At 17.34 Team Endurancelife Red (Tom Davies/Ben Turner/Nick Gracie/Natalie Taylor) crossed the finish line of ITERA-Lite at the Selkirk Rugby Club to complete a convincing win.
Their race time of 49.34.45 for the 345km course was well ahead of any challengers, and the second placed team is not expected for another 5 hours or so.
The team crossed the finish line carrying a Union Jack and Nick Gracie commented that it had been a long time since any UK team had won an ITERA race. Tom Davies said it was strange to have such a big lead and see no other teams, and they’d seen no one else either for most of the time and felt they were out in the wilderness, especially on the long MTB stage. Ben Turner added they’d not seen a shop or been into a town since they left Kelso at the end of the first stage!
The team discussed the course with race planner Tom Gibbs and said it was a good route and pushed them. Nick Gracie said he’d opted to portage one of the difficult weirs on the first paddle stage, saying it wasn’t worth the risk, and that another was a serious challenge and they should have portaged there.
Speaking about the long Southern Uplands trek he said, “It was pretty horrible weather and we were on the edge. If we stopped or slowed we got cold and our lightweight gear was only just good enough. It’s not what you really expect in mid summer and felt more like winter conditions at times!”
Davies said, “We didn’t sleep before the trek as it was too early and we wanted to make the climb up to CP20 before night fall. It’s so much easier navigating in the light and we just about made it.” Natalie Taylor thought they had slept around 40 minutes during the whole race and Gracie added, “None of it was quality sleep, it was a few minutes here and there.”
As the race is part of the ARWS Europe series the team win a place in the European Championship in France at the end of September, and they are all in different UK teams for the World Championship in South Africa in October. This race was perfect training ahead of that.
Finishing in the afternoon the team can now relax and recover before tomorrow’s prize giving and they will get a night in bed. The rest of the teams will have to race into and through a third night and have until 10.00 tomorrow (Monday) to finish.
Rob Howard, Sleepmonsters