With Day 1 and Day 2 in the bag Day 3 arrived and it was a bunch of tired runners that gathered for the 4AM start. That meant that we were up by 3AM for day 3. The idea is an early start to be on top of the mountain to watch the sunrise. However, there was no chance of that today with low clouds and mist covering the mountains.
Ready for the last day!
Early start so headlights on!
I was very happy as my legs and body was feeling much better than I thought I would at the start of day 3. I was tired, but not really sore. Still, I was glad that day 3 was only 17km long.
On our way for the last time!
The first few kilometers were run on the road. Everyone was in a great mood and the time on the road went by very quickly.
At some point we turned onto the concrete road we came down the previous day. Today we had to go up to the chalets we passed the day before. It was a steep climb but did not hurt as it did when I ran down this road.
Back up to the chalets on our well known concrete road.
Checkpoint at the chalets.
Early morning view.
We ran passed the chalets and up onto a road that leads to some radio towers. It was not long before we had climbed above the chalets. The road was wet and muddy. The first mentionable climb of the day was done!
Going further up.
Wet and muddy on the mountain.
It was dark and misty on the mountain but not cold. I was glad I chose to go with short sleeves. It remained very wet under foot.
Dark, wet and misty.
I knew we were climbing high again today and I kept an eye on my altimeter. According to that there was still some hard work ahead. Knowing it was the last day certainly made me push harder. I was on my way to finish an incredible race. I was in a very good space as I ran on the mountain.
Running here I felt awesome!
Soon the climb to the radio towers came into view. It was a “road” with two tracks. This made it easier but it was very wet and slippery in places.
Road up to the radio towers.
Slippery going up.
I ate more Race Food and kept remembering their add saying “you eat your way up a mountain”.
After some hard slogging I reached the radio towers. The marshals here were wet and cold. It was not too far from the mountain top now. The view was once again incredible.
Awesome view again.
From the radio towers we followed a trail along the top of the mountain. I took great care as there was some serious mountain edges on my left.
Trail along the mountain top.
The finish among the trees far below.
There was still some climbing to do.
Stay away from the mountain’s edge!
We followed the trail all along the top of the mountain. I was feeling strong and knew I was done with the most serious climbing of not only the day, but of the whole race! As we started the descent I passed quite a few runners with very sore knees and legs. I realized how lucky I was. My legs were tired but I had no pain anywhere.
Starting some knee breaking descents.
This is a beautiful place!
We linked up to the trail we ran on day 1. The last few kilometers were the same as day one, but I was feeling tons better and stronger than on day one. As the hotel came into view I phoned Anette who was there for breakfast. She could see me running and this gave me an enormous boost! Today I was ready to tackle that buttress!
Trail with Bradwag Buttress in the background.
I pushed quite hard on the way to the buttress and passed more runners. The faster guys from day 1 and 2 had much more pain in their legs than I did. The trail was still wet and muddy and I was very careful here. I didn't fall once during the race and was sure to keep it that way.
Wet and muddy trail.
Not long and I reached the stairs going up to the buttress. Today I had much more energy to tackle them positively. They were still a great test though.
Stairs up to the buttress.
Last steep push!
Then it was down the chain again…
Over some rocks…
Some interesting formations!
Through some hollows...
Over the little bridge for the last time!
To the finish…with a few runners I caught in the last few km.
I crossed the line in 03:27:42 for day 3. I was done! I finished the 2012 Golden Gate Challenge! I was very, very happy!
Day 3 done! 2012 Golden Gate Challenge done!
The last part of the trophy is your name on the base. Awesome!
Anette was there once again to welcome me home and I was in running heaven. How great is it to have this wonderful wife as supporter?
With my faithful supporter during the race…love her dearly!
What a journey! I am sure the Golden Gate Challenge will see me again.