I got about 5 hours sleep which was ok. I started slowly knowing there were dunes and some mountain climbing early in the stage. After CP2 I developed a pain in my ankle that radiated up to my thigh and made me feel sick. I was quite worried and had to lose 20 mins at CP3 whilst the doctor took a look. He thought it might be muscular (but the physio isn't sure as there is some swelling too. I've seen her at camp; More ibuproen tonight I suspect. Wish Uncle Kev was here to diagnose and sort me out! ). Anyway, the excellent event doctor dosed me with a couple of Paracetamol at CP2 and I began the chase to make up lost time and those who had passed me. I was chasing Jon today. Jon was with me at CP2 but got a 25 mins headstart whist the doc looked at me. He also has 15 mins overall on me on the leaderboard. So with a 40 minute defecit to make up after half of the stage that was a tall order. However, I took in plenty of fuel (food)water and electorolyte as I increased my pace to be running up to 10kph, even faster on decents. The terrain suited me, reminding me of climbing paths in the peak districts (lots of loose sandstone rubble). I was even running and enjoying the ascents too. I was flying and got past Helmut and Jon, it was just a question of how much of his 15 minute lead I got to eat into then. I put my foot down after CP4, barely stopped at CP5 and ran home in 6hrs 02. Jon came in about 33 minutes later, which means that I should have cancelled out his lead and put on 18 minutes of my own lead. Yay! I can't catch anyone else as I am too far back, but I should be able to extend my lead over Jon and hopefully ensure I finish 6th overall after tomorrows final stage and top Brit. Just 33k left between us and civilization again. My pack should weigh under 5kg tomorrow, but there is another baking gorge to tackle, so tomorrows stage is no pushover. Hopefully I'll sleep well and be celebrating tomorrow night. I think we've lost 6 or 7 athletes through abandons. Only one of them, Kim, needed an IV drip (She's OK now), everyone else was lost through foot trauma or exhaustion. Many thanks for all your messages everyone; Any you send after reading this one will probably reach me when I finish the race maybe? Take care and fingers crossed for my last stage.
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