After a chilly night under the stars at Cloud Forest Camp, our runners were up and about nervously packing and repacking kit before the sun rose. The sunrise this morning was a stunning pink that lit up the cloud inversion that sat in the valley below. We’re not certain the runners will have noticed as they hurriedly packed up their hammocks and crammed in breakfast.
Representatives of local Ecological organisations and a representative of the regional Mayor addressed the runners as they nervously waited at the start line as go time approached. They wanted to impress on everybody how glad they were that the race has returned after it’s pandemic enforced break. It’s a feeling that is absolutely mutual.
The sun was shining as the race began and continued to do so all day, the heat around midday was a drain on the runners resources but conditions cooled in the afternoon and running conditions were perfect. Though it’s worth noting that in typical rain forest fashion the clouds have now swamped the Madre de Dios Valley and our runners are currently in their hammocks nervously listening to the patter of constant rain on their rain covers and hoping they’ve erected their sleep station well enough to keep them dry until the morning.
The Stage today started with a steady couple of kilometres of downhill running on hard-packed mountain road before they go through a literal door into the jungle. A wooden door in a wooden frame standing alone, setting the dense jungle apart from the road above. From there, it’s a razor sharp descent down a narrow, muddy trail to the river bed below. In that river bed, among the jagged grey rocks and winding white water sits CP1. After refuelling here the runners face a similar climb back out of the other side of the valley. No easy task when the first 50 metres or so require a rope to keep you from falling back down to the river bed. Once at the top, the remaining distance is all on rocky mountain road. Easy to follow and steadily descending all the way to the finish line.
Jon Shield burst from the start line this morning straight into the lead and held it all day, only increasing his margin as the day went on. Alarmingly Jon only appears to be ticking over at the moment. Later in the week we’ll get to see what he’s really capable of.
The 2nd runner over the line, almost an hour later, was Nicasio, our local entrant, with Sergey Shcherbakov coming in in 3rd place just 10 minutes later.
The first women to reach the finish were Sheila Sanei and Rebecca Emslie. Both ran strongly today and supported each other throughout. Sheila has run with us before and no doubt had plenty of advice for first-timer Rebecca. In 3rd place was Michelle Hincks, another veteran of BTU races.
Stage Two begins at 0730 (1330 UK Time). Follow live via our GPS tracker and keep an eye out for updates across our social channels.
P.S. There were 11 snake sightings today.
Stage One Rankings: