Updates from stages 1 & 2 of the Atacama Crossing 2011
110 competitors from 40 countries had gathered at San Pedro de Atacama for the Atacama Crossing 2011.
After various briefings and the kit check competitors were taken to the first camp.
“The course is looking good,” added Ryan Bennett, a course team member. “Yesterday we marked towards the end of the course. It’s absolutely stunning, something you don’t normally get to see.”
Stage 1 Update:
Stage 1 of the Atacama Crossing 2011 is known as ‘Navigation by Rock’, with some difficult, undulating terrain over loose and soft ground. It is a 35.2km high altitude course that ranges from 3,263m (10,670ft) down to 2,627m (8,617ft).
Danish competitor Anders Jensen (29), the champion of the Sahara Race 2010, lead throughout the day and was first to finish. In second place was Chilean racer Martin Chincilla Gioa (24), a university student in Santiago who had earned 30th place in the Atacama Crossing 2010. America’s George Chmiel (30) came in third.
The women’s division was equally competitive with Mexico’s Nahila Hernandez San Juan (36) reaching the finish line in first place, followed extremely closely by the British competitor Sophie Collett (26). The two had run together for much of the day.
There were two withdrawals today, Stephan Holliger (44) of Switzerland, part of team Swiss Mountain Runners and Zhou Fan (33) of China. One competitor, Youssef Khater (32) was handed a 30 minute penalty today for losing his race bib. The last two competitors to cross the finish line, Wanda Summers (35) and Austine Rawllins (35) of the United States, came in as the sun was setting and a strong wind had built up, blowing the finish line flags in all directions as the entire camp erupted in applause.
Stage 2 Update:
Stage 2, named Slot Canyons is a longer stage at 41.8km (26.0 miles). The course leads competitors through river canyons, water crossings, across loose rocks and sand, and over almost 800m of elevation gains and losses.
Denmark’s Anders Jensen (29) sustained his lead in the second day of the Atacama Crossing 2011, narrowly defeating Martin N. Chinchilla Gioa (24) of Chile. United Kingdom’s Ian D. Holdcraft (36) followed swiftly behind in third position.
The leaders in the women’s field also retained their places, with Mexico’s Nahila Hernandez San Juan (36) crossing the finish line first and Sophie Collett (26) of the UK in a close second. Angelique Tostee (34), a business analyst and avid endurance athlete from South Africa, earned third position.
The competitors were unanimous in praising the day’s stunning array of scenery. “Today was amazing,” said America’s Scott McMurtrey (33). “The river going through the canyons was gorgeous. I thought that was going to be the highlight of the day until I got to the ridge with the spectacular views.”
It was, however, by no means an easy day, with 14 competitors withdrawing from the field. The last competitor who made the cut-off time of 2pm at Checkpoint 2 was Austine Rawlins. The rest of the course offered more moderate road and off-road loose rock on sand, and the final competitor to arrive at camp was Kumi Murakami (61) of Japan.
The competitors are now at a camp alongside the stunning salt lake Salar de Atacama – mentally preparing to head into what many agree is the most challenging stage of the race tomorrow, the salt flats of the famed ‘Atacamenos Trail’.
|Name||Stage 1||Stage 2||Total|
|2||Chinchilla Gioia Martin||04:01:33||05:46:59||09:48:32|
|3||Chmiel Jr. George||04:03:11||05:50:43||09:53:54|
|Name||Stage 1||Stage 2||Total|
|1||Hernandez San Juan Nahila||04:56:13||06:46:34||11:42:47|