STAGE 5 UPDATE
Stage 5 – The Long March
Today is the day that everyone waits for - some dreading, some looking forward to and some don’t know how they feel. Today is what it is all about.
160km done. 63km for the Long March.
The course was shortened due to weather conditions and the change of Camp last night. The total distance was 63 km / 39 miles with six Checkpoints. The distances by checkpoint were:
Racers started at 8am and got off to a flying start.
There was one new non-starter, Bo-Yun Jun from Korea.
The competition at the front of the pack among the Top 7 is exciting. Before the Long March:
- The leader (Florian Vieux) is 2 hours ahead of 2nd place
- There is just 16 minutes between 2nd and 3rd place (Jeff Pelletier and Matthew Cavanaugh)
- 4th place (Mauricio Rodriguez Saenz) is less than one hour off the podium
- There are 4 hours between 2nd and 7th places. This may seem like a lot but over 63kms anything can happen
For the women
- There are 3 hours between the top 4 women
- Just 2 minutes between 2nd and 3rd place (Nicky Eckstein and Anim Swart)
On the day Florian Vieux took off – and 2nd place Jeff Pelletier stayed with him. They had a lead already at Checkpoint 1 and kept extending that at every checkpoint, eventually winning the Stage in 6 hours 40 minutes – 50 minutes ahead of 2nd place.
Matthew Cavanaugh started solidly in 3rd place and maintained it until Checkpoint 5 where he suffered cramps and fell back. He eventually finished in 7th place but maintained his 3rd place overall by nearly an hour.
There was some back and forth between the next 4 in this competitive top group of seven. Eventually Michele Ufer and Mauricio Rodriguez Saenz finished together in joint 3rd, followed by Terumichi Morishita and Theo Vollaard not far behind.
For the women Magdalena started strong and maintained a steady pace staying in 1st place all the way through – eventually finishing under 9 hours in joint 8th place overall.
Behind her there was back-and-forth, but eventually Nicky Eckstein took 2nd place and Anim Swart 3rd with Elise Zender, Tina Van Zyl and Julie Johnstone not far behind.
Some top performances came from
- John Bezou – with a Top 10 (10th) place finish
- Joshua Tebeau who found his running after being close to the back on Stage 4 he finished 12th on the Long March.
- Julie Johnstone found her mental strength, powering through and finishing with the top group of women.
- Warren Muldoon climbed a few places with a strong performance today. Maybe he had been saving himself all week?
Many racers teamed up, especially as it got later (and for some dark) including Jennifer Mutac, Jimmy Or and Paul Radford who formed a family unit for the entire Long March.
The steady back group of Gunnar Faehn, Andrea Liebe, Britt Das and Seunghun Ju mainly stayed with the sweepers but for the last the few checkpoints split up as Britt felt strong and Ju overcame tiredness to eventually close the Long March when he crossed the finish line at 01:38am just under 18 hours.
Stage 5 Top 10
The website has been updated with
RESULTS - Overall after Stage 5
- The Long March – the final finishers
- The Long March – the Last 12km (CP5 to Camp)
- The Long March – CP 4 to CP5 – if you only watch one, watch this one
- The Long March – CP3 to CP4
- The Long March – CP1 to CP3
- The Long March – Camp to CP1 (and pre-race thoughts)