The final stage of the Sport is also the longest stage. It is a half marathon (21.1km) along the same trail as Stage 1. The course is a bit different; three loops of 7 and a bit km. So compared to Stage 1, we run out a bit farther, then do an out and back before returning to the start.
Original map located here.
I was really worried about my hamstring. I pushed it hard at Stage 7, and it felt bad all day. Any time spent standing on my right leg would send it into numbness. I went to St. Jacob’s Market in the afternoon to walk around, and I had to sit down twice because it bothered me. This does not bode well. Also, this was way longer than I had run in training. I never got past 13km on my long runs due to life happening. Running was always the sacrifice. I probably could have managed this a bit better, but I did the best I could. Something had to give.
Sleep was not great. I never sleep well before races anyway. I also had to get up and pack up the AirBnb I was staying aat, as checkout was after the race was over. I deliberated what to wear, and ended up just wearing an old ENDURrun t-shirt from 2017. Maybe it would give me luck, or strength. At the very least it would protect the sunburn I got lounging by the pool on Saturday afternoon (oops).
The course was about 10 minutes away from my AirBnb, so I ended up getting there around 7:30am for an 8:00am start. For this stage, I decided not to bother with the warm up. The goal was to go very slow, and just get through it. The cut off time was 3 hours, which I thought I could manage, even if I had to walk a lot. I also didn’t wear the heart rate strap, since I was worried it would bother my sunburn, and for this race, what’s the point? The wrist based one will have to do.
At 8:00am sharp, we were off. There were a number of guest runners on this stage, some people I knew from past races. I hung towards the back, and tried to just keep a very slow pace, between 6:30 and 7:00. It wasn’t easy; my natural tendency is to run faster. It’s hard for me to run slow. By the 2km mark, my hamstring was awake and behaving as it did all week. The discomfort was manageable, and I actually managed to get to the 3km mark before my first walk break. At that point, it was to grab some water from the water station, and drink it. The next walk break was at 5km, when I went up a hill. As previous stages, I decided to walk the hills to conserve energy. Soon I approached the “finish” line, and passed the 7km mark in 0:48:00. This was a bit off my goal, but I was good with it.
In the second loop, things got worse. My hamstring was very bad; even small walk breaks would not help. I also started to really run out of energy. I was taking gels every 45 minutes, so I’d had one right at the 7km mark. They weren’t really helping much. My right foot also started to become numb, which was a first. I held out as much as I could, but eventually I needed to walk. Fortunately the walk fixed that, and the foot numbness didn’t come back for the rest of the race. There was a lot more walking on this loop. The other factor was the sun and heat. When we started, the sun was out, but it was cool. Now it was heating up, and with no clouds in the sky, the sun was becoming an issue. Some more run/walking, and I was through the second loop in 1:38. At this rate, even if I walked more, I’d still finish within the cut off with time to spare.
At this point, I knew that I was the last runner on the course. Everyone had passed me, and the elites were now either done, or were lapping me. I was a bit disappointed, but not very much. All I wanted was to finish. The running shrank down to just maybe 50-100 metres at a time, followed by a 1-2 minute walk. This kept up all the way to the end. I finished the 3rd loop in 2:38, so it had taken me around 1 hour to run/walk 7km.
It was so nice to run down to the finish and hear the cheering of my fellow competitors. I never wanted to be finished something more in my life. The week of racing was over, and I was an ENDURrun Sport finisher!
- Official Time: 2:38:05
- Cumulative Time: 7:53:54 for 66.6km.