The Medic and Sami teams have been on top of their game today as the longest trail of the tour and the never-ending snow take their toll on the tired runners.
A cut-off has been imposed at checkpoint 5 where runners who took longer than 12 hrs to reach it were ferried to the finish by road. 3 runners have been short coursed at this point. 6 more either didn’t start or have been taken off the course by the medics today. The teams have been unbelievably fast throughout the day and everyone in their care is recovering well. The medics are on top of their games and the Sami team know how to get top speed out of a snow-mobile!
Everybody crossing the line has looked totally spent. Cruelly the hardest part of the trail comes after the 50th kilometre when the runners find themselves in deeper softer snow just at a time when the accumulated calorie deficit is at it’s worst and the temperature is plummeting around them. The cruellest twist though lays in the last 500m. The runners emerge from woodland and can see the lights at the finish line on the other side of a lake which looks like little more than a paddling pool compared to the expanses of water they’ve gotten used to.
However, this lake is dotted with half frozen surface water. A thick layer of slush hiding under a few inches of powdery snow. If your foot goes through into that soup, when you lift it out again you’ll find that it freezes solid and hangs on your snowshoes like concrete. From the finish we can see their head torches out on the lake and it’s taking them an age to get to us.
It’s worth remembering at this point that the 2015 race had patches like this on almost every lake crossing!
We have a large heated tepee waiting for them and the medics are using the sauna to warm people back up when they reach the finish. Luxury!
Vicente finished the stage in daylight. His performance has been incredible. Karl Heinz Reigl, Takao Kitada and Taco Jongman are still all fighting hard despite an injury to Taco and illness causing Karl to struggle to get food in.
It’s going to be a long lonely night for some of the runners but they’ll arrive here with only 15km left to go tomorrow.
The weather tomorrow is clear and wind free again and we’ll have some treats waiting at the finish line!
|12||Ann Marie Larkin||112||06:45:00||23:38:00||16:53:00|