World Run II / Reports
The map shows the position of which the pictures for the day are taken (if any). The start and finish markers are placed at the first and last valid registered position. This is not nessesary the actual start and finish position, if GSM or GPS signals was not available.
Distance today: 27.0 km (Accumulated: 25857.0 km)
Elapsed time: 02:59:23
Country: Chile West
Start 10:01am., 11c, overcast & l.wind, at yellow stone-marker "1976-14.80" on old hwy.1 (?). Finish 14:36pm., 21c, clear & med.wind, at wooden road-marker [please see endomondo track & finishpic. for exact location] on mountainpass at old hwy.1 (?).
More Surprises !
The road - which the last 3days has turned into a rocky stone trail instead of the indicated highway - was supposed to follow the Pacific coast 300km to the next city & supplypoint, Antofagasta. That however has turned into 'map theory' as the reality was that the tiny trail about 5km into todays run suddenly disappeared as far as going along the rugged remote coast of Northern Chile.
We were not left without oppotunities though: an even less maintained trail (wheeltrack) went inland which meant direct over the coastal mountain ranges; nothing of the gentle evened out, calculated and engineered mountain climbs which you see on tarmac roads around the world - but a steep climb which in a sort of irony of faith seemed to seek out the steepest hills to go over and the highest of the coastal mountains to pass direct on top of. Giving one of the toughest stages I can remember having run in any of the world runs (and there has been a few 'interesting' days amongst them ;-) with a 1700m. alt. mountain to run to the top of at the finish.
And still that was a strike of gentle luck :-)
Because had this small trail not been there we would have had to backtrack approximately 180km on the coastal stoneroad; a thing we wouldnt have had fuel for and which the car doubtedly would have been able to handle. Not to mention having to re-run the whole distance again ;-) As it looks by the Due East direction this trail will eventually meet up with the highway 5 up in the Atacama Desert which also leads to Antofagasta; so it looks promising under the circumstances.
Why a short run of 27km could be one of the hardest I have had the joy of experiensing so far ? The reason has to do with the nature of ultrarunning: What you mentally can prepare yourself strongly for with positive spirit & "the only road is Forward" mentailty is nearly always posible to physically do; for example the warm 101km stage back in Argentina 2months ago was substantially easier for me to run compared with this stage - Since I had build the mental force up for more than a week (the same way as using a bit more than 2years of focusing before starting out on the world runs). Then the physical part of the running becomes Easy.
But, on occation the conditions are opposite, as today where I expected a nearly flat scenic run along the coast, whith a total of around 40km; and instead got 5km of flat road followed by 22km uphill on a windy trail of loose stones and rocks. With the constant unceartainty of wether the small wheeltrack would lead to a dead end around the next corner or wether the supportcar would be able to handle the steep climbs. The concearn and resulting stress drew a low more energy out of the body than the running itself, I suspect ;-)
But I have to say that the concearn for the supportcar proved to luckily be overstated. Not least because of the skills of my supportdriver Alex who got this fragile city-car over terrain and mountainpasses which it obviously was not build for. Its been a pleasure to witness how this young american has grown with the challenge and turned into perhaps the best supportdriver the world run has had along w. Rachenka of Russia (10 500km through Russia & Siberia) and Peter Gray (1500km supportdriving for me through the Australian desert at mid. of summer). Not easy tasks to sit for 3-10h. a day waiting for me to run up to the car at the next supportpoint and also have to share the same conditions of tenting for months across the fantastic but demanding continents. Most get worn down slowly - but a very select few like Alex Grows by the challenge. Im gratefull to have a helper like this and treasure it untill he by 1. July will have to travel back to the usa to tend to family business.
Ps: The legs are absolutely beat' by now, but there will be time to recover before tomorrows run.