All this week we'll be keeping you updated on the third leg of the 4 Deserts race. Runners from around the world are taking on the grueling Sahara Desert in Egypt over a period of six stages.
Stage 6 Course:
Stage 6 will take competitors into the famous Pyramids of Giza, with a short five – ten kilometer sprint (three – six miles).
Take a look at this Video of Dean Karnazes talking about the sand hand heat from Stage 3:
It was still dark when competitors woke up at 0400 to catch the convoy of buses lined up 250m from camp. Even after the Long Day previously, they arose and got their stuff together and mustered the energy to trudge through even more soft sand and board the buses for a 5 hour journey into Cairo where the last stage of the race would take place – a 6km sprint to the finish line of the Sahara Race (2008) Egypt through the pyramids. When competitors finally arrived in Cairo, it was all a bit hectic and disorientating as they got off the bus and prepared to get into the mindset to run on through to the end first down a side alley where the local horse stables for the Pyramid tour guide, and then through the pyramid compound, running almost a whole loop around the pyramids and then up a small hill to the finish line. After 6 days out in the peaceful desert, it was very full on to submerge straight into a tourist hub in the middle of downtown Cairo. Nevertheless, competitors gave it their all, having already finished the hardest part of the race, this small section gave some of them a chance to make up time, or run in together with new friends or fellow nationals as a last stand of support. Paul H. Liebenberg (S. Africa) planned to run in with Ryan N. Sandes (S. Africa), but unfortunately, missed the pink marker flag on the corner of the turn off point to the finish line, and ran around a long way and lost sight of the finish line. In addition to this, other competitors followed Liebenberg down this detour and so there were some unhappy faces at the finish line. Liebenberg had a sense of humour about it though, saying, “well, that was a great tour of Cairo, deep into downtown, past the market, through the bazaar and back into the pyramids, so for everyone out there who came with me, just know that we ran further than this kid (Sandes).”
It was a fantastic vibe at the finish line, with an Egyptian marching band trumpeting out well known tunes and beating the drums to welcome the competitors in to their final destination of the Sahara Race (2008) Egypt. There were camels lined up on the sidelines and the pyramids were perfectly framed in the background by the bright green banner of the Sahara Race. Each participant who had successfully completed all 6 stages received a medal and they all donned these with pride and gratitude that it was all over. Another bonus was the huge stack of pizzas and coolers filled with beers, which after carrying dehydrated meals and drinking nothing but water (sometimes flavoured with electrolytes or recovery powders), delighted everyone.
Ryan N. Sandes (S. Africa) was the overall winner, and ran into the finish line at lightening speed in 18.03 minutes, arriving at 11.45.05. 2nd for this stage was Paul H. Liebenberg (S. Africa) at 11.55.53, despite having lost time with the extra distance. 3rd came Mirjana K. Pellizzer (Croatia) at 11.56.10. And Amr A.M Shatilla (Egypt), one of three Egyptian nationals partaking in the Sahara Race ran in at 4th at 11.56.31 – his family was there to greet him. Next came Ricky. D. Paugh (USA), followed by Norma A. Bastidas (Canada), Eric Chang (China/Australia), Annabell L. Chartres (New Zealand), Tom J. Aaker and then Kenichuro Yasuda (Japan) as the top ten runners for this stage. All competitors made it to the finish line in just more than 1 hour – with Enrico Del Mastro (UK) coming in with a massive smile on his face as the final competitor to complete the stage.
Overall, Ryan N. Sandes (S. Africa) placed first, having run as the leader consistently throughout the entire race with the impressive total time of 27.09.17. 2nd was Dean Karnazes (USA) who ran the course in 30.13.09. 3rd was Paolo Barghini (Italy) with the time of 30.43.59. Nina Breith placed 6th overall and 1st in the Women’s division with the time of 32.50.37. 2nd placing woman was Mirjana K. Pellizzer (Croatia), her time was 35.22.07 and she placed 16th overall. Cleo J. Oliver (UK) was the 3rd placing woman, and she placed 24th overall with the total time of 36.19.56 – this was Cleo’s first 4 Deserts event, and she performed exceptionally. The 1st placing team was, as it has been throughout the entire race, Team Sipa/Teko Socks (Denmark) – Jacob C. Nielsen, Thomas Roende and Henrik Eiberg, who were known for the songs and positivity they brought to the race, ran in great form for the entire course.