23rd November, 2019
At 6am local time, Francois, our chief Namibian rooster impersonator gave his usual morning alarm call and our day got off to a start. There were some sore legs around camp tonight, and the night had been a chilly one, but all-in-all our runners started the day in good condition.
The air temperature was cooler this morning but there was no breeze at all this morning so the runners still felt the heat. By midday, thankfully, a stiff breeze had started, not only cooling the runners but pushing them along too. The terrain for the first half of the course today is undulating and continues steadily upwards right the way through to the midpoint of the stage so the chance to gain some altitude and tick off some kilometres was welcome.
Jason Carpenter started the day as an honorary member of the race team today, joining the team at checkpoint one. However, when a couple of his friends showed signs of struggling in the heat, Jason picked up his pack and tracker and, after receiving clearance from our team, accompanied them throughout the rest of the stage, continuing his desert adventure.
The camp tonight is again in a dry river bed, this time not too far from the small mining town of Uis. At the time of writing the sun has set and the wind has picked up, cooling down the par-boiled runners. It looks like being a cooler night all round though and this will disrupt some much needed sleep.
In the first 10km or so the runners were able to see all the way back to the Spitzkoppe and the site of our original Base Camp. This gives a real sense of scale to the race and a boost to the runners mentally as they can see just how much they’ve already achieved. After this comes a long stretch across Damara farm land. This area is comparatively barren and a few racers have pointed to the mind-bending effect of covering long distances when there is very little to focus on but the Brandberg Mountain which looms on the horizon never seeming closer or further away.
Our Race Director is effectively here on holiday and has insisted from the start that he’ll just bimble through and that we wouldn’t consider him an official part of the race. Still, something lit a fire under him this morning and he decided to test his legs. It took everything he had to be first across the line a minute ahead of Julen Calzada Urdaibai who, in comparison, seems to coast through the sand. Kris has elected to make tomorrow a bit more of a fun-run again. Julen takes the official stage win and currently leads the race by 33 minutes. 2nd today was Namibian runner Wim Steencamp who seems to be thriving on his home territory. Behind him in 3rd today was Anthony Jounnic of France, though Dave Mohring, who had a steadier day today, sits in 3rd overall.
Among the women, the positions stayed the same. Kazia Orzechowska took the stage win and is current leader overall. Eliza Miles took 2nd again and holds 2nd overall. Today’s 3rd placed runner was Bronia Lewis of Australia who picked up the pace after feeling the heat yesterday. Tamara Radovic still holds 3rd overall currently.
Tomorrow is the White Lady Marathon. 42km is nothing to be sniffed at but the reduction in stage length will seem like a blessing for the runners. Still, temperatures are expected to be high again and the first 15km or so tomorrow are run entirely in a dry river bed swimming in thick, loose sand. There are no easy days on the Desert Ultra.
Join us at 8am (6am UTC) and follow the race live via our GPS tracker.
Apologies for the times missing from tonight’s results. The final 4 runners are safe and well but we have a narrow window of opportunity to post results and we’ve had to publish before these times were verified. They will be confirmed tomorrow.
Stage Two Results
|Julen Calzada Urdaibai||05:29:00|
|Marc Antoine Colonna||07:07:00|
|Julen Calzada Urdaibai||11:02:00|
|Marc Antoine Colonna||15:08:00|