The conditions were perfect from start to finish. Sun and a temperature around 25 ° C throughout these 4 days of racing, with some clouds just when it was necessary. All in an absolutely incredible landscape that some would not dare to imagine.
It was in these conditions that the runners began the first stage of 26.5 kilometers, offering us a predominantly Spanish podium on the men's side. It is the two WAA EXPERTS, Yeray Duran and Roberto Gil Lopez who set the rhythm from the start. The first one wins this stage in just over 2:30, when the second hangs the third place, joining him 10 minutes later. We could have thought that during the second stage, the two men might slow down the rhythm. Indeed this stage requires not to waste energy. Well no, the two experts decided to follow each other and finish this time on the first two steps of the podium, crossing the finish line at the same time. The story was no different during the last stage during which the two Spaniards finished again on the podium. It is therefore Yeray Duran who wins the final victory followed by his compatriot, Roberto Gil Lopez, who finishes on the second step of the podium! Roberto had already achieved a great performance at the Half Marathon Des Sables Fuerteventura in September, finishing third in the race. 3rd, 2nd, maybe 1st on the next Half Marathon des Sables?
On the women's side, Gaëlle Decorse, a member of the WAA Family, has been able to set the rhythm and dominate the first stage in what will be the beginnings of what is called a one-way meeting in other sports. A fight against the Ica desert, which obviously had no chance against her, since she was alone during the whole competition. A first place on the first, the long stage and as we rarely stop in such a good way ... we let you guess the end.
Number 1 from start to finish, that's what we can learn from the performance of Gaëlle Decorse.
On the side of the creatives, Edwin Ibarra, aka the man who defies deserts barefoot has also ended his race and he was not far from the podium. After conquering the desert of Fuerteventura in September, it was the desert of Ica that had to face the mental and fighting spirit of the Ecuadorian runner!
But as this race is also a team affair, let's talk about team results. Unsurprisingly, Team WAA EXPERTS wins this first edition of the Half Marathon des Sables PERU. After dominating the overall standings almost throughout the race, the victory seemed inevitable, and given their rhythm, a completely different result would have surprised us. She was closely followed by Team WAA who finished on the third step of the podium with a great race.
Congratulations to those brave runners who stayed focused when the effort became more complicated, when the wind and sand lashed their faces to discourage them. It was not so, we do not stop winners.
And winners, during this race, there have been. At first, it was all this people who embarked on this adventure. It is in this kind of adventure that the saying "the important thing is to participate" makes sense. Because of course, finishing on the podium of this race is fantastic. But just the fact of being a finisher or not, reveals a courage out of the ordinary. The courage to face during 4 days the desert of Ica and its innumerable dunes and to realize more than a hundred kilometers, to finally sleep under the stars.
By the way, prizes were not only given according to the performances ... When some bets on a small final time to hang a podium, others decided to remain faithful to their passion. Indeed, the Half Marathon Des Sables PERU counted in its ranks Team Vittel Bocuse d'Or, in which was Guillaume Gomez, famous chief of the Élysée. And being at the end of the world, in a sandy desert on the edge of the Pacific is not a good enough reason not to practice his passion, cooking. Team Vittel Bocuse d'Or has been awarded an exceptional prize for an equally exceptional meal. The prize for the best meal of the bivouac has been awarded to Team Vittel Bocuse d'Or for its succulent truffle soup.
It is in this warm atmosphere that everyone had fun, in a simply exceptional place. A race in a beautiful desert, along the Pacific Ocean, quickly forget the kilometers accumulating in the legs of runners, there is almost nothing better. (Except for a truffle soup, perhaps?)
And who would not dream of falling asleep in front of the Pacific after seeing the long stage?
The registrations of Half Marathon des Sables PERU 2019 are now open, do not forget to register you wish to live this absolutely exceptional adventure.