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Ultramarathon runner survives 75.7-kilometre leg
Posted: April 11th, 2013 @ 12:45pm
Martin Mack moved up 120 places Wednesday in the fourth stage of the 28th Marathon des Sables, a mammoth 75.7-kilometre run across the Moroccan Sahara Desert from Taourirt Mouchanne to Jebel el Mraier.
The Kingston man now stands 365th in a field of 1,146 remaining competitors. Fifty-two runners have abandoned the race, which covered 181.6 kilometres in its first four days.
In an email to family and supporters, Mack wrote that the early part of the race went well. He was able to keep "a decent pace" through the first three checkpoints, but by mid-day the temperature reached 54 degrees.
"I slowed right down and walked (for three hours) to save energy."
At that point, however, the course turned to deep sand and, Mack wrote, "I don't move well in sand."
"I had to stop three times to dump sand out of my shoes and during that time, two of my big toes blew up. The bright side: I have two less toenails to cut now."
Mack's goal was to reach the fifth checkpoint before it got dark. From there, it would be just 20 more kilometres to Checkpoint 6.
"I had had enough," Mack wrote. "I fueled up and left (Checkpoint) 5 just as it got dark. In the dark, I ran everything I could and walked the next dunes. From (Checkpoint) 6 I ran hard to finish by 11 p.m. (desert time).
"I pushed as hard as I cold. All in all, I had a good long stage."
Competitors had Thursday off, before embarking on a marathon-length stage of 42.195 kilometres Friday.
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