Stage 5 (Atacama Crossing)

WOW!! The long stage is over and it is less than two hours before we do the final 10kms.

I know I have used the word “epic” several times to describe this race but I think it is quite an appropriate word right now for the 74kms we did yesterday. We set off yesterday at 7:30 and I was feeling rather emotional as I was on the starting line. I hadn’t slept so well and was still struggling to get food down. Its crazy what running 240kms does to your body.

There were 6 stages yesterday and the first three were approx 15kms each. The first 15kms was on the salt flats again and it was far worse than the previous day. There was no defined path as there was the day before and each foot step was incredibly painful on my very blistered feet. I went off myself and could see Gareth, Daniel and Matt a few metre in front of me. The Chilean girls caught up to me and I had a few chats which was a great distraction from quite a hard stage. Typical Sam style I grab my 1.5litres at the check point and continue through- passing probably 7 people.

The next stage was more flat on sand and loose rocks. The boys were even closer in my sight so I pushed to try and catch them- to no avail. I came into the 2nd checkpoint as the first female to start at 7:30 (there were one women who started at 8:30 who had already passed me). Lyndal was at this checkpoint and told me I was close to the boys but said I should be careful as I had a long way to go. Still feeling good I jogged out of the checkpoint passing Angus from the UK who pulled out because he was peeing blood.

The next stage was a toughie: 15kms on the sand and there was a MASSIVE sand dune. I saw it and had a little cry as I couldn’t imagine how i would get up it. I was walking with some guys who headed off at 8:30 and I let them go ahead as I put on my ipod for some inspiration. I somehow got up the dune and felt incredibly exhilarated. It was a beautiful view and I managed to get into a trot and threw myself down the cliff side into the next checkpoint.

I dont know how but i was feeling great. I had gone about 35kms and only had three more checkpoints to get through. I passed the Canadian team and punched out a solid 8kms by running and walking between the flags. Then the unbelievable happened I caught up to Matt, Daniel and Gareth. Gareth was feeling a little shit and running out of water. I walked with Daniel for a bit and then he went back to his boy posse. As we got into the checkpoint Daniel asked if i wanted to head off with the boys. So that is how the rest of the race went. The four of us struggled through 18kms together and we had a series of highs and lows. Matt had a pretty bad 8km section and only felt better after a nurofen plus. Daniel had a really difficult last 5kms and started to get incredibly cold. I fell over whilst I was running and bruised my hip and hurt my knee (and i vomited at the top of the final sand dune). Matty told me this morning that he didn’t think i would make it after the final sand dune as I was on the sand floor a total mess.

The last 10kms seemed to take forever but we came in strong around 8:30pm (which is a total of approx 13 hours for 74kms).

I better head off and hydrate before the final 10kms. It will be very tough as I have an infection in my foot from a terrible blisters. I woke this morning with lovely puss going everywhere. EWWWK.

Not sure where I am placed at the moment but I think I have moved up a few places.

Approx 20 people have pulled out (by choice or by force). It is a tough race but I will write my final blog later tonight. Cannot wait for pizza and beer at the finish line.

Love to all.


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