Big Red Run 2016: Stage 5: The “Long Stage”
Stage 5 started from camp 2,3,4 at 6.00am to allow the majority of the field enough time to complete the stage with a reasonable amount of day-light.
Big Red Run: 84km Little Red Run: 42km Time Limit: 22 hours
Today’s stage is the last timed stage. And the majority of the field feel that this stage is the climax of the event. It is also the most challenging stage as many start in the dark and finish in the dark. It is a long day out for all the runners.
Temperatures at the start were very chilly – 3C at 6am. The runners nervously waited in anticipation around the camp-fire trying to keep warm as they waited fr the start. Bags had to be dropped off as the finish is at Camp 5, mandatory visibility vests provided by the organisation had to be collected, water bottles and bladders filled, flashing red LED lights fixed to back-packs, mandatory kit including fleece and thermals checked.
Then they were off under clear starry Antipodean skies. A stream of headlamps and flashing red LEDS snaked its way through the Australian bush as the runners soon warmed up. A leading group of runners formed with Andy Dubois “setting a blistering pace” in Elisabet’s Barnes’s words. In the leading group Andy Dubois, Elisabet Barnes, Jamie Hildage, Braddon Johnson. Elisabet later admitted “When Andy set the pace, I didn’t want to let him out of my sight. I reckoned that with an experienced ultra-runner like that, you never know if he will maintain the pace, open up the gap or blow up. So I decided to keep up with him”. And so when Andy did blow up half-way, Elisabet upped the pace, accelerated, opening up the gap to finish the day’s stage with over 30min lead on the second runner, Jamie Hildage followed by a tired but happy Andy Dubois.
Race Results to follow.