Saturday, 10 March 2012

Atacama Crossing 2012, CHILE : Stage 6 - 9km

Finally, the day which we have all been looking forward to has finally arrived!! I was awake in the early hours of the morning and found myself reflecting on the past 7 days, re-playing every second of those days over and over again on my mind. The limit I have pushed myself during those few days have finally taken a toll on my body. I somehow felt very weak today and even the thought of running the remaining mere 16km did not manage to lift my spirit. Imagine my joy when we were informed by the organiser that we will only be running 9km to the Finish Line at San Pedro!! This new-found fact did manage to bring a little smile to my face, coupled, of course, with the fact that I will be meeting my wife whom I have not seen for the past 1 week, at the end of the Race.

That was me, in blue, wandering around, collecting my thoughts!

A last gathering around the fire before the start of the final stage

I had known by now that the third position is almost mine to keep unless something went horribly wrong with me in the final stage. With that in mind, I started off and kept my pace at a comfortable rhythm, reminding myself not to exert my poor body too much, lest I will not be able to enjoy my well-deserved holidays after the race in Rio de Janeiro!!

The row of supporters, including my wife (front, kneeling)
The atmosphere among the runners before we set off and during the final run was incredible. Everyone was, by now, running for fun and racing against each other playfully to the Finish Line. As I was approaching the then unseen Finish Line, I could hear the sounds of drums beating and the roar of laughter and cheers from afar. With this audio encouragement alone, I found myself momentarily picking up in speed and energy.

With the drummer and rows of supporters finally in view, my pace quickened and with my hands holding the blue-and-white Greek flag over my head, I did my ceremonious-final-leap at the Finish Line before falling into the arms of my wife. The euphoria sweeping over me during those final moments was simply indescribable!! If the atmosphere before the start of the race that morning has been incredible, it was even more so at the square of San Pedro that afternoon. All of us were congratulating one another, posing for photographs and of course, rushing to the food station for some real food and fizzy drinks!!

Me, at the Finish Line!!

Champion Vincente, me & Runner-Up, David 

Me and Zandy

Me & tent-mate Joel
Me and the rest of the gang
Me & Daniel

Me & Roger

Me and tent-mates, Nick & Massimo

Me & my wife, Hannisze

After receiving the beautiful pewter medal from Alina, my wife and I headed to a nearby restaurant for more food and some cold, inviting beer!! We were entertained by a man and his two very friendly llamas while we sat waiting for our food. Strangers I have never met before came up to our table to congratulate me. I felt ecstatic that I have finally achieved what I have set out to do in this race. In all honesty, a rush of emotions came over me as I sat there, sipping my beer. I really cannot find words to describe them all here!

I am really blessed to have such amazingly wonderful tent-mates, Massimo, Joel, Nick, Chris, Matt, Brett, Inne and Kate, who have kept me sane and laughing during those difficult days in the wild desert. Thank you so much, guys! Without you all, I am sure my whole experience will be a very different one than the incredible one which I have had!

My wonderful tent-mates from Tent 6!! 

Me & the Belgian volunteer with strong arms
who caught me at the end of Stage 5!! 
I am also grateful to the volunteers for the relentless help they have rendered me when I needed them. I practically fell into the arms of one of them at the end of the exhausting Long March!! And of course, I will forever remember all the support and encouraging messages and prayers I have received from my families, friends and strangers. I want you all to know that I was often touched to the point of unashamedly shedding tears when reading them at the Cybertent. I looked forward to these messages so much each day when I finished my race. I have met and made friends with so many amazing runners around the world at this race, each of them with an inspiring story to tell, each of them a winner in their own right. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and it has ignited in me the desire to participate in more interesting races to come!!

Till my next race, I bid you adieu for now!!!


  1. Congratulations on a fantastic race and a well-earned third place, Argi!

    Thank for sharing your race with us both in person and now with your blog.

    Good luck for your next adventure my friend.

  2. Congratulations to you too, Daniel, for doing so well yourself! The experience at Atacama has been amazing, hasn't it? Hope to run with you again soon!!