Dominical Beach to Ventenanas Beach, 48km
Ants, ants everywhere! But hey, that’s camping right? These little fellas are small but they bite! I made the big mistake of leaving my bag open… it turned into a little ‘night club’ for the little critters. So, 0330 this morning as my alarm went off was all about getting rid of the darn things before I could do anything.
The camp is a buzz early morning. Anticipation for a new day, nerves of what lies ahead and tired bodies ‘testing’ quads and calf’s to see if they will function today. Yesterday saw four drops and several people move down from the Expedition category to the shorter, Adventure category.
I left at 0500 to arrive at a trailhead and then I had a 4-5km run in along the race route to the Nauyaca Waterfalls… impressive! I had to run the trail with a head torch. It was thick, deep, slippery clay and with reduced visibility one could say it was fun!
Today’s route, the longest so far, had the first imposed cut offs, 7 hours at CP2 and 9 hours at CP3.
The route had a real mix of terrain today. Dense forest, waterfalls, river crossings, and a very long beach section that would be taken in the heat of the day. Many of the runners had some worries of what would lie ahead.
At 0545, with the rising of the sun, the ‘gun’ sounded and they were off. We anticipated the first runner at the waterfalls at approximately 0700. Dave James arrived on the dot… the stage 2 decision to run with Ismael was not being applied today. He arrived looking sharp, fast and focused. He navigating the crossing quickly and was up the trail in a flash. He later told me that he had worked out from the previous day that Ismael was not as good on the ‘ups’, so, he decided to push hard early, hold a gap and then try to beat his own CR for the stage.
It was over 10 minutes later before Ismael Dris arrived looking less comfortable. He was more thoughtful with his foot placing’s and in contrast to Dave James you could see him loosing fractions of time with each foot strike.
Because the waterfall section was so early in the stage I stayed to see all the runners through. I was rewarded to see the sun rise above the falls and provide us with some of the most remarkable light.
Rob Harsh from Boulder, Colorado gave me an insight into the day.
How was the early section from the start to the waterfall?
“I started easy, very comfortable. It was mostly double track. It was nice and cool, Loads of sounds from the forest. Under foot the terrain was rocky, rough and hard”
And then you arrived at the waterfall; tell me what that was like?
“Awesome, one of the best I have seen. I jumped in too cool down but I wanted to savor the moment. It felt like healing water”
From the waterfall you had to climb up to the next checkpoint?
“Yes, really pretty. Dense rainforest. Green, dark and mossy. Loved it! Then it opened up and we ran a country road”
That road lead to the first high point, did you get good views?
“Great views, rolling hills and the forest in the distance. We could also see the next climb but temperatures at this stage were still cool”
And the climb to the second and final summit?
“It was long and plenty of bushwhack. That’s what I want though… it was hard. The vines grabbed our feet. I was alone for this section. It was great to listen to the sounds, the descent was brutal. Really steep in sections. It shattered your muscles. I was glad to see the beach”
The beach… that was some long hot beach hey?
“I probably ran three quarters of the beach. But it was really hot water. It was hotter than running at Badwater…” really, hotter than Badwater? “Yeah, the humidity down here is just sapping. It is unbearable. You have to pay so much attention to hydration”
Did you take a dip at the end of the beach?
“For sure, it felt like a spa. The suffering ebbed away as we soaked”
And then you had a short and some dense forest to the road?
“Yep, super dense. Lots of wildlife and you had to almost cut your way through”
How did you feel on the final 4km road section?
“Ecstatic, for the first time that section was shorter than predicted. The finish was a welcome sight. It was a great day”
How do you feel for tomorrow, it’s a shorter day but more climbing?
“I think I have my groove now. I am sore, tired but I have no feet problems. Gonna stay steady and enjoy the scenery and hopefully enjoy the finish”
From the waterfall, I ran back to the car and then went to the start of the Adventure Race (and CP3 for the Expedition).
I now ran the entire Adventure section capturing images of runners as they progressed along the Playa Hermosa and then Playa Uvita. It was now mid morning and the heat was beating down. It was really hard work. At the end I waited in the shade to capture Dave James and Ismael as they ran towards me. Dave arrived still looking incredibly strong. He had gone off course and was really frustrated but his lead was secure. However, id pre race objective of maybe setting a new CR was gone. After the race I asked what happened “Some of the course markings had been moved which is very unusual for this race. I wasted time finding my way back to the route. These things happen but I was feeling really good”
His lead was secure; Ismael was nearly 30 minutes behind.
At the finish weary and tired runners arrived in dribs and drabs expressing the satisfaction of having endured a tough but beautiful day in Costa Rica.
Tents were pitched and food was consumed. Our campsite today was next to the beach and as the sun set, we had the treat of Humpback Whales swimming close to the shore.
What a day! Pura Vida.
- Dave James
- Ismael Dris
- Henry Monestel
- Angela Mayer
- Irene Hay
- Trisha Perez
Times to follow (apologies)
Overall Results at the end of stage 2:
- D James 7:57
- I Dris 8:43
- H Monestel 10:09
- T Peres 12:03
- I Hale 12:40
- S White 12:49
A selection of images from the day can be viewed HERE
Day 4 is another tough stage with a tough climb and then a series of peaks at altitude and then a VERY steep descent.