As the runners were rubbing their eyes and trying to crowbar themselves back into clammy lycra this morning at breakfast, our teams were out on the course clearing a path through the elephants who had decided to graze along the early parts of the trail.
The professionalism, precision and speed the rangers work at is a testament to their passion for their role and to the work of For Rangers in helping to support the continued training and personal development of the ranger teams. We all owe them a debt for their service out here in the field.
At a little after 7am this morning, our runners headed out into the field too. Todday’s stage was a short step up in difficulty level from yesterday. The temperature today has been a little higher, the elevation more severe and the distance a few kilometres further.
That said, there are great rewards for those who are able to remember to keep their chin up through the struggling and look around. The yellow light this morning adds a glow to the scenery and we were all treated to a crystal clear view of the summit of Mt Kenya on the climb up towards CP1.
The most technical and longest climbs of the day were all crammed into the first ten kilometres and, as a consequence, a few of the runners carrying issues from yesterday had to call it a day there. Clive Midlane, Hiro Takayama and Manabu Yamayoshi didn’t have a wasted day though as they were escorted to camp by one of our reconnaissance helicopters, meaning they were still able to see the whole course and to spot animals from the sky. The younger of the Midlane duo, Karl managed to push on beyond CP2 but was later picked up by our team too. All four are in good spirits and may well take to the start line again later in the race.
There are always some great stories on events such as this and it would be remiss of us to complete our race reports without mentioning Yoshiaki Ishihara. This Japanese runner has completed around 50 ultra races since taking up running at the age of 51. He is now 73 years old and still stoically powering through the kilometres. We have high hopes for him.
It was a relatively quiet day for elephants today, though we expect to see many more during the next few days. What we did see an abundance of today on Borana’s sprawling, grassy plains, were herds of Zebra and Buffalo and a lot of Giraffe striding through the patchy trees. The very first runners to the finish were even treated to the sight of two white rhinos, on the hillside which looks over tonight’s camp.
Those first runners were somewhat different to yesterday’s. American runner Abram Nelson set a startling pace this morning and steadily puled ahead of the chasing pack throughout the day. He finished today’s stage an exceptional thirty four minutes ahead of the 2nd placed runner. That runner was yesterday’s winner, Skirmantas Sukackas. In 3rd today was Marcus Smith, who took 2nd yesterday. Both Skirmantas and Marcus are both looking very strong though. Expect a battle for the podium.
Sarah Watson stepped up from her already excellent performance yesterday coming in 5th overall today, eleven minutes ahead of 2nd woman, Liis Pagil. 3rd today was Reiko Kato once again leaving the top three unchanged.
Team Ranger One have had another excellent day, finishing right in the middle of the pack again. Consistency has been their watch-word as they march through the terrain.
At the time of writing, all of our runners and race team are gathered in tonight’s camp, a semi-circle of tents on an open plain surrounded on 3 sides by hills, one of which they’ll need to climb when the race begins again tomorrow. We won’t tell them that yet though.
There will be two waves of runners tomorrow morning as we adjust to their pace. The slower runners will set off at 7am and the main pack at 8am. They’ll have 47km to cover as they make their way into Lolldaiga Conservancy.
Below you’ll find today’s results, plus the overall top performers including the first three women.
Good Night from Kenya
|Julen Calzada Urdaibai||15:59:00|
|Marc Antoine Colonna||22:04:00|
|4||Julen Calzada Urdaibai||2:52:00|
|7||Marc Antoine Colonna||3:08:00|