An immense beach circled by a half-mountain, half-sand barrier where waves crash in roars, pelicans make high-pitched tweets, sea lions grunt deeply and the Peruvian sun shines strongly: probably one of the most beautiful bivouacs of the entire history of MARATHON DES SABLES. There, competitors are happily spending their rest day bathing, doing their laundry or trying to fish!
THE EVENT OF THE DAY: A SHOWER OF EMOTIONS
A guard of honour, ovations, Mexican waves, some tears and a real shower of emotions surrounded the arrival of the last competitor of the long stage, the Peruvian Haydee VASQUEZ ROSALES (D385-PER). A Peruvian in the first position, another one closing the race: what an incredible representation of the host country for this first edition!
IMPRESSIONS FROM THE BIVOUAC
Josephine ADAMS (D153-GBR)
"I found myself at the very back of the race, since my 42nd rank obliged me to take the start with the top athletes. But it was a new experience, which obliged me to surpass myself."
Takuma ITAKURA (D194-JPN)
It's a beautiful experience, with magnificent landscapes that I'm discovering at the same time as I'm discovering Peru. The sea is beautiful, but I just put my feet in, because the water is freezing!"
Edwin RAMON IBARRA GRACIA (D218-ECU)
Edwin is running the MDS PERU barefoot!
Yesterday, I had to use 120% of my energy – till th very last drop. The toughest part was the long climb before CP5: it killed me. But when I saw the beach and the sea, I was suddenly home, because I live by the sea. This reboosted my energy levels for the 4 hours that I still had to cover in the middle of the night. (still moved, with tears in his eyes). I'm proud of my feet, which are resisting. My motivation to treat them well: being able to enjoy the swimming pool at the Paracas hotel – forbidden to those who have injured feet."
Jacques SIDOUN (D006-CAN)
A superb stage yesterday...I didn't think I would live something like this! Greatly contrasted too: difficult until CP5 due to heat, dryness, wind in the face of competitors and soft sand; but incredible after the top of the dune before CP5 – the view gave me shivers! What I like here is being a pioneer, discovering the landscapes by myself and not through articles or YouTube videos."
Brien CROTHERS (D077-USA)
I had already visited Peru, but only the standard tourist sites. I'm very happy that I've now discovered the country's beautiful desert – I can say it now that I've finished the long stage. When I was having a difficult time, I got mental support from the fact that I'm running for a charity, 'End Polio Now'. With the help of Rotary, I raised $60,000 on the occasion of my participation in the MDS PERU. And I plan to raise even more after the race by showing my pictures and telling my stories."
Raoul BJORN (D005-FIN)
"I had been dreaming about doing an MDS for 7 years, but I was not too attracted by Morocco.
And since I always wanted to visit Peru, i seized the occasion to kill two birds with one stone and was the first one to confirm, one minute after the registration opening. I'm proud to be the only Finnish here and to represent my country.
BLOOD IN URINE IS BOTHERING CERTAIN COMPETITORS
Since the first day of the MDS PERU, DOKEVER, the medical assistance team, has noticed cases of hematuria (blood in urine). Hematuria is frequently found during ultra-endurance efforts, but the analysis of the archives of the 32 MDS MAROC confirms that the number of cases in this MDS PERU is high (but always of a similar intensity, with no urinary obstruction and no life-threatening condition). All categories of competitors (top athletes, heart and end of the pack).
Following this observation, the organisation team increased the quantity of water distributed to the competitors, advised them to drink more and investigated on the possible causes of this situation.
A first option concerns the water, since every competitor receives 10 litres per day, like in the MDS MAROC. Here, the water is slightly fizzy and has a strong taste. Certain competitors have made a link between these characteristics and the urinary disorders and have started blaming the water for all problems (digestive disorders, hematuria).
The composition of the water distributed at the MDS PERU has been compared to that of MDS MAROC: the chemical composition is similar, and the only difference is the pH (acidity). The water volume and the race conditions are very similar, but the relative humidity here is slightly higher. The water also meets all the requirements of the World Health Organization. Furthermore, two European nephrologists have confirmed that there is no a priori link between the water composition and the incidence of hematuria. However, after the event, the Ultra Sports Science foundation (USS), specialising in research related to ultra-endurance efforts, will make a scientific investigation concerning this non-ordinary situation.
In the meantime, competitors have been informed of the harmlessness of the water distributed, and doctors will closely follow each case. The staff is fully aware of the very unpleasant feelings induced by this situation.
Lastly, we should not neglect the consequences of the first stage, during which competitors started with 13 easy kilometres before hitting a 24-km stretch of soft sand under a strong heat. The volunteers of Check-Point 1 (K 14) noticed that a large number of competitors did not fully use the water offered to them, preferring splashing themselves rather than drinking or completely filling up their water containers. This has led to dehydration that still has repercussions today.
The good news is that doctors have noticed a regression of the symptoms when competitors are more careful about their hydration and adapt it to the intensity of their effort.
The rest day will do a lot of good and enable competitors to finish this first MDS PERU with a flourish!
THE TOP ATHLETES' RACE: TRAIL RUNNERS BEHIND ?
Tomorrow, we'll have the traditional 42.2-km stage, another splendid one but with numerous hills and probably less sand: will this be more favourable to trail runners such as Gediminas GRINIUS (D236-LTU) or Julien CHORIER (D111-FRA)?