A miracle occurred yesterday. Around 4am the rain stopped and hasn’t been seen since. It’s still cloudy and there’s a lot of mist around, after a couple of very rainy days humidity will be even higher than usual and it’s usually damp in this neck of the woods. There will be some sweaty runners around today. And muddy.
Stage Two starts with a 20km stretch of logging road which rolls gently downhill through beautiful cloud forest and then through some small villages where our runners get to see a few of the locals who stand out by the road to call out their support. After this, the runners enter a long off-road section. Their first taste of jungle proper. Mud under foot, bugs in the air and mile after mile of short but steep climbs and endless small river crossings. It was, by all accounts, brutal.
Still, the appearance of the sun made it seem like a celebration. The medics were partying in the checkpoints, entertaining the runners with panpipes as they came through, and there was a sense of relief among runners and crew alike.
The camp they were aiming for was Tono Ranger Station. Previous runners will remember this place for it’s basic amenities and rustic charm. They’ll also be jealous to hear that this year a proper flushing toilet has been installed alongside an actual shower! In previous years runners have headed out of the camp and into the river which runs by in order to cool down and wash off the mud and sweat, not so this year.
Daniel North dropped out of the race at the end of today’s stage, the stretch of thick jungle proved too much for his legs, but he’s safe and well and will be staying to support brother Ben who is going strong.
Jamie Bromfield (pictured above) seemed to relish the tough terrain and finished the stage in first position and putting himself into the lead overall. Sean Budden came in next with Pete Liggins not far behind. Jamie, Sean and Pete are currently 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall with only 10 minutes between them.
In the womens’ race, Lucie Luft also seemed to thrive in the jungle and came through first by over 40 minutes. Carolin Botterill came next with Barbara Jones following 50 minutes behind. Only 14 minutes separate Lucie and Carolin in 1st and 2nd overall.
Further down the field, the runners are looking strong and making their way determinedly along the course. Bringing up the rear are Hiro Takayama and Takashi Okada, our very own Godzilla. He wore his monster mask through most of yesterday’s stage. Though given how treacherous the footing is in the jungle and that he and Hiro had to tackle this section in the dark, we imagine he took it off in there. There is no shame in bringing up the rear in a race like this. The backmarkers spend the longest time on the course and have the least recovery time between stages. They are as tough as they come.
The runners are currently out on Stage Three and the weather is still, thankfully, pretty delightful. We’ll post more as soon as the jungle internet will allow!
|Position||Name||Stage One||Stage Two||Stage Three||Stage Four||Stage Five||TOTAL|
|5||Matthew Von Ertfelda||4:57:03||5:38:50||5:59:09||5:04:50||5:30:15||27:10:07|
|27||Tina Gerster Nygaard||6:35:36||7:35:45||8:34:44||8:22:57||7:21:19||38:30:21|
[arve url=”https://youtu.be/x8qnTjSyDqI” title=”Epic Drone shots from the Jungle Ultra” /]