Author Archives: Richard
The final time 3:19:20 for 17.5 km (11 miles). Final positions will be out later after everyone has completed as they had a staggered start.
She was obviously a bit camera shy at the end, but here is the moment (that’s her in the black with the white stripes down her arms!)
After 155 miles, blistering heat, dunes, hills, night stages, sleeping in the middle of the desert, crevasses, camel grass, pebbles of all shapes and sizes, she has finally finished.
She has the medal to prove it, which will probably end up in a draw before too long, but the experience will live with her forever.
I will not try to over-dramatise what should be the mere formality of 11 miles after the previous 6 days, during which over 144 miles have already been covered.
Nevertheless, for the record, here is what the last day has in store for Liz.
They will start out by running ‘through’ the middle of the bivouac, on the only day on which it will have been left standing, and then after what should now be a familiar few hills and dunes and only one checkpoint, the landscape will turn into an ‘urban’ environment as they make their way through the suburbs of Tazzarine to the finish line. Patrick Bauer, the race director, will be waiting to welcome each and every competitor there, and the emotion at the finish will, predictably, be palpable.
09/04/2011 – STAGE N°6 :
TAKKOURT N’TAKOUIT / TAZZARINE – 17,5 Km
Km 0 : Go West (course 278°) up to the foot of Saredrar djebel, Km 5.1. Small pebbles.
Km 1,6 : Cross the oued. Sand and camel grass.
Km 2,8 : End of oued. Small pebbles.
Km 4,3 : Middle of pass between hills. Cross the oued, fairly rugged terrain.
Km 5,1 : Follow small track to go round crops to the right.
Km 5,8 : Go down into oued and turn left. Sandy and stony.
Km 6,3 : Sandy passage with deceptive slope. Fossilised marble mine to the right.
Km 9 : CP1 on stony plateau. Go W/NW (course 286°) until Km 12.4.
Km 10 : Cross a large track.
Km 11 : Stony plateau ends.
Km 12,4 : Cross track just before Tazzarine ruins. Slightly stony.
Km 13,6 : Go left on the track at the foot of the hill. Small ruin on the hill.
Km 14,5 : First houses of Tazzarine. Cross the village.
Km 15,9 : Tarmac road. Go left.
Km 17,5 : FINISH LINE.
She’s done it – in a fantastic time and position.
Scything through the field from start to finish she started out 778 to cross the start line, at CP1 she was at 598, at CP2 she was at 578, at CP3 she was up to 559 and her final finishing position was 540 in 7:52:46.
I have not seen a more consistent run for a long time with her pace being spot on throughout the race.
More details later…
Well Done Liz
She’s done it.
She’s finished the long day.
82 km of some of the most rugged terrain on the planet.
She finished at 11:30am Moroccan time.
I will update you with more details later.
I only wish it would.
The sun is not quite up in Morocco, both physically and metaphorically as there appear to be some inconsistencies in the times displayed on the website; at least I hope this is the case.
Last night, Liz and Ant were traveling together and intended to stay together for the duration of the stage, which they had 32km to complete after reaching CP4.
Now, at 5:00am in the morning (Morocco time) Liz is still showing as having progressed no further than CP4 and Ant is showing at CP5 on the position timing page (POSY). This in itself is inconsistent, to my mind at least, as I strongly doubt that they would have split up overnight unless Liz had elected to change the strategy we had discussed and agreed all along, specifically to go all out and get the long day finished as soon as possible.
On the Live Race Tracker, Ant is shown as being about 2/3 of the way between CP5 and CP6 and if this is accurate, I would hope they would get to the final checkpoint before the finish in the next hour or so.
Best case scenario; they are still together and on their way to CP5, and I would expect, with the light of the coming dawn, they could do the final 10km in 2-3 hours.
Worst case scenario; Liz could not go any further after CP4 last night, elected to rest there and will have 33 km to complete on her own before 3pm today (4pm BST)
I pray it is the former.
Liz and Ant, traveling together have just gone through CP4. The are still maintaining a steady pace through the checkpoints and so now have ‘only’ 32km (20 miles) left to go.
CP1 (12.2km) – 2:48:47
CP2 (25km) – 5:56:15
CP3 (38km) – 8:55:05
CP4 (49km) – 12:48:11
When I heard from her earlier, she seemed very upbeat and positive, but the rollercoaster that is ultrarunning is unpredictable and the highs and lows not only come thick and fast, but are also accentuated by exhaustion, starvation, dehydration and now, sleep deprivation. I am cautiously optimistic for them though as consistency is paramount at this stage and if they maintain this pace they should be able to do 30km in about 7 hours, which would bring them in at about 20:00 hours, or about 5:00am tomorrow morning….as the sun is rising. I will be setting my alarm
Their reward? A day of rest, which will be well deserved.
Just heard from Liz –
In the middle of the desert. God turned the oven on today. Fortunately every 500m He needs to turn it down for Himself so we have a fabulous cool breeze as well Yesterday was a killer; So so tough. Kilometers of sand then rocky mountain 5pm b4 WMD (not sure what she means by this – RTP).
I was emotionally broken when I crossed that line, but I’m back today as I could feel myself recovering throughout the night.
We’re now half way through the 82km, and looking forward to night walking – Sunset and all.
Liz is going well at present, on the basis of her times to the Checkpoints, which are as follows: –
CP1 (12.2km) – 2:48:47
CP2 (25km) – 5:56:15
She seems to be setting a steady pace at the moment as far as I can deduce from the limited information to hand, but if this is the case then it is a perfect strategy for managing the immense mental challenge which this stage engenders – the ‘baby steps’ strategy is obviously working.
As encouraging as this is, it pales into insignificance when you realise she is not alone. In addition to the mass of global support which has built up around her (for which I personally thank you all!), she is also running with Anthony O’Driscoll (892) her team mate and friend – the support and companionship they will provide each other through the long and dark hours of the rest of this stage is immeasurable.
The image shows what awaits them in the night, although the organisers have a cruel sense of humour, as they will start to follow the straight line etched across the Moroccan skies several hours before they finally reach it’s source.
Liz successfully crossed the ‘START’ line of stage 4 this morning, which after the monumental effort that she had to put in on stage 3 was by no means guaranteed. Any of you who are runners, or who know runners, will realise that actually lining up with your toe on the start line is half the battle – anything can happen in distance running and the MdS accentuates these issues on a daily basis.
For those of you that have perhaps have difficulty visualizing what Liz is currently going through, these are a couple of videos which the organisers have uploaded to YouTube – there is no commentary, little sound other than the ambient noise, but this is how it is, in it’s raw form – Stage 3.
06-07/04/2011 – STAGE N°4 :
OUED RHERIS EST / RICH MERZOUG – 82 Km
Km 0 : Go S/W (course 225°) on slightly stony terrain.
Km 1,3 : Cross Rheris oued on course 225°. Rugged terrain, fech fech and tamarix.
Km 4,1 : End of oued. Sandy uphill rise between Ras Kemouna hills.
Km 5,4 : Turn left.
Km 5,8 : Turn right. Go West (course 261°). Variable stony, sandy terrain between low hills.
Km 9 : Sandy passage through small djebel. Go S/W (course 238°) until Km 11.
Km 11 : Rocky peak to the left. Go West (course 264°) until CP1.
Km 12,2 : CP1 close to lone tree. Go West (general course 269°) in middle of sandy valley becoming more stony after Km 16.
Km 17,8 : Small mounds to the right.
Km 19,6 : Sandy rise towards Zireg Djebel.
Km 20 : Rocky rise.
Km 20,1 : Follow crest line.
Km 21,9 : Sandy descent to the left.
Km 22,1 : Turn right at the bottom of descent. Go West (course 265°). Sandy slope.
Km 23 : High point of the sandy pass Djebel Zireg. Go W/SW (course 256°) until CP2.
Km 25 : CP2 in the valley. Go West (course 260°) until CP3. Successive oued beds with vegetation and slightly stony terrain.
Km 30,1 : Lone tree. Well. Hills to the left.
Km 31,4 : Military post to the right. Less sandy, then small pebbles.
Km 35,1 : Taourirt Mouchanne Djebel to the right. Stony terrain.
Km 38 : CP3 South of Mouchanne. Sandy rise and passage. Go North (course 352°).
Km 39 : Bottom of North slope of Mouchanne. Go North (course 352°) until CP4. Stony.
Km 39,6 : Cross a track. Flat terrain. Few stones.
Km 40,1 : Mounds of sand and camel grass.
Km 42,8 : Scattered small dunes and earth.
Km 44,5 : Earth with vegetation and calotropis.
CAUTION! Follow markings carefully to avoid crevasses in the oued.
Km 47,9 : Cross a track.
Km 49 : CP4 on the dried-up lake of Ma’der el Kebir. Go North (course 355°) until CP5.
Km 56,1 : Lake ends. Dunes begin.
Km 60,2 : End of dunes. Earth.
Km 61 : CP5. Go West (course 263°) to cross a line of closely planted trees.
Km 61,6 : Go through trees. Continue West (course 267°). Cross oued then plateau of small stones by the ruins.
Km 66,5 : Stony terrain.
Km 68,8 : Sandy pass of Joufert djebel.
Km 70 : Exit pass. Go S/W (course 234°) until CP6.
Km 72 : CP6 in the valley. Go S/W (course 219°) until bivouac.
Km 74 : Sandy crossing Aatchana oued for 800 metres, variably stony up to finish line.
Km 82 : B5 finish line.
Another one in the bag! Woo-Hoo!
She is doing incredibly, but it looks like this was a tough one though, with it turning into a 10 hour day for her to complete the 38km of hills and more dunes.
She finally finished about an hour ago in a recorded time of 9:56:05 but her position has unfortunately dropped a bit, undoubtedly due to the nature of the stage; or at least I hope that is all – the danger of injury is ever present on this event and the last thing she needs now is for an old war wound to manifest itself in the middle of a oued or at the top of an erg.
In a way the 3rd stage is the worst because the competitors are not yet halfway, and the mental focus is always the long day which is still to come and so any doubt or lack of motivation is magnified many times during the dark hours of the 3rd stage.
Nevertheless, she has pretty much broken the back of it and by this time tomorrow, it should all be downhill.
I will update you with the detail as soon as I receive it.
Watch this space.