Greetings from Camp 3 ("Sea of Sand") at the end of the second leg of the 2011 Sahara Race.
I completed today's distance of 41.6 km in 7h08, 26th position overall for the day.
There is just one way to describe today's course (official name - "Through the Sand Valley") - brutal - in terms of loose sand and the heat (at least 40 degrees, but to be officially confirmed later today).
The morning started quite comfortable until the first water point (11.2km), but from 08h30 onwards it just bacame to hot to run. I still feel good, even after today's tough outing, but managing the next two days (42.6km and 40.4km) before the 86.4 km log run (stage 5 on Thursday), will be crucial to finish this monster of a race.
At the same time, there is a fine line between going slower and spending more time in this heat.
We finished today's leg with two massive climbs (the first covered approx. 2km and a 200m climb in soft sand, and then after a slight downhill on the other side, we finished with another 1km climb.
I used my tracking poles for the first time today and I'm very happy that they are in my back pack.
- Health - no injuries, early signs of a blister or two, a few toe nails will be gone before the end of the race of soon thereafter;
- Clothing - my special Nike sleeping shorts / running pants are getting good attention!. They are also very comfortable. For the rest, we are all very dirty and dusty, and with no running water, Saturday's first shower after the race will be an amazing experience;
- Tent mates - we are 9 people in tent 11 - Geoff (South Africa), Lawrence (South Africa Hong Kong), Patricia (Germany), Peter (Germany), Todd (Canada / Hong Kong), Kubu (Russia / USA), Aren (Holland / Singapore), Nigel (UK / USA), and me;
- All runnners - great camaraderie and spirit between all runners.
On a lighter note, Geoff and I have been doing our very best to keep South Africa's name high. With our Springbok flag firmly planted between our sleeping bags in our tent, we are snoring everyone out of the tent at night - thus creating more space and a competitive advantage during the race!
I will not win this race, but given my reputation developed during last year's Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, when it comes to snoring, everyone else is competing for second place, especially in dusty and sandy conditions such as the Sahara Desert!
Turning to the "No Pain No Gain Campaign", today was the turn of Starfish Greathearts Foundation in terms of profiles published on NGO Pulse, while I did today's run wearing the orange armband of Starfsh.
Tomorrow, the focus shift to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), one of the best known South African NGOs. CANSA has a proud history in raising awareness about the dangers of cancer and supporting cancer survivors.
Please support the "No Pain No Gain Campaign" and the work of CANSA by making a donation at http://www.ngopulse.org/npng.
I will be running tomorrow 's leg of the Sahara Race wearing a pink armband to highlight the unique work of CANSA.
Remember, there is nothing to gain without a bit of pain!