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Sanna wins Wales Air Ambulance place for the world’s toughest mountain race



A PEMBROKESHIRE woman has been picked to represent the Wales Air Ambulance at one of the world’s toughest mountain races.

Sanna Duthie, 35, of Milford Haven, beat off stiff competition to win the Montane Dragon’s Back Race charity place, which covers 236 miles of Wales’ uniquely wild, trackless, and remote mountainous terrain.

The event will see competitors run the equivalent of 1.5 marathons every day in six days, starting from Conwy Castle and finishing at Cardiff Castle from Monday 4 September to Saturday 9 September 2023.

Ultra-runner Sanna impressed the judging panel with her passion and dedication and is the first female athlete to win a Wales Air Ambulance charity place for the gruelling race.

The panel consisted of Wales Air Ambulance’s Events and Partnership Fundraiser, Tracey Ann Breese, Campaigns Manager Katie Macro and last year’s charity-place winner, Richard Gardiner.

Sanna, who works in office administration, said it had been her ambition to enter the Montane Dragon’s Back Race, but the £1,599 entry fee had financially held her back.

She said: “As a proud Welsh runner, the race has been on my radar for many years, I know several people who have taken part which has only fuelled my desire to do it. I work in office administration full time and the entry fee was just too much for me sadly.
“To spend a week running on the mountains in Wales is the best holiday I can imagine, the thought of being out on the mountains for days sounds so freeing. To be given the chance to take part in the Dragon’s Back Race is a dream come true.

“To be the first female to win the charity place is amazing. We need more female ultra-runners. Women are so strong mentally, and this challenge will require me to dig deep.  It’s an honour to be chosen and it has given me a big boost mentally, as well as the drive to train even harder.”

Sanna has been Ultra-running since 2015 and has won a plethora of races. These include the Gower Ultra, GB Ultra Beacon, The North Canum, Dirty Dozen Back Yard Ultra and the Preseli Ultra-beast 2022 which she won and set a new female record.

The athlete has committed to raising a minimum of £2,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance and hopes to promote her journey on social media and through a podcast.

Sanna is no stranger to fundraising for the Charity having raised nearly £5,000 in 2021 by running the entire Pembrokeshire Coast Path, an incredible 186 miles, all in one go. Not only did Sanna complete the challenge, but she also achieved the fastest known time of 51 hours and 30 minutes – with no sleep and the only stops being to refuel.

She said: “We were just coming out of lockdown and I managed to fulfil my dream of running the entire 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path. It was probably the best weekend of my life.

“As a result of that I appeared on radio shows in Wales and was interviewed on lots of running podcasts and I did some talks at the local schools. I even got asked to join the judging panel for last year’s Wales Air Ambulance Dragon’s Back Race.

“I asked for sponsorship and managed to raise just under £5,000 for Welsh Air Ambulance which is a cause I feel very strongly about. The service is very active in our community.  Pembrokeshire is quite rural and road links are not great. It is a charity that people in our county care about and want to support.”

Sanna said to complete the Montane Dragon’s Back Race would be a life goal and that she already has a training plan in place for the race.

She said: “It gives me butterflies just thinking of it.  It really will be a dream come true and to be able to do it and raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance really makes it extra special.

“I would say that I am an emotional person, this can often be seen as a bad quality, but I think it makes me a good ultra-runner. I help and support people and it also means that when I set a goal, I give it my all. I really hope I won’t let you down.”

The Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road.

It offers advanced critical care across Wales which is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership between the Wales Air Ambulance Charity and the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru). 

As a result, the service is consultant-led and is known as a ‘flying emergency department’, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient at the scene of an incident. This includes the ability to administer anaesthesia, deliver blood transfusions and conduct minor operations, all at the scene of an incident.

Tracey Ann Breese, Wales Air Ambulance’s Events and Partnership Fundraiser, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to offer Sanna a place at this year’s Montane Dragon’s Back Race. It was clear from her application that she is totally committed to running and being able to complete the race, both as a personal goal and to fundraise for Wales Air Ambulance.

“We received a number of strong entries and we would like to thank everyone for sending their videos to us. I am looking forward to seeing and being able to support Sanna’s journey and am truly grateful that she has chosen to support our Charity for the second time.”

To support Sanna visit her Just Giving page,

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Ascona launches new partnership with the Wales Air Ambulance



ASCONA, the Pembrokeshire-based UK wide forecourt operator, says it is delighted to announce that the Wales Air Ambulance will be its charity partner for the 2023/24 financial year.

To celebrate this new partnership, Ascona says it has made an initial donation of £10,000.

Over the next 12 months, 25p donations will be available to be paid via card machines across all of their sites in Wales and Ascona has committed to match each donation up to total value of £50,000. In addition, the Wales Air Ambulance will share in the proceeds of Nisa Retail’s ‘Making a Difference Locally’ fund, which is expected to amount to a further £10,000 in contributions from purchases made at Ascona sites in Wales. Ascona anticipates raising over £100,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance by the end of the 2023/24 financial year, through all of the proposed fundraising activities.

The partnership will help to support the Wales Air Ambulance in their mission to deliver lifesaving medical care to people across Wales, whenever and wherever they need it. The service relies entirely on charitable donations to raise the necessary £8 million in funds to keep the helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the roads across Wales.

Darren Briggs, Chief Executive of Ascona Group told Herald.Wales: “Since we started Ascona back in 2011, supporting our local communities has been central to our culture so we are proud to support the Wales Air Ambulance Charity in their vital work as they continue to deliver lifesaving medical care to people across Wales.

“Over the years, we have raised and donated over £200,000 for many different charities that help Welsh communities and their people and with the Wales Air Ambulance as our charity partner for the next 12 months, we are truly excited to make a difference to such an iconic charity.”

Siany Martin, Corporate Fundraiser at the Wales Air Ambulance, added: “We are delighted that Ascona has selected us as their charity of the year. Despite the vital work our people carry out on a daily basis, we receive no direct funding so we truly rely on the support from the people of Wales to make sure we can continue to serve them. Together with the rest of the team, I’d like to thank Darren and everyone at Ascona for their most generous donation and continued support.”

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Free IRONMAN Wales charity spaces on offer to fearless fundraisers



IF YOU’RE passionate about Pembrokeshire’s great outdoors and love to tackle tough physical tests, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust has a fundraising opportunity that will help you tick both boxes.

The Trust is offering a limited number of free entries for IRONMAN Wales 2023, which will see thousands of people take on the 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles of cycling and a marathon on foot along some of South Pembrokeshire’s most challenging routes this September.

Pembrokeshire Coast Trust Chair, Elsa Davies LVO said: “We’re delighted to be able to provide people with the opportunity to enter this popular event, which has become a fixture in the Pembrokeshire sporting calendar.

“With IRONMAN Wales featuring high levels of local participation, it would be a great opportunity for Pembrokeshire residents past and present to take part in the event and support a cause that will protect our National Park and make sure more people can enjoy its outdoors in the future.”

Sandra Jones, who has already signed up, said: “I want to raise funds to protect the National Park for future generations and ensure it is accessible to all.

“I’ve always enjoyed running but this is really pushing me outside of my comfort zone. This is the year of challenge for me, a triathlon every month leading up to Swansea IRONMAN 70.3 and then facing the ultimate – IRONMAN Wales.”

Those who are interested in taking up the challenge must commit to raise a minimum of £500, and the Trust would need to receive the pledge by 26 June 2023.

To find out more about IRONMAN Wales visit

To donate to Sandra’s fundraising total visit

If you would like to take up the free entry offer, expressions of interest should be sent to

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Charities across Pembrokeshire urged to bid for a £25,000 prize pot



CHARITIES in Pembrokeshire have a chance to win a share of a £25,000 prize pot offered by expert charity insurer Ansvar as part of its Community Campaign.

Many good causes in the region have been struggling to raise funds during the current cost of living crisis and Ansvar, which has insured charities, churches and voluntary groups for more than 60 years, is offering help.

The money will be split three ways: £15,000 for the overall winner with £5,000 each going to two additional charities.

Applications for funding can be submitted between Monday 6th March and Monday 17th April, with winners announced by Wednesday 31st May. Charities simply need to complete a short online form and explain in 500 words or less why their project deserves the prize.

Judges will be looking for projects that are about to start, or already running, which positively impact the local community.

Sarah Cox, Managing Director at Ansvar, said: “These are tough times for many charities, so we’re delighted to announce our search for three registered charities to benefit from a £25,000 prize pot.

“We know how much that money will mean to projects being run across the country and the judges are particularly keen to receive entries that provide a detailed outline of how the money would be spent.”

A judging panel will meet to decide the winner – and entries need to be made online via the Ansvar website. Entrants must be a registered charity and their charity number will be needed to apply.

Sarah Cox added:

“We’ve been insuring charitable organisations at the heart of the community for a long time and giving back to the community is an important part of what we do.

“So, we’re really looking forward to hearing from a wide breadth of charities and learning how they could benefit from this funding boost. We strongly urge any eligible charities in need of funding to submit an application.”

For more information, please visit:

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