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Day 6 – 50km

Last night people were worrying about having to complete the 50k in the searing heat. It might have been less daunting had it been described as 49.9k rather than 50k. In the morning things had changed; there was cloud cover and wind. I don’t think many people got much sleep due the the tents flapping, the snorers, rustling, squeaky mattresses and the occasional squeaky bum.

Those in good condition were looking forward to running in cooler weather and those with blisters or other injuries were relieved that they would be suffering in less heat. Again it was a staggered start with the earliest group leaving at 5am. Estienne had set the route through a sandy riverbed (he likes those) but was probably frustrated that the moisture in the air and a little bit of overnight rain meant the sand was not as soft as usual. Certainly not up to Estienne’s standards. He got us with some other  sandy (soft fine sand) riverbeds later on.

Despite the cloud the temperature climbed. When I asked what it was at CP5 I was told 38 degrees C. Thanks for info Kim. Kim, as well as running, is doing research on sweat rates; she is collecting data from several runners and also measuring wind speed, humidity and temperature. Michael told me later that he had recorded 42. So another tough day and several competitors needed to lie down at checkpoints to recover. Hong Tan developed an allergic reaction to something and her legs are covered with a very angry red rash and several blisters (not the running type). The medics did a great job on her and she finished the day. As did everyone else. Lorraine is suffering very badly with blistered feet so we were all pleased to see her make it into camp

As is customary on the last night in camp the camp crew awarded some fun prizes. Best snorer (Ayoub) the navigation award (ironic) Stephan, best tan lines (David) and several more. Lorraine was unable to collect he prize for worst feet – she was in the medical tent having them patched up ready for the final day.

Annie won the rose of the desert award for always looking glamorous. I was gutted I didn’t win – I think I will need to buy a new shirt for next year. Annie also won the hearts of those around her. Seeing the states we were in she went and fetched hot water for several people and generally helped out. This is a feature of the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon – everyone looks after each other.

Those that were feeling good went to bed contented that they would breeze through the 23k the following day to finish the event. They were probably the snorers. Those with mashed feet and broken bodies thought about how they were going to find that last bit of determination to get them to the finish. They probably also thought about murdering the snorers.