5th June, 2019
The heavy rain yesterday started again in the night and continued well into the morning. Last night’s camp steadily became the type of quagmire usually associated with music festivals, but the runners were in remarkably good spirits when day broke this morning.
The relentless rain lead to some last-minute course changes overnight – apologies if this caused a little anxiety when attempting to follow the tracking system today. There were a handful of rivers along today’s intended course which had near quadrupled in volume and ferocity and it was judged too dangerous to cross through the area. Consequently, we created a new route which would start with two zipwire crossings of the widest and of these rivers and then wound through two local towns affording the runners the opportunity to experience a little more of rural Peru up close. Not that their feet will have thanked us for the extra time on the road.
There was a lot of excitement and trepidation among the runners as we ferried them in waves across the raging water and rocks below on our zipline, excitement only slightly tempered by the never-ending deluge.
The villagers who encountered the runners gave cheers, offered snacks and local children high fived and ran alongside our jungle runners as they passed along the way, a welcome distraction from the toe battering trail.
Then something wonderful happened. Around midday, some blue was spotted in the sky. Within an hour there wasn’t a cloud to be seen. At the checkpoints, medics finally removed waterproofs and donned sunglasses. Soon it was near impossible to imagine that it was the same day we’d woken up to.
The stage finished today at the village of Santa Rosa de Huacaria, one of our favourite places to stay. This small village take great pride in their traditions and history and welcomed each of our runners with a ceremonial necklace of beads made from decorated seeds. As the sun set this evening they even treated us to some traditional dancing.
Though the blazing sunshine throughout the afternoon took it’s toll, especially during the seemingly endless ascent towards Huacaria, once at camp everyone relished the opportunity to finaly dry some kit, air out sleeping bags and soak up a few rays. This village has developed alongside the race over the years and now boasts solar lighting and a shower block, two more things the runners are immensely grateful for today.
Unfortunately, our Exile Medic entrant, Adam Brown has been forced to retire having accumulated some truly epic blisters and Christine Jahn has also withdrawn. Both are safe and well at camp and will continue their adventure alongside the race.
All runners made it back to camp safe and sound last night. TThe new course had a new cut-off which was imposed at CP3. Takashi Okada and Hiro Takayama were ferried back from here by our race team. We can confirm that Martin Lambertson continues to dominate, winning his third stage in a row. France’s Mael Jouan seemed to enjoy this road stage and thrived throughout, finishing in second position ahead of Frode Lein. Mael is now only 7 minutes behind Frode making for a fight for 2nd place. Hilary Clinton is still comfortably first female after another excellent stage win with trailmates Carolin Botterill and Jo Bauswein in joint second.
Tomorrow is the Lull. This notoriously wet, muddy and technical stage is a contender for the toughest stage on any of our races and the rain we’ve had will likely make it even tougher than usual. The runners will need their rest tonight. Join us at 7:30am local time (2pm UTC) to follow the action.
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