|Tent 4 checking out the rankings|
before the final stage
By the last morning, we were all but finished...surely it was just a formality to get to the line?...or so I thought!!! It was a slightly shorter stage and we were starting a bit later so that those who'd finished in the middle of the night got to have more of a rest. I hadn't been able to locate the podiatry girls the night before, as I knew I was developing some infection in the blisters round my toenails from the shoes/sand combo...but they were still not to be found. Oh well, at least it was the final stage.
|Over the scrubland to the "road"|
|That lovely "road"|
|With Aziza on the desert "road"|
|Looking ahead....more dunes...|
|And yet more...with no CP2 insight as it was|
somewhere over the top....of a few more dunes!
The cool water brought a bit of clarity to my thinking. They told me that to was 3k to the finish (5K in reality) and I knew that I'd started the day with a 48minute (or so) advantage over Aziza. Even if I had to walk (or crawl) 3K, I'd hope to do it within 48 minutes so I shouldn't lose my second place in the rankings, so off I went. I actually managed to run most of that final section, though I wouldn't suggest any imitate my running style!!! I sensibly let myself relax and walk up the final few dunes, and realised that as I descended to the coast road, I could still see Flash and Aziza ahead of me (he having overtaken her in that last section). Having crossed the road, there was a steep descent in which I worried I would lose control of my quads as they were distinctly wobbly, but a final wee rise later and the finish gantry came into sight.
|"Please can I just sit down in the shade?"|
|Greg to the rescue...|
|The ladies' podium :-)|
Eventually some food was served and people rushed over to it.....though i wasn't one of them. I was back at the finishline as I wanted to cheer each and every runner in, as they deserved the applause just as much as the first runners. Having felt so unwell with the heat and sun (and reflection of it off the sand) that day, I thought they probably deserved more credit...especially as some of them did not have the racing whippet physiques of the leaders. However, everybody made it that day and sat around the camp that afternon (or went for a dip in the sea) wearing their well-earned medals and chatting away, consolidating new friendships. Yes, I'd struggled that day, but I wouldn't have missed out on the week for anything...I'd absolutely loved it, and if it hadn't been hard at times, there would have been less satisfaction in completing it! Massive congratulations to everyone who took part!!