Here is the second gallery from Darth Mannion X. The Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge 2019.
Click on a thumbnail to open the images.
A little later in the year, and a little later in the day, Gower’s favorite beach and swamp challenge, the Darth Mannion returns for its tenth year. Also returning was a bit of Gower sun for the brave long distance, river running, sea submerging athletes who dare to enter it. A welcome return from the snow of last year.
Photos from previous years can be found here:
You can see all the action for Dartha Mannion X 2019 below:
All done, see you next year, DimExcuses.
This is the first gallery from the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge 2018. You can find an index of all four galleries here. Click on any of the thumbnails below to open and view the gallery, DimExcuses.
The Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Challenge, the Gower cross county half marathon is tough at the best of times. You can see how tough it was in previous years here:
This year the weather forecast was really bad. The Beast from the East weather system that brought the country to a stand still a week ago was making its return with bitter winds, low temperatures and snow forecast.
Some of the sea submersion had to be left out of the route, because of a real threat of participant hypothermia. The route was also changed to take out the steep decent at Pennard Castle and Three Cliffs Valley featured more. You can see why the Pennard Castle Decent was wisely removed in these amazing photos from 2015.
The race is getting so popular that the field is getting larger every year. This meant that by the time everyone had passed me I was unable to get to Pwll Du Bay, as I have done in previous years, but this allowed me to get some new shots in Three Cliffs Bay and Pobbles Bay. The full galleries can be seen in the links below.
There are some epic shots as this Monster Gower Run hit the Beast from the East head on, but there were also a lot of smiles over a lot of miles. I am sure many will be back next year and hoping for a return to more spring like weather, DimExcuses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you want to know what yesterday’s Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Challenge was like? Hot off the press we have the experience of the DimExcuses runners – Team Bruvver.
Not afraid to do their own stunts, Team Bruvver is made up of my brothers Chris & Steve, joined by my brothers in law Matt & Jamie. Note my french bulldog Molly giving wise advice from the sidelines.
The Darth Mannion is a half marathon across Gower with several river runs and full sea submersions. Visit the official Darth Mannion site here, to learn more. I have almost 200 photos to sort through from the event and will posting these over the next week. Until then checkout the experiences of this brave few.
Here they are about 7 km into the race charging down the steep sand dune from Pennard Castle in Three Cliffs Valley.
Nice to see them running as a team. Taking careful steps on that steep decent.
Here you can see how epic that decent is with the mighty Three Cliffs Bay in the background.
The Darth Mannion is a sprawling Gower course, but I was only able to support the team at two locations, so once they had left Pennard Castle I shot over to Pwll Du to see them do the final river run. Jamie now leading the way, but the team very tight together.
The initial cold splash down!
All four runners making the frigid dip.
A mixture of grimaces and smiles. Mainly grimaces.
That Pwll Du section is a long hard river run (wade).
Chris (Dr Bidz) at this point making an unofficial toilet stop.
A brief hint of warm water for Steve.
I will be uploading more photos all this week and I have photos of most of the runners. All of our team made it home safe, and we are very proud of them. Dr Bidz has written a detailed blog of his road to the Darth that you can read here. Maybe it will inspire you to do it next year, DimExcuses.
It amazes me how much summer spoils us. We moan the weather is not too good and use it for an excuse no to get out and about. How quickly we forget that we would race to get a 1 hour stroll in drizzle racing against a 4:30 pm sunset in January. We would have killed for a day like today back then. But we are put off by intermittent black skies and heavy rain showers. We allow ourselves to not see the glorious June sunshine between the showers.
Today (07/05/14) had a really bad forecast, some proper rainstorms. I awoke this morning to the first one. A quick weather check and it looked like there was a 2 hour window of sun between 12 pm and 2 pm before the storms came in again. So I set out down South Gower to squeeze a walk in, once we convinced Molly she can’t have the driver’s seat in the van.
We had to deal with some heavy South Gower traffic of the bovine variety before starting in the village of Pennard.
I tracked the whole walk on strava here.
A quick walk across the golf course (sticking to the path marked by white stones and being aware of golfers), we soon turned a corner to see Pennard Castle. Molly quickly added ‘Castle Explorer’ to her list of skills.
Pennard Castle is the best place to take in the magnificent Three Cliffs Bay. Here is in all its glory.
Molly even stopped for a moment to take it all in next to Sharon.
Then because the tide was in we took the boardwalk path along the top of Three Cliffs Bay. We wouldn’t want to make the mistake we did last time the tide was in! This allowed us to look back and get this view of Pennard Castle.
The boardwalk path is these days mainly sand, but does bring you right out onto the shoulder of Three Cliffs Bay, which is also a great place to take photograph.
The tide was in and it was one of those rare times Pobbles has waves. There was even a surfer in if you can spot him. There is a post about waves (or lack of them) at Pobbles Bay, here. If you want to see Pobbles waves really working you can see some rare images here on Flickr, captured by Photographer Carolyn Seager, checkout her site.
Once again Molly and Sharon stopped to take in the view.
But we couldn’t stop long, our 2 hour sunshine window was up and the sky was bruising. We made our way to Molly’s favourite beach Pobbles. Molly was stopped in her tracks by the sight of waves in Pobbles Bay!
But she was soon up to her neck in the surf playing fetch.
In and out like a bullet.
We got rained on during the walk back to the van, but it is so warm at the moment it didn’t matter. Apparently the weather tomorrow is the same, so why not see if you can fit in some walks & waves between the showers, DimExcuses.