Stage 1: The stage finished approx 21:00 today. Ryan Sandes has about an hour lead on the nearest competitor completing nearly 90 kilometers today amid freezing temperatures. Most competitors completed a full marathon distance. Two competitors had to withdraw from the stage, Mark Jaget and Ken Perry of the USA. Both had issues with the cold but are resting and in good spirits. Guy Evans of the UK summed up the stage well: “This was simply the toughest day of any race ever. If we do not run another kilometer all week, we would have earned our medal.” For the women, Diana Hogan-Murphy of Ireland finished top of the rankings. The Italians all had a great day with Emanuele Gallo, Marco Vola and Paolo Barghini all doing very well. Adding a sober dimension to the stage and bringing the harsh nature of this wilderness home to competitors was a crab-eater seal in the middle of the course which had been attacked by an orca whale. The seal took many hours to crawl to sea with everyone holding out hope it would make it, which it did by 20:00 much to competitors’ relief. All competitors are now back on the ship enjoying pizza and pasta. Tomorrow’s stage will return to King George Island starting at 06:00 and lasting until 21:00.
Breaking News about Stage 2 of the Last Desert Race in Antarctica: As the Chinese meteorologist forecast yesterday the weather has deteriorated overnight. Today’s stage was scheduled to begin at 06:00, but the course team and competitors are waiting for an improvement in the conditions. It’s hoped that Stage 2 will kick off by 09:00.