The Long March

p>That was a long long long 15 hours and I was so happy when I crossed the finish! Second last stage is done with only 13km to the final Gobi March Finish! For sure one of the toughest things I’ve done. Extremely hard work. Little lost on writing this blog. Where to start. Enough to say but the words are not coming out. Tired, yes exhausted, fell asleep with my head torch still on. Says enough.


What made it so hard? To start, we entered the 80 km with already 150km under your belt, rough camp life and minimal food. Pacing yourself is so important, especially considering the heat, believe we reached the 50c. Managing the heat is crucial. You have to look after yourself, taking in the bars/gels/powers and the warm water at cp’s. It tastes disgusting but crucial to keep going. Another hard part is to keep the pace. From the start I set in a fast speed walk and pretty kept this for the first 35km; at times I was just as fast as some slow runners. Together with Paul we kept a great peace towards the end, hard but it worked.

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Caught up with a fellow racer Paul somewhere between CP3 and CP4 and together we completed the second 40 or so kilometers. It clicked. It gelled. Both knowing we were going to finish and we pulled each other through. Thanks! Makes such a difference to be buddied up, going solo in 45c hell on endless long terrain and numb making terrain will do your head in. We kept our top 20 placement throughout all the CP’s, was so happy to be in and had absolutely no expectations to be ranked that high.

Following the long stage is rest time. How much depends on how long you take to do the 80km. The last ones came in at 12noon the second day. When typing this post we’re 4pm on the rest day. Flaming Mountains Camp has turned into weird bunch of tired, hungry, smelly competitors with pretty much everyone limping around camp. Medical crew is doing overtime. Little to do other than rest in the shade and fantasize about food. My craving goes towards a huge plate of Nasi Goreng at mOre cafe. Even if there would be a frizebee or football no one would have the slightest ambition to pick it up.

Can’t wait to finish off the last stage. Gotta wear my sunglasses I’m sure. Still amazed how well my legs have kept. No joints issues, just general tiredness and stiffness end of the day. Got a few blisters on both feet, nothing near as some of the war feet I’ve seen here. Auch. Blisters are funny things: they hurt when you put your shoes on, they are killing for the first 10 minutes you walk on them and than they thankfully go numb. Not looking forward to remove all the tape under the shower tomorrow…

Again I would like to thank everyone for their messages. It certainly helps to keep on going knowing that family and friends are sending their love and energy.

More to follow once finished this race off.

Wouter

Note: All images by Dale de la Rey for Racing the Planet

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