Special Edition Blogs 2021
View All Posts 2021 From : Jeanne Chen
21 August 2021 07:45 pm (GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi
We did it! The last 10km flew by in a series of downhill switchbacks from the Camp 6 to the cave city of Vardzia. And just like that, the race was over.
Adam flew off the start line in pursuit of 3rd place in his age category. He was 1m 20 sec in overall time behind the 3rd place runner and was trying to close the gap in a final sprint to the finish. It was the first and only stage where Adam and I didn't run side by side. Spoiler sidebar - he and the other competitor went neck to neck for 10km with Adam eventually finishing 2m 10 sec ahead in Stage 6 (50 sec faster overall). It's crazy that in a race of 250km, it came down to the last 50 sec...
The last 10km was beautiful as it wound its way down to the river valley, eventually transitioning from gravel trail to tar road. The last few kilometres on tarmac were a delight. Unlike the previous few days which required a tremendous focus, the last run was relaxed, without pressure, and I was able to actually enjoy the scenery around me. Across the river, the 12th century cave city of Vardzia stood waiting for us to finally arrive. What an epic location to finish this race.
The last few hundred metres were a steep uphill - a reminder of all the climbs during the race. As I ran towards the finish line banner and focussed on making it through this last uphill, I saw Adam standing with his arms outstretched. It was the happiest sight and I can't imagine a better way to finish a race. It was smiles all around.
Now that we're done - I'm starting to miss the race already. There is a lot to think about and process over the coming days from the emotions on the trail to the wonderful people we met and became friends with. In the meantime, I'm mostly feeling tremendous gratitude for having been able to go on this incredible adventure.