The Montane Dragon's Back Race is over for another year, and with blistering temperatures as high as 30C testing runners to their limits, the event, often nicknamed 'the world's toughest mountain race', was by consensus one of the hardest to date.
Of the 298 participants from 25 nations that set out on day one, only 87 were still in the full race by the morning of the final day.
If you haven't cried, I don't think you've run it properly
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the weather, no records were broken this year, but dot watchers were still treated to a dominant display from the two winners, who were both out in front from day one.
In the event Hugh Chatfield (UK) won it for the men, finishing in a time of 47 hours 38 minutes to claim first place overall, ahead of Jakub Wolski's (Poland) second place time of 51 hours 11 minutes.
Claiming third place overall, and first-placed female, was Robyn Cassidy (UK). A volunteer at last year's race, Cassidy crossed the line in 54 hours 25 minutes, while Alyssa Clark finished just under 5 hours behind in 59 hours 15 minutes to claim second-placed female - an emotional moment for her after recording a DNF back in the 2019 event.
"There are no words that describe this at the moment" said Cassidy.
"It's been the hardest, most emotional week with the most amazing people and amazing runners. The team are incredible, and the volunteers just make it one big family - there is nothing else that compares!"
Inspired by the legendary 1992 race which saw the inaugural Dragons take on a north-south traverse of the mountain spine of Wales, the revitalised modern 6-day event covers 380km of distance between Conwy Castle on the north coast and Cardiff Castle in the south, clocking up a hefty with 17,400m of ascent en route over the hills of Eryri (Snowdonia), the Cambrian Mountains and Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons).
Speaking on his win, Hugh Chatfield commented:
"It's amazing. Thanks to everyone for the support. I was told at the start that you've got to have your 'why' when you take on this race, because you'll go through highs and you'll go through lows. Everyone who makes it here, whatever distance they've come, has had to draw on that at some point.
"At the end of day four, I had a cry on the road section when I saw my parents. If you haven't cried, I don't think you've run it properly.
"I came to recce the course a few weeks ago and it was completely different experience weather wise. Kudos to Jakub (runner-up) because he's never seen these mountains before."
In addition to the main race, this year saw the introduction of a newer, shorter event titled 'The Hatchling', which gives participants the option to run a part of the route each day and get a taste of the full experience. Those who conquer half of the route are recognised as a 'Montane Dragon's Back Race Lite'.