What a tough first day for the MDS Peru! Hot temperatures and a course of very mixed terrain made the journey from Cahuachi to Coyungo a really tough one. To all intents and purposes, it was a fact day with very little climbing, to be honest, it was a day with more downhill running based on the course profile.
It was expected that Peruvian runner, Remigio Huaman would be motivated to set the pace at the front and he didn’t disappoint. He pushed ahead with Both African runner, Iain Don Wauchope. The gap opened up slightly but the ever watchful Rachid El Morabity was keeping them in contact along with Erik Clavery and Julien Chorier.
It wasn’t long before El Morabity reeled the duo in and forged ahead. The writing was on the wall, the five time winner of Marathon des Sables Morocco was showing his experience and the others could only watch. Huaman followed in 2nd and then Clavery with Chorier not far behind. Unfortunately, Don Wauchope was struggling with a bug that I had picked up just a few days before the race – it made him feel flat despite his early pace.
With just over 6km to go, the Moroccan was well ahead of the chasers but surprisingly it was Chorier who arrived second. It turned out that both Huaman and Clavery were suffering in the heat. Regrettably, the heat and illness saw the South African to a walkbut he battled to finish the stage.
It was victory for the El Morabity, he looked in a class of his own out on day 1 in MDS Peru and for sure, just as predicted, he is going to be the one to beat.
For the ladies race, just as in the men’s race, experience counted. Nathalie Mauclair dictated the race and the pace straight from the gun and with the passing of each kilometre, the French lady extended her lead for victory.
Melanie Rousset ran Mauclair close early on but in the latter stages, she too suffered from the heat and dehydration and was forced to pace herself to the line.
Rocio Carrion flew the Peruvian flag placing 3rd.
It was a tough day… no doubt and a route of much variety. In particular, passing small villages and sharing time with the locals was a highlight.
Tomorrow’s stage is 42.2km and takes in impressive dunes and a canyon.
The inaugural 2017 MDS Peru has well and truly begun!