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The Long Awaited Rest Day

Not long after I sent yesterday’s update Alan and Rich appeared at the finish line. In spite of covering just 15km in the first 3 1/2 hours before I withdrew they had an absolutely blinding run from there onwards and covered 73km in less than 12 hours. People continued to arrive throughout the night and the final finishers crossed the line about half an hour ago.

Today we don’t have a lot to do apart from eating, drinking and chatting. Although that may summon up images of a pleasant lunch in a restaurant it’s worth bearing in mind that we’re actually in a tent in the desert, haven’t washed for 7 days, and all the food we have is freeze dried or in PowerBar form. The tent is starting to become rather… fragrant, so the afternoon breeze will be extremely welcome to get some air circulating.

I also seem to have lost a bit of weight, which isn’t surprising given I’ve walked/run 175km and have only taken in about 2700kcal each day. My hips definitely seem a bit more prominent than before, and any trace of stomach flab has disappeared. Although some would consider this an encouraging start to their 4th decade, I’m intending to reverse it before we head home!

While I’m not too tired or rushed for time, I thought I’d share a few highlights and lowlights.

The Highlights:

1. The atmosphere on the start line each day
2. The views of Licancabur during the day, and the stars at night
3. Crossing the finish line (4/5 times for me, sadly) to the sound of drums and the cheering of volunteers.
4. The other competitors: an all round fantastic bunch of people, and extremely supportive both on the course and at the overnight camps

The Lowlights:

1. Expedition Foods breakfasts: great when tried during training, not so great after 7 straight days.
2. The smell of my running top.
3. The smell of the toilets: it seems freeze-dried food isn’t great for anyone’s digestive system…

We’re still in good spirits and looking forward to getting back to San Pedro tomorrow. Allegedly there’ll be beer and pizza at the finish. Can’t wait!

About Chris Laws

HSX member since 1997. First expedition was to Belize in 1999, followed by another trip to Belize in 2003 (which I led!) Have also done the GR20, trekked to Everest Base Camp, climbed in the Alps and spent many days in the Lakes and Cairngorms with HSX.

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