Today is world rhino day. What a perfect time to have our runners cross the finish line, which is on the equator line, on Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy, home to the last 2 remaining Northern White Rhinos on earth. It’s almost as if we planned it this way.
We staggered the start this morning, having the main pack leave camp at 6:30am and the fastest 10 runners leave at 7am. It was thankfully a particularly cool morning, affording the runners a good chance of covering a decent amount of kilometers before the midday sun started to beat down.
Some of our walking wounded took to the line again today for a chance at crossing that finish line. Both Clive and Karl Midlane, who’ve been ill repeatedly throughout, picked themselves up this morning and powered their way through. Both have been a big hit around camp and no-one can deny that they’ve had a massive adventure despite not completing the course entirely.
Another honourable mention goes to Jacqui Palmer, our first ever Jamaican runner. She’s put in a massive effort every day and remained smiling despite numerous set-backs. She set out this morning determined to reach the finish. After a massive effort she crossed the line at a run accompanied by one of the biggest cheers of the day.
Undeniably, the actual biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Team Ranger One. These four have been truly indomitable and in high spirits throughout the race. These four working wildlife rangers are very familiar with this terrain and have many many friends across the conservancies. Consequently a large crowd was gathered around the finish as they approached the final stretch. Groups of rangers lined each side of the trail and ran in alongside their friends. There were some a few happy tears as the rangers collected their well-earned medals on world rhino day in front of the gathered crowd.
There are always tears of one kind or another at the finish line of a race of this epic size. The mixture of pride, relief, and excitement are often overwhelming and a few runners struggled to hold back. For that matter, so did a number of spectators.
As I type, the runners and race team are gathering in Sweetwaters Luxury Tented Camp for a celebratory meal and to exchange stories about the trail. We imagine there’ll be a few sore heads on the coach to Nairobi tomorrow morning.
The results for Stage Five and the overall results are listed below. We had a few battles today at the front of the race. Abe Nelson’s fantastic run yesterday meant he started the day with an advantage of almost an hour, but Skirmantas Sukackas tends to perform better on the flat and today’s stage played to those strengths. Skirmantas did indeed take the win today but by a matter of only 2 minutes ahead of Abe. Abe Nelson, therefore, takes the overall win here in Kenya and we offer our congratulations on an amazing performance. In third place today was Benjamin Rodgers who seemed to find something in reserve today and pushed to the limit. Third place overall, however, goes to Marcus Smith who had built up a substantial lead on Benjamin earlier in the race though he took it steadier today and came in in 8th.
The woman’s podium had been unchanged throughout the event. Sarah Watson led ahead of Liis Pagil with Reiko Kato in 3rd. At the beginning of today, Sarah had a 40 minute lead over Liis and both were a good distance ahead of Kato. They had previously finished every stage in that order but today, Liis pushed for the win. She crossed the line in first position today and we then waited nervously to see how long it would take Sarah to arrive. Just 20 minutes later Sarah crossed the line to take the overall race win. Reiko Kato once again arrive in third and holds that place in the overall standings.
We cannot say thank you enough to the brave rangers who watched over us, the conservancies who let us into their beautiful lands and to all of the runners themselves.
Remember why these runners put themselves through this. We’re all here to support our race partners at Save the Rhino and For Rangers. You can get involved yourself by donating to www.justgiving.com/campaign/forrangersultra2019 or even by applying to next year’s For Rangers Ultra. The ballot is open and will remain so for the next few days.
Thank you all too for sticking with us. It genuinely means the world to these runners that they are watched over by friends and family at home.
Goodnight from Kenya
|Overall Position||Name||Runner||Overall Duration|
|40||Edward (James) Savage||58||14:48:00|
|52||Richard Van Aardt||68||15:25:00|