Hi there sports fans!
As a wise man once said ‘the fat lady isn’t singing, but she’s waiting in the wings gargling Listerine’ – or words to that effect. The last full day is done and tomorrow its 10km downhill to a cold beer and a pizza. Hurrah!
Today was magnificent. We had 20 easy kms to start with and then hit the dunes in a big way. Section 3 was 9km through the most magnificent sand dunes with epic views out to the Atlantic. It really was spectacular. Florian and I kept each other company for the first 2 sections but once we got to the dunes he ‘opened his legs and showed his class’, to quote the great David Coleman. On that topic, there’s a great Russian lad in the race and he’s had some serious chafing issues ‘downstairs’. His solution today was to cut his shorts open at the crotch and let the sea breeze soothe his nether regions. This clearly worked as he finished strongly but I think the volunteers manning the check points got a bit of shock each time he sat down and they got a full views of his tackle. Might have helped keep the lions at bay as well…
Anyway, I digress. Florian was incredible in the dunes. He quickly put 10-15 mins into me, running the entire section as I staggered around in the sand. He’s a proper athlete and it’s been a pleasure to watch him at work. As we made polite chitchat this morning (my GCSE French has been fully tested this week n’est pas?) he mentioned that he’s doing a 100km race in 6 weeks. When I asked what sort of time he is aiming for he casually said ‘sept heures’. 7 f****ing hours for 100km!!!! that’s about 14km per hour! I challenge you all to get on a treadmill, crank it up to 14km/hr and imagine doing that for 7 hours. Good luck.
So as Florian disappeared into the sandy distance I thought I had a relaxed run to the finish for 2nd place. Not to be. Salvador from Spain appeared behind me just after the final checkpoint and it quickly became apparent that he was gunning for my 2nd position on the stage. He’s way back in the overall standings so it actually made no difference if he’d finished ahead of me but pride (and ego) is a powerful motivator. Net result is that the final 10km was basically a road race between me Salvador, neither of us prepared to concede, or suggest we run in together (he’s also 57 years old and there’s no bloody way I was going to be beaten by a pensioner!) So Spanish matador and English bull went thrust for thrust until I eventually dropped him (terrible metaphor, apologies). It certainly kept the last section competitive.
And so we are at the final camp on the beach. It’s at a weird fishermen’s camp – imagine a cross between a post-apocalyptic Butlins, and the hotel from the Shining. Amanpullo it is not, but it does have fully-functional, Thomas Crapper- designed lavatories which after shitting in a Portaloo/sauna for a week, is the height of luxury.
One more night in a tent, one more freeze-dried dinner, one more plastic bag of porridge, and 10km, and then it’s back to civilization. Consequently this is my last in-race blog. Thanks for all the messages and comments of support, all greatly appreciated. And let’s not forget that we’re raising funds for the fantastic charity that is SPARKS so if any of you tight buggers haven’t donated on my Justgiving page, then get on with it!!
Katy, Milo, Tid, Clem – can’t wait to see you all for a big hug (watch out for my toes though!!)
Until next time sports fans (erm…, there is no next time)
PS - Zoological note for today and a correction; the amazing walvitcha plant can live up to 1000 years, not 100. Amazing, don’t you think?