After the seemingly never-ending rain during the first half of the race, there was a lot of trepidation among both the race team and the runners about what the conditions on Stage Four would be like. We needn’t have worried. The conditions today were perfect.
After a short shower in the early hours of the morning dissipated as the sun rose, and for the rest of the day the sun shone. This kept the water levels low enough to pass safely on the rafts and boats we draft in to ferry people over the widest rivers. That’s not to say that the stage was easy. Even in the most favourable conditions stage four is mud-slicked, humid and strewn with steep climbs and technical terrain.
It’s impossible to maintain a consistent pace on this terrain and runners commonly spend almost as much time falling over as moving forward. It can be mind-bending because all the runners’ calculations about how long it will take to cover the distances between checkpoints go out of the window as the scramble their way through to mire. There are a lot of beautiful sights along the way though, plenty enough to reward anyone who remembers to look around from time to time. This is the jungle they signed up for.
It’s been a mix of emotions at the finish line. Plenty of people described it as amazing, one very experienced runner described it as the hardest stage of any race they’d ever done, and a few were driven to tears by the day.
Unfortunately, Sharon Dick, Christine Jahn, Adam Brown and Jakub Jasinski weren’t on the start line this morning due to a variety of minor ailments, but they at camp among the runners and sharing in the adventure in any way they can. During the day, Susantiningsih Szefler, Hiro Takayama and Takashi Okada weren’t able to finish the stage today and were brought back to camp by boat. They may take to the line in the morning, but this will be confirmed after they’ve had a sleep.
Unsurprisingly, Martin Lambertsen took his 4th stage win in a row. If anything he seems to be getting stronger day by day. Frode Lein took second position again despite some stomach issues limiting his calorie intake over the last couple of days. Mael Jouan of France took third position again and now sits 28 minutes behind Frode. This may sound a lot, but over the long stage it’s a gap which could definitely be closed. Hilary Clinton continues to be the dominant female runner taking first place today and lying in 7th overall. She is now the only female runner on the leaderboard as the rest took the short course to the finish line today.
Tomorrow the runners will need to scrape themselves out of their hammocks around 3:30am to be ready to run at 4:30 (10:30am UTC). They’ll then take on a stage which has a little bit of everything they’ve had to face so far. Though, with luck, not the rain.
|Julen Calzada Urdaibai||05:29:00|
|Marc Antoine Colonna||07:07:00|