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The stunning Drake Bay hosted the final day of the 2016 The Coastal Challenge. It’s an idyllic location located within the Osa Peninsula. Turquoise seas, blue skies and lush tropical vegetation make it one the most iconic places in Costa Rica.
The final day is to all intents and purposes a victory lap. Racing only really takes place if overall top positions are close, in the 2016 race, gaps between the top 3 were wide enough to make the day neutralised. However, despite this, Chema Martinez from Spain wanted to run and from the sound of the gun at 0615 he pushed hard at the front of the race and crossed the line alone for the final stage victory.
Iain Don-Wauchope, kicked back, puled out his GoPro and let the runners go ahead of him; it was a day of fun ahead.
Carlos Sa pushed the pace in one last effort to maybe take 2nd but when Gonzalo Callisto caught him and ran at his side with 50% of the day covered, they eased back and enjoyed the run for home.
The ladies race was well and truly over and Elisabet Barnes and Ester Alves ran the whole stage together, side-by side and they soaked up the Costa Rican ambience. They partied while running.
The final day is not without challenges though, an early run through a river bed, the crossing of a waterfall, hot running through open plantations and then a return journey to the beach finish at Drake Bay while weaving in and out of the stunning coastline.
The 2016 TCC will be remembered quite simply in just a few words:
Brutal, Beautiful and Hot!
It may well have been one of the hottest editions and word in and amongst the camp confirms that the race really has been a true test. MDS 2015 champion and Oman Desert Cup Champion, Elisabet Barnes, confirmed the thoughts of many on the finish line:
“This has been possibly one of the best races I have ever run. It has so much variety, so many challenges, no two days are the same and I have well and truly been pushed beyond my limits. The combination of such mixed terrain, intense heat and high humidity really do this make this race an ultimate challenge. But in and amongst this, the camp is relaxed, the food provided by the race incredible and the whole Costa Rican experience is one I will not forget. It has been special, really special.”
Damian Hall from the UK has placed in the top 50 at UTMB, been on the podium at The Spine and The Dragons Back and he also found TCC a true test placing 5th overall.
“The heat has been punishing, combined with humidity was brutal. The terrain has been so varied, it’s runnable at times but then other times you are just drawing along. It’s a seriously challenging race and the line-up has been top quality, I am really happy with 5th. The camp sites are amazing, the food has been brilliant and all-in-all it’s been a fantastic experience.”
Iain Don-Wauchope and Ester Alves are the 2016 champions, but to be honest, it may well sound like a cliche, any runner who survived this incredible 6-day experience deserves the ultimate respect.
It has been an awesome edition and talk now turns to 2017. Who will be back? Word in camp just hours after the race confirms that a few familiar names will return…
The overall standing in the ladies’s race are now:
- Ester Alves 33:04:32
- Elisabet Barnes 33:46:20
- Amy Gordon 42:18:15
Full ladies’s results HERE
The overall standings in the men’s race are now:
- Iain Don-Wauchope 24:25:11
- Gonzalo Calisto 25:27:38
- Carlos Sa 25:46:59
Full men’s results HERE
Stage 6 is a wonderful looped lap of drake Bay – a victory lap.
Full race results HERE