22 Nov 5° Oman Desert Marathon: stage 5
After a morning of rest at the camp, the runners had to face the longest stage of the race: the Night Marathon Stage.
A day with more hours of rest and more time for taking photos on the dunes and to get ready for the longest stage of the race. 3 different starts for this stage: at 14, 15 and 16 PM. The top 15 runners left the camp at 4, and the rest of the group had the opportunity to choose when to leave the camp. The different stating times are designed to allow all runners to finish at a convenient hour: the last stage of the 5th Oman Desert Marathon will start at 7 AM, just a few hours after the arrival of the last competitor. The majority of the runners decided to leave at 2 PM, when the temperature is higher but with the intention to arrive as soon as possible to the camp, to maximize the hours of sleep. The Oman Desert Marathon is not just running in the desert, it is also choosing the right racing strategy: leave later and take advantage of a milder temperature and sleep less, or leave earlier and have more time but struggle with the heat? This is the question that most of the runners had to answer today. This stage had also 4 cut off times: at km 12, 22 and 32 with a minimum pace of 17 minutes per kilometer, allowing the slowest runner to finish the stage in 12 hours, starting at 2 PM.
The course was marked with big led lights, visible from long distance every kilometer, and with small led lights in between. It is impossible to get lost as the lights are place one in view of the other.
From the technical point of view, this is the easiest stage of the race: a long path crossing the desert with no significant climbs and almost all on the compact sand, however many runners found it very challenging. The ideal stage to develop speed: Mohammed Almorabity won this stage with the excellent time of 4.09 minutes, but all runners were significantly faster at this stage.
An almost flat run before the final rush: the last stage of the race will offer a spectacular view over the dunes to the Arabian Sea, but will represent also the last, most challenging, twenty-three kilometers of the race.