Well folks all I can say at this point is that Salt Flats are not flat!
So we started off the day through fairly beastly sand dunes. As the sun warmed up the rocks and dunes, I felt a bit rubbish and breathless and struggled to find my rhythm. So, I had a pit stop just before CP1 to de-sand my shoes by a small river with David from Shanghai.
Out of CP1, I caught up with Wannachai from Thailand who is amazing. Then said bye as we headed across the desert. It was iPod time and once I had my tunes playing I was running and almost dancing across the desert through to CP2 where medic Alex changed my arm dressing to a bright blue one. However, he caused it to bleed and then sting like crazy when he put iodine on it! I danced on and on through sandy flats and then a small forest. Great excitement at the end of the forest as I finally saw some Alpacas.
Just as we turned into CP3, I trod on a massive thorn. It went right though my shoe! Very painful! I stocked up with the mandatory 3 litres of fluid at CP3 and headed into the salt flats… for 12 km. It is hard to give them a suitable adjective. They are not pleasant to run on. It looks like over-cooked, really crusty crumble topping covered in sugar. And, it goes on forever, and ever and ever and ever. I was alone, although other runners were in view and I got quite emotional. I pulled myself together and ran every two flags, walking one. CP4 eventually appeared and I crunched my way into it and had a bit of a tearful moment as a blister was playing havoc.
Watered and fuelled up, I pushed on for the final 10 km. Despite being after 4 pm, the sun was still beating down with no clouds in site… But, a gentle breeze was lifting. The horizon was still flat and went on for miles. At about 3.5 km out, the camp came into view like a cruel taunt as the road twisted this way and that around a beautiful flat salt lake where some bemused tourists were hanging out. I caught up with Dennis from Canada whose wife pulled out at CP2. He said my smile saved him and we finished together and stumbled happily into camp at around 6 pm.
Not too many blisters and a fantastic, if challenging day both physically and mentally. But we truly are in paradise as the sun sets over the Salt Flats behind me and the last few runners still come in. Hot beef curry on the menu and my favourite biltong. Another 70 odd km tomorrow and I can’t believe we are nearly at an end.
For your info tentmates of MDS 115 – there are no less than 4 crisp packets in my tent!!!