club

Was that sports development legend Tom Jones I spotted amidst this year’s runners? Surely not?

Tom Swansea Bay 10k 2016

It was all over too fast.

Paul Popham Team

It certainly was a hot one, and none like it hot! Everyone made it home safe though and all had a big smile on their face. A fantastic Swansea Bay 10k 2016, see you next year, DimExcuses.

Darth Mannion 2016. Pwll Du Gallery 2.

 

Run Regulator Run

Pwll Du Gallery 2, hot on the heels of the earlier posted gallery. I took over 100 photos of the Pwll Du section of the Darth Mannion 2016. So I have made two galleries so you can see all the action from this extreme Gower running challenge. This is the second gallery – Pwll Du Gallery 2.  You can see all the previous pictures from the first gallery – Pwll Du Gallery 1.

You can also read about the Pwll Du section of the Darth Mannion Beach & Swamp Run Challenge here.

This is my last post from the Darth Mannion 2016, but you can be sure I will be down there capturing the action next year, DimExcuses.

Darth Mannion 2016. Pwll Du River Run.

Pwll Du River Run

Once again the Darth Mannion Beach & Swamp Run Challenge was an epic affair. Pwll Du saw the deepest and most exciting river run. I was there to give you a glimpse of the action.

Into the river!

I had already seen the runners at Pennard Castle, you can read about that here, and see the full gallery here. That was a steep dune decent, this was a much more watery affair.

Darth Mannion River Run

I arrived just in time to see Dom finishing the river run.

Dom running the Darth Mannion

While Alun was having a quick think about starting his cold dip.

Alun on the Darth Mannion

Others were just taking the plunge.

Go Deep.

That was one deep and cold start to the river run that runs from Pwll Du beach all the way to the ford, before the soaked runners make their way to Brandy Cove on the last leg of this extreme run.

Keep Smiling

The regulators and veterans were taking it all in their stride,their waste deep in freezing water stride.

Regulators Mount Up

Putting a brave face on cold legs rubbing against submerged objects along the irregular river bed.

Darth Mannion Pwll Du

The field was very spread out so runners were still running into the valley from Pennard Cliffs as others were deep into their river run.

Entering Pwll Du

The entrance to the start of the river run was soon seeing a queue to jump into the frigid waters.

Queuing to river run

Katy and her crowd were being particularly noisey about their river entry.

These Girls Can

Having a moan about it being cold. It was only nine degrees!

Katy G

The river was soon full with runners.

Darth Mannion River Run Pwll Du

Some had the tactic of taking their top off and carrying it above their head to keep it dry.

Darth Mannion Shirts Off

Some others like Kirsten here just got soaked through.

Darth mannion Kirsten

Here is some more runners utilizing the shirt carrying tactic.

Keep those shirts dry

The only thing is you have to get in the river and keep that top dry at the same time, like Rhian here was discovering.

River Entry

Even the toughest regulators were carrying their kit on their heads.

Darth Mannion Beach & Swamp Run Challenge

I can’t tell you what Joel here said to me as he passed.

Joel Doing the Darth Mannion

Best just summarize that he went past, cheered on by the massive crowd of one man and his dog.

Nothing to see here

This river run is immensely challenging. Knees and joints are stiff and sore at this point as most of the cross country half marathon is behind them.  But now sore joints become cold joints and clothes get wet, heavy and energy sapping.

Darth Mannion Pwll Du River

This is the deepest river run on the Darth Mannion and it is the longest period that the runners have to face in the cold water. That doesn’t stop them having fun and giving me the thumbs up. A big thumbs up is guaranteed to get you featured in the DimExcuses blog.

Thumbs Up

That’s the spirit!

The Darth Mannion Spirit

Others were just focused on keeping their packs dry.

Darth Mannion wading

Everyone is relieved to get to the end of the river run at Pwll Du and get out at the ford.

Nearly there

I must be a great feeling to climb that bank and know it is only the run around to Brandy Cove, one more sea submersion and the climb up to Pwll Du Head to go!

Climbing out of the river.

The organizers of the Darth Mannion ensure that you are safe and supported in each peleton. Here the regulators are making sure their group get back home and dry. Well as dry as you can be at the end of a river run!

Home and almost dry

The river run at Pwll Du once again proved to be an entertaining section on this year’s Darth Mannion. I have over a hundred photos from the river run, so I will split these up into two albums (Pwll Du Gallery 1 and Pwll Du Gallery 2) and post them in two further blog posts. Click on the links in the brackets above to view the galleries, DimExcuses.

Darth Mannion 2016. Pennard Castle Full Gallery.

Darth Mannion Photos

The Darth Mannion Beach & Swamp Run Challenge is a half marathon across South Gower with river runs and sea submersions. Here is the full gallery of all 80 odd photos I took at the Pennard Castle section of this epic race.

You can read about the Pennard Castle section of the Darth Mannion 2016 here.

Have a good look through the gallery below and see if you can spot yourself or anyone you knew running, DimExcuses.

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.