On Tuesday morning, the competitors arose to face the gruelling 52.6 miles/84.7 kilometres through relentless sun and sand. The weather called for some showers during the day with the chance of a thunderstorm. This news was a welcome relief for the runners who had experienced two brutally hot days. Unfortunately, the showers did not materialize to relieve the heat of the day. Lightning after dark slowed a group of runners toward the front of the pack, as they had to hunker down just before crossing the coral pink sand dunes.
The day started with a nice, relatively flat 6 miles/10 kms on hard packed sand and gravel road to Checkpoint 1. The racers were then challenged with a steep ascent up the Mansard Trail. Thankfully, cloud cover gave them some relief from the sun as they travelled along exposed sandy track to Checkpoint 2. The competitors followed more sandy track, climbed in and out of dry river beds and descended once again through yet more sand until Checkpoint 4, after which they were greeted by an ever welcome, (and in some cases, much needed), cheering station by Angel’s Landing, part of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Some competitors chose to nap for a few hours at Checkpoint 6 before taking on the daunting Coral Pink Sand Dunes. After the dunes, a difficult cross-country section with lots of underbrush gave the runners another challenge before they headed through the deep sandy road to the finish line and finally, camp.
Exhaustion from the sun, and mental challenges, blisters and other injuries compounded from the previous days were cause for 9 more people to withdraw from the race. So far, a total 26 people have withdrawn.
Fortunately Team Skins GB are all still in the hunt raising funds for Walking With The Wounded and the Bath Rugby Foundation. Here’s how they got on:
Kate Eversole finished 11th female (42nd overall) 21hrs 34mins.
Stuart Doughty and David Barnes finished together in 56th and 57th in 23hrs 29mins.
Chris Smith was out for more than 24 hours, finishing after 28hrs 3 mins in 74th place.
After the three stages Kate is 45th (12th female), Stuart is 52nd, David is 53rd and Chris is 73rd.
Everyone had a day off after day three and the were entertained by cowboys playing guitars and offering lassoo lessons, as you do.