We slept in a tea house after stage 4. I ate well, slept well and ate a large, if not unusual, breakfast of Spaghetti Bolognese. I’d been looking at the course info for stage 5 all week. 45 miles, 2900M of ascent. Most of the ascent in 3 vicious climbs (1-2 hours each)in the first half of the race. After that the terrain looked better. I told myself to take it easy until I got to the top of the 3rd climb, save it all, and then see how I felt. So we set off on what was the most unbelievably difficult 45 miles I have ever encountered. We went up and down steep and slippy uneven stone steps and boulders, through primary jungle areas complete with leeches, and up burning hot farming terraces. The slippy stones and climbing meant a painfully slow pace for everyone; as you will see from the wide range of result times. I was better hydrated that anyone, I sank 4 litres in the night, and drank all day, no repeat of day 4 misery. I ate often, a small amount every 30 mins, so was well fuelled. So, I struggled through the first 3 climbs and 25 miles and felt good. At CP5 the top of the 3rd climb, I got more water and passed straight through the CP in a minutes, just like I had all day and would do for the rest. I fuelled up on a handful of food, tightened my race pack and opened up. I ran at a great pace straight through CP6 (8.5k later), it was then dark, so headlight on, I ran on the next 9.1K to CP7, all without stopping or pausing, passing a lot of people who had given it all a little too early in the race. I saw no one shortly before CP7 until the end of the race, everyone was strung out so far. The last 10k included a horribly difficult final sting of slippy stairs and route finding was difficult as the local kids stole all the glow sticks. Eventually I emerged onto a road and Ultra Running legend Marshall Ulrich (pulled on day 2 with sickness) was on his own directing people. Great guy incidentally, I owe him for helping me on day 4. I lost my hat in my confusion, and well, I have the best souvenir, I have Marshall Ulrich’s cap! Maybe some of his talent rubbed off a little as I had a good day. In the last 2k, my body let go, with left knee pain, left Achilles pain (id ruptured the blood blister hours before incidentally, on a descent). Still I ran through to the end and finished in 13 hours 17 mins. I’d been Running on Empty for 10 miles and had low blood sugar. I ate quickly while the docs advised me on the toe, and gave me some voltarol for my knee and heel. All the skin on my little toe has gone. I’m dousing it in alcohol every few hours(ouch) and trying to stop it being infected. I feel good today. Tomorrow just 13k to the finish. I may be limping, but I’ll make it. Thanks for the support, it’s been great. Thanks to Mike for the last min treatment, Ive had no big issues. Feels good to get this race done. It’s been so tough. Looking forward to finish line pizza tomorrow. See you at home.
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