The weather can be extremely changeable around here and it often doesn’t follow the forecasts. Today however was a rare exception. The weather improved massively, as predicted, meaning the runners had a beautiful view as the climbed over Mt Kabla and didn’t have to contend with the howling winds and zero visibility they struggled through last night.
Mt Kabla is the highest point on the race and the climb up is difficult, particularly given the layer of soft snow which fell yesterday. The views from the top are spectacular though, a suitable reward for the runners who’ve made their way up. It would be an exaggeration to say that it’s all downhill from that point but, once over the summit, they steadily undulate their way in a generally downward direction all the way to the finish.
Simon Grimstrup pulled off another commanding performance, showing his hill climbing prowess on the way up Kabla and holding his lead from there. Andre Hook took 2nd place again ahead of Wim Smout. It looks like the final podium could be taking shape, but there are a lot of kilometers between here and Jokmokk.
The first woman in the race is Norway’s Abelone Lyng who took 5th overall today. Abelone is thriving in the cold conditions which so closely resemble her home territory. She has a few problems with her feet but that’s pretty typical at this stage of a race this long. The next woman in the race is local runner Rianne Dessalaar who arrived at Arrenjarka this evening with a massive smile, describing the stage as beautiful. Joint third women were the medical duo of Georgie Hatton and Olivia Gokhale.
As the sun went down today the temperature dropped drastically to around the -30degree mark. The decision was made to bring the slowest runners down by snowmobile to limit the amount of time they would be spending in the dark and the extreme cold.
There are a few runners who, due to wear and tear and the effects of the cold, may not start Stage Three tomorrow. But, all runners are currently in bed in the heated cabins here at Arrenjarka getting a well-earned rest.
Tomorrow at 7am (6am UTC) they begin Stage Three. A 44km march including a 20km stretch of frozen lakes which will be our red jersey stage for the race.
[arve url=”https://youtu.be/hTe5cjOMaFg” /]