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Mountain madness wins Sheffield film award

Wouter Hamelinck descends asteep path off Pen yr Ole Wen down to Ogwen Valley in a scene from The Dragon's Back.

Wouter Hamelinck descends asteep path off Pen yr Ole Wen down to Ogwen Valley in a scene from The Dragon's Back.

THE STUNNING Welsh mountains provide the backdrop for an extreme adventure running movie made by a city documentary maker which premieres at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival this Saturday.

The Dragon’s Back - probably the hardest running race in the world - was resurrected last year for the first time in 20 years and saw hardened ultra fell runners run the 200 mile length of Wales.

Golf ball-sized blisters, mud, sweat, tears and the unpredictability of the mountain weather, not to mention the incredible mental and physical toughness of the competitiors are all portrayed in the film by 44-year-old Richard Heap, from Nether Edge.

Richard, founder of Slackjaw films, is perhaps best known for his rock climbing and motor racing documentaries but he has triumphed with his latest production, winning the Shaff award for Best Running Film and coming third place in the Best Film category.

He said: “I went along to film some footage for the race website but I soon realised there was an incredible story to tell. I got quite emotional just seeing what the runners had to go through.”

The film follows the competitors on their mission to navigate the mountains of Wales from north to south.

There is no set route and the runners navigate between check points ascending 45,000ft over five days and running a marathon or more every day.

It captures the extreme highs and lows as the runners strive to complete the ultimate feat of physical and mental endurance.

Richard will take part in a Q&A with winner Steve Birkinshaw, race director Shane Ohly and Helene Whitaker who won the 1992 event and finished fourth last year - 20 years on - beating most of the male competitors.

 

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