Last night was a late finish and normally, the priority would be all about getting off the trail, eating, getting clean and sleeping. However, Mike’s finish was in the middle of nowhere and that required a lengthy drive out. The plus side, the team had dinner with a Bedouin family (quite an experience) and then a night in a ‘real’ bed with a shower – luxury!
The following morning, we had the lengthy drive back to Mike’s day 3 finish point before he could start day 4. Time is precious in a FKT and this was eating in to Mike’s run time.
A cloudy and dull start soon cleared though to reveal blue skies with patchy white and fluffy clouds.
I am continually blown away by Mike’s attitude. He never seems tired, always positive, gives continual thanks to the team helping and is always prepared to add 1 extra mile to his day if he can. Barring injury, I am convinced Mike will get this FKT! Quite simply, if he needs to move for 24-hours towards the end, he will!
The first three days of this journey really have been truly spectacular. I spent a long time on the trail with Mike today (37km actually) and we discussed how we had both been surprised and impressed by the daily surprises Israel has provided. It’s fair to say, we knew very little before this FKT and our eyes have been opened.
Mike was once again metronomic in his running, however, a troublesome stomach in the first hour or so irritated him and also a pair of shorts was just not working out! Once he solved both of those issues, the miles clicked along.
There were two incredible highlights today and both involved technical challenges, Hod Akev and Karbolet. The first had a steep climb and wonderful single-track descent with ladders and via Ferrata.
The latter, Karbolet, is known as the hardest and most challenging section of the whole Israel National Trail – it was stunning. It involved a long technical climb with rungs, exposure and technical sections. Once at the summit, the trail went up and down, mostly on angled slabs of rock. To the left, a drop to the valley below.
Karbolet was brutal. Both myself and a pacer ‘Avi’ joined Mike for this long, almost 20km section and it took us almost 5-hours – the latter hours in complete darkness. A highlight though, without doubt, was sunset on the ridge.
Once down, Mike then continued on for another 5km with ‘Uri’ to conclude his day at 2130 in the evening, over 13-hours on the trail.
Tomorrow will be an 0600 start and will be our last day in the desert. From day-6 we head north with new scenery and experiences.
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