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Today was tough, it started well, very nice scenery again in the dune. I joined Olivier and ran with him for a while. Then Jude, another french caught us and we ran the three of us for a while, having 3 Frenchies in the top 6. I made the first half in just 2:30 hours and felt quite well. At some point I was even 4th, then Jude accelerated and I couldn’t keep up. Then there was a long, very hot section with soft sand between check point three and four where I started to suffer. I was struggling and three more runners passed me, 9km from the finishing line. I tried to follow them but I couldn’t. Very bad for the mental, frustrating and exhausting.

For these three first days, the last 9km have always been painful, especially when running out of juice and having to fight for the ranking. Anyway I made it, finishing 7th. I am not sure about my overall ranking, perhaps 5 or 6 but it is only half of the race…

Sahara Race: camp 3 (© Philippe Gatta)
Sahara Race: camp 3 (© P. Gatta)

Yesterday’s blisters healed but I got two new big ones, no major disaster at this point but a bit of pain. I saw the doctor regarding the pain under my foot and he thinks it is a tendinitis of the Achilles tendon at its insertion with the bones, he gave me anti inflammatory. No big concern for the moment but I got to watch it carefully and it is another pain to handle. 😉

Good thing is –  I feel better and better, especially regarding the heat. The Suunto works perfectly and knowing the distance with the foot pod really helps to manage the pace and food. Today I burned 4000 calories just during the race, with 1800 additional calories necessary for the normal body consumption for the rest of the day, I am way behind (brought 3700/per day) but that’s ok. The other good thing is finishing early leave me plenty of time to rest, eat, send email, etc. This is not the case for all runners and I admire the ones finishing late; the last ones came after 7pm yesterday! More then 12 hours on the trail!

Tomorrow we have our 4th marathon in row. It is supposed to be easier with more packed sand and less dunes. Unfortunately that means faster pace in front of the race, no rest, so tough day in perspective. Then will come the long nightmare of 87km. 😉

Sahara Race: camp 4 (© Philippe Gatta)
Sahara Race: camp 4 (© P. Gatta)

The last three days I was laid down in the tent, in the shade during the hotest time of day, for the long day, we’ll have to run two marathons back to back at the hottest period of the day…

Anyway, moral is good! Thanks for all support via emails!!

4 Deserts writes: “Dan Parr shot through at 9.24am, followed closely by Eric LaHaie at 9.30am. Then came an impressive French wave, with three Frenchman in the top six, including Philippe Gatta (43), Jude Ryan (37) and Olivier Thiriet (37).”