09 Apr Oman Desert Marathon Stage 3
Stage 3 is a crucial stage: at this point, the runners that didn’t manage correctly their feeding and hydration will start losing all their energies, on the other hand for those who adopted a correct strategy, now the adaptation to the desert is complete and running on the sand is starting to be familiar.
Stage three coined “The Rising Action” from the roadbook, is proving as such. 27 kms of challenging, seemingly endless undulating dunes. This is the longest stage the athletes have had to conquer thus far. The extended distance is leaving runners in the blistering desert heat well into the climax of the day.
The nature of this course, 90 percent on soft sand, and a lot of ascents, this coupled with the extreme temperatures, are proving to make this one of the toughest legs of the week. For many, maybe the make or break day of the race.
The rolling nature of day 3 track is punctuated by several low lying cirques. Signs of Bedouin encampments pock this extraterrestrial landscapes. Goat paddocks and wellheads, even a single tree, adorned the only flat firm ground of the stage.
Athletes that managed their morning output and feeding/hydration strategies will still in good form to push through the final seven kilometers; a punishing stretch of bleak dune topography. Worsened by the temptation of the paved desert road paralleling the route, lying just beyond the reach of the course parameters. Nearly all participants walked this final stretch across the finish line, save the few descents offered since the last water station.
It is said that if you can complete day 3 stage, you are well within reach of finishing the race. Daytime temperatures will be more forgiving as we approach the Arabian Sea in the days ahead.
Stay tuned…. The action rising
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