|Mud right above the knees!!|
|Laundry time :-)|
The rest of the day was spent resting and preparing for the next stage. We finally received information of our results at around 20:00. I was glad to find out that I finished 2nd in my category and 11th in the total classification. I tried to get more information regarding the difference in time with the other runners in front/ behind of me and was assured by the staff/volunteers that they will only have this information after 21:00.
After 6km, I was already feeling exhausted. I checked my watch all the time to see the residual distance to the end of the ascent. Only 1km before that, Marco de Gasperi, the leader in the Male Solo was already coming down like a storm, chasing the Argentine Sergio Trecaman, who was in front of him by just a few metres. I experienced a rush of unforgettable moments of ‘high competition’ which inspired me and made me push a little bit harder against my tired limits.
|Start Point of Stage 3|
Feeling a little more motivated, Sean and I continued to overtake more runners and then, something magical actually happened after the string of unfortunate incidents which have befallen me since the start of the day!! We saw Amy and Emma just a few metres ahead of us!!! Despite our delayed start, we realised then that we had managed to cover the gap significantly with these 2 top runners and this was an indication of how fast we have been running so far.
Both of us were more than happy to follow Amazing Emma’s pace from then on. After a long downhill on the volcano's slope, we found ourselves in a tropical forest with extremely muddy and slippery path, just like the first stage. Emma was doing an amazing job (as usual), pushing as hard as she could, and Sean and I followed her pace. The most ridiculous thing was that all of us were running without knowing the distance we were supposed to be covering for that day!! Even Emma was completely unaware of it. However, a few minutes later, we were informed by a volunteer who was standing in a critical slippery part of the path that we had only 8km to go before the Finish Line. This newly-acquired piece of precious information gave a boost to our pace and we carried on "rolling" down the slippery-muddy paths with dangerous trees blocking our route.
I found out much later after the race (for the organiser did not even have any of this information at the Finish Line!!) that I have lost a position for a mere 13" to none other than my Irish friend, Sean!!! My final classification at the race was 2nd in my Age Category and 13th among the 1094 runners who had completed the race in all 3 stages.
|The top 3 Male & Female winners|
In closing this post, I will like to thank my lovely wife, Hannis, who has had to endure much discomfort during the 3 days she spent 'chasing' after me and the other runners. Due to some misunderstanding caused by language problem, her luggage did not travel with her during the 3 days she was on the move with the other reporters/journalists/photographers of the Media Team. She had to 'rough it out' and survived without change of clothes/toiletries etc. I must admit she is a real tough cookie and her transformation from a high-living city girl to an adventurous-outdoor-bohemian chick really amazes me, even now! Thanks, Love, for your loyal support and your ability to laugh at difficult times and dismiss them as trivial, as you always do. Here is a photo of us together to end this journey, and until my next posting, Hasta La Vista, Amigos!!
|Photo Credit : Sean Clifford (my cool Irish friend!)|