22nd February, 2019
It’s been another crisp and clear arctic day here in Swedish Lapland, thankfully free of snowfall and wind. The temperatures have been suitable arctic too, having dropped as far as minus 32 degrees as the runners took to the startline this morning.
Stage Three is made up predominantly of ice lake crossings. This has pros and cons. The pro of course is that lakes are flat, all the significant climbing has now been completed. Also, the ground underfoot is hard and snowshoes haven’t been required all day, something the runners are very happy about.
The con is that the lakes seem to go on forever. For the runners arriving at tonight’s camp in darkness the lakes can be a torment as the lights at the finish line are visible for kilometres and never seem to get any closer.
Also, the temperatures on the lakes the lowest on the race. These vast, open areas are completely exposed. Whenever a runner emerges from the occasional patches of woodland, the temperature drops drastically.
The flat terrain made for some fast running today. Andre Hook had the lead initially but he and Simon Grimstrup left CP1 together and remained side by side for the rest of the day and Simon – Andre entered CP1 first but left together and completed the day together. Wim Smout came in 3rd for the third day in a row, an hour behind the front pair. In fourth position and first woman for the third day in a row was Abelone Lyng who loos to be making relatively light work of her first multi-stage race.
The local pair of Niclas Svensson and Rianne Dessalaar had another good day. Niclas was very cold when he crossed the line but recovered quickly. Rianne seems to be getting stronger as the event goes on and looks like she could run for another month.
Two more runners have been forced to withdraw today, though both are in good health and safely tucked up in warm cabins now. Paul Rapaport and Tania Hodgkinson are now out of the running.
The final runners arrived at the isolated island of Laxholmen with a glimmer of the Northern lights in the sky behind them. The full moon makes the aurora hard to see but for a short while there was a green glow over the course.
Tomorrow the runners will set off in three waves. The slower runners will leave at 5am, the mid pack at 6am and the fastest at 7am.