What’s been happening today…
Starting at the front – Tibi continues in first place, extending his lead during the long 120km stage from Aklavik to Inuvik. At one stage his lead was nearly 40 miles, but as I type, the difference has been cut to 26 miles. There is a sleep in hand when looking at these numbers, as Tibi has enjoyed an 8 hour break in Inuvik and will shortly be heading out onto the new Tuk Road.
The chase is coming from Ireland’s Paul Deasy, who is probably looking the strongest athlete on the course at present… but this is an ever changing beast of a race, so that can change at the drop of a hat.
Only 10 miles behind are Mark Strathern and Pete Newland. Both these runners are feeling the 250 miles so far in their feet, but at the same time are looking determined to see this through and beat the demons of previous year(s).
Running very close on their heels is our sole lady entrant, Jen Stronge from Inuvik, who is stalking Mark and Pete, just a mile back.
Currently carrying the lanterne rouge is our great friend Tony Ellis, who without question is the most relaxed athlete left on the course.
Unfortunately today, we have seen 3 athletes withdraw from the event – all in Aklavik. Jerome Lebicki has been cracking on brilliantly since the start and has for much of the time been accompanying Tony. But alas Jerome has succumb to early stage frost bite on his fingers, so to continue would be folly. Marie has been flippin awesome up until the last 36 hours. A sciatic problem has been causing her grief and no matter what manipulation or medicine has been applied, nothing seems to alleviate this problem. Finally Ian pulled out late this afternoon. The last 24 hours have been tough for him – but it takes a brave and honest man to simply say “ 380 miles is beyond him” with no excuses.
In a few moments, Tibi will be leaving Arctic Chalets and heading towards the 7th and final checkpoint. Whilst he proceeds on his merry way, we will be out checking on the other 5 competitors as they hone in on Inuvik.
Sorry that there are no photos of Tibi on this post – I simply ended up chatting to him whilst he repaired his sled on the Ice Road and I forgot to click the camera… will rectify this tomorrow on the way to Tuk…