Mountain Marathon: Diamantides gives a diamond display: Rob Howard reports on an emotional climax to the mountain crossing of Wales

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The Independent Online
IN an emotional finish to the Jet Dragon's Back race yesterday evening Helene Diamantides and Martin Stone completed a remarkable victory. Starting the last of five daily stages in second place with a five-minute deficit the pair ran the final 48 miles to Carreg Cennen Castle in 8hr 18min.

Their total time for 220 miles of mountain-running across Wales was 38hr 38min giving them a 32-minute winning margin.

Diamantides's performance in particular was outstanding as she left an international field of ultra-distance runners trailing behind her. Running strongly on the last day she even carried Stone's rucksack part of the way and fulfilled a long-held ambition. 'I've always wanted to win a race outright,' she said, 'and at last I've done it.'

A tearful Stone, who collapsed on the finish line, said: 'We teamed up just two weeks ago and having only run two-day races before we didn't expect to win. During the day we built up a good lead but lost our way and had to regain the lead just two hours from the finish.'

Adrian Belton, who finished second with Mark McDermott, ran the final day with a suspected stress fracture in his leg and only 15 of the 27 pairs who started at Conwy Castle on Monday morning finished the race. Among them was the only ladies' pair competing Sue Walsh and Wendy Dodds.