Stage two (Sahara)

From the horrors of Day 1 to the beauty of day 2. I buddied up with two Irish lads from my tent and we planned to run the first checkpoint before we would hit the dunes and heat. We had a good, slow, steady pace going on and the boys are such lovely ones that it was a pleasure to run with them. Running on sand is such an art and I hope I am slowly learning how to read the sand. It can make you traverse through the sand considerably harder if you pick the wrong section to run on. My attempt to encourage was to continually tell the boys how good we were doing and they attempted to add to the morale through updating us whenever we needed to take an endurolyte.

Lisa joined the three of us out of checkpoint three and the four of us looked like soldiers in the army as we pushed on in a straight line. Out strategy was quite smart and we passed about 10 people as we got into checkpoint two. Unfortunately I recieved news that my good mate and Grandslammer Ricky Paugh had pulled out at checkpoint 1 and it took an emotional toll on me out in the vast, hot and never ending desert. I let the Irish lads head off and stayed with Lisa and we reflected on how this experience will be different for us know that Ricky has gone. Both him and Tremaine plan to be in Antarctica!!

Checkpoint two to three was beautiful but I was too focused on moving forward to take out my camera. Lisa slowed down a bit and although I didn’t want her to get out of reach I pressed on to catch up to my tent mate Malcolm. The surface was quite rocky and I had little alerts flashing in my head saying ‘be careful with your knee on this surface missie’. So I was super careful but found some extra energy and transitioned my shuffle into a trot to checkpoint three. The last section was only 5.6kms so I did an internal Samantha Dance as I was feeling pretty good. Exiting the checkpoint we went down a massive dune and along a flat stretch of loose sand before we had to go up a sizeable dune. Not as steep as the long day dune in Atacama but comparable. I remember my feelings as I approached that dune in Atacama which was a complete breakdown. This time I got myself incredibly calm and I then glided up the dune (or at least I felt that way). I felt great and I managed to create some space between myself and the competitors behind me. I alternated running and walking through the last section of sand and crossed the finish line placed 21st- just behind the Irish boys. Placed fourth female overall and Lisa was only 5 minutes behind me.

Good news for the sisterhood as two girls placed in the top eight today, which is fantastic. Hope they can continue this great run and challenge the boys at the top of the field.

My sister is sweeping the field today and is still out in the heat. She is such a trooper and the only sweeper of the day that has taken on the whole 35kms- gooooo big sis.

There was around 8-9 people pulling out today and 4 have today. Alot of people who have done RTP have been surprised how tough this race has been considering people always say that the Sahara is the easiest out of the four. I think the Grandslammers are starting to feel the accumulative physical stress from the previous two events and limited recovery time. Despite this I still love being out here and wish that my previous favourites from other races could be sharing this experience with me

Kisses to Andrea, Nico, Manuel, Carro and Felipe from Santiago.
Cuddles and thoughts to Tango. Lucy and I wish you were here to join me in the state of delirium that we will soon enter. (Oh…Eric Lahaie and I goodled your famous model friend and a picture came up in google images that had you in all of your glory, hehehe.)

Thinking cool thoughts

– Samantha


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