It was a 0330am wake-up in camp this morning with race start at 0530am. It may sound early, but trust me, the earlier hours pay dividends for everyone. Body clocks are now reset, bed between 1900-1800, wake-up 0330.
Sebastian Krogvig unfortunately succumbed to his sickness and did not finish day 1. He will rest and recovery and hopefully rejoin the race in the later stages for fun.
Mood in camp was buoyant, however, nobody was under any illusion of the severity of the TCC. The heat and humidity are one thing, but the fire roads, climbs, technical trails and long stretches of no shade a punishing.
“They say Marathon des Sables is hot, it’s nothing in comparison to this. I was in the ‘notorious’ October MDS that had intense heat, trust me, it’s hotter here!” – Mathieu Blanchard
Climbing out of camp, mountain man Dani Jung was in his element and he lead Mathieu Blanchard and Didrik Hermansen. Peter van der Zon was a way back, it was obvious he was struggling… As he passed he mentioned tight hip flexors.
For the women, Marianne Hogan had a very small lead over Katie Schide. Katie looking strong, the previous night she had questioned if she should withdraw from the race as illness from previous days had returned on stage 1 making for a tough day.
Didrik and Mathieu set a relentless pace, they are very well matched. Running at this pace and in this heat and humidity, victory may well come down to the one who manages effort the best, it’s a fine line.
In the final 10km Mathieu opened a slender lead and Didrik chased. The gap remained and it was another victory for Mathieu.
Dani was 3rd, he looked relaxed and in control, he is running a smart race.
In the women’s race, Katie opened a gap on Marianne and in the final 7km that gap opened, post-race on the finish line Katie discussed her race:
“I was so happy to recover from yesterday, that was helped by cooler temperatures and a climb to start the day today… I had planned to run with Marianne but on one of the more technical sections I opened up a gap. When I eventually looked around Marianne was not there, I hope she is okay?”
Marianne was okay and finished strong with a smile looking relaxed and at ease. With 4-days to go and a long day tomorrow, there are no guarantees, the men’s and women’s races are still wide-open.
The biggest change of the day was with the 3rd place woman, Paolo Herrera. She ran an incredibly strong and consistent race to finish with a good margin over Tomomi Bitoh, this making the local Costa Rican contingent very happy.
Stage 3 tomorrow is 40km and 1828m+
- Mathieu Blanchard 3:38:01
- Didrik Hermansen 3:38:29
- Dani Jung 3:57:15
- Katie Schide 4:22:47
- Marianne Hogan 4:37:12
- Paola Herrera 5:18:28
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