Pain and joy on boa vista

pain and joy on boa vista

Coburg/boa vista – just before the christmas markets open in germany, four runners from coburg started their journey to the cape verde islands at the end of november to take part in the boa vista ultramarathon.

The 150KM ultramarathon is a non-stop race, where the participants have to run to a total of 15 checkpoints. Apart from water, the runners will not be provided with any food or drink during this torture.

Therefore every participant carries a backpack with mandatory equipment. This includes z.B. A sleeping bag, signal whistle and mirror, compass, rescue blanket, food with min. 4000 kcal, flashlight, spare batteries and space for min. 1.5l of water. Spare clothes and personal equipment (medicines, bandages) are also recommended.

After the arrival, two days are planned to acclimatize to the hot temperatures. One day before the race, each participant must have his equipment and physical fitness checked so that he can start the island tour on saturday at 07:00 local time.
Saturday morning at 05.00 o’clock we get a last breakfast in the hotel and are picked up by the organization team at the hotel. Here we go, the tension is rising. 4 coburg starters face the run. Julian popp (WFC coburg-neukirchen), stefan kempmann (team intersport wohlleben), markus sube (team X-bionic intersport wohlleben) and oliver malowitz (HUK run&bike team).

Oliver malowitz is on the island for the first time and can rely on the experience of his comrades-in-arms. Stefan has successfully completed this race twice, julian has been to the island twice – but so far it has only been enough for the 70 KM distance. Markus is already the seventh time at the start and still has a bill open. He has finished the 150 KM race three times, but the last two times he dropped out at KM 70. So four trailrunners stood at the start with very mixed feelings.

At 07:02 o’clock (no stress!) the race management gives the start signal and 26 runners go on the long distance; further participants on the 42 and 70 KM. Despite the early hour, we are cheered on by many locals and spectators until we are already after 1 KM on our own over gravel and sand in the wilderness running. The first 7 KM we were allowed to cross the island to reach the first checkpoint (CP) at a stranded wreck. The sun is slowly getting stronger and the forecast that saturday will be "cloudy and windy is not quite true. It was very windy, from cloudy was not much to notice. From CP 1 to CP 2 it went 8 KM along the coast in the deep sand to espinguera, a small lonely hotel complex far away from the tourist routes.

We were now allowed to go inland again over cross country paths and beautiful sand dunes. The landscape changes constantly and so does the ground. In the midst of the rough dunes, checkpoint 3 is located on a lonely palm tree.

From there we come over firm impassable gravel roads in a green oasis, which one can not imagine with the thirst of the island so at all. Finally back at the sea at CP 4 – the chimney – arrived, are 5 KM on the beach to run, before the path on the steep crust on partly stuck paths still 8 KM continues. The wind, the blazing sun and the sand make it difficult to run. The first blisters on the feet are noticeable and the thoughts wander off "it is only about. 33 KM and already the first bubbles, how should this go on?" Meanwhile two groups have formed and so markus and stefan run together and are about. 15-20 minutes before oliver and julian, but within sight of each other.
How heibt it so already: together we are strong! Here it is also true!

At the checkpoints the two teams meet again and again and motivate each other. After a short rest to refill water or to eat a snack, we continue immediately to not lose too much time. Arrived at CP 5, all water bottles are filled to the brim, because the next section leads almost 13 KM along the beautiful santa monica beach. The tide leaves no room to run on wet and therefore solid sand.

Arrived at CP 6, the runners take a short break and prepare for the night – headlamps are unpacked and the mandatory flashlights are attached to the backpacks. The terrain is now becoming challenging, as many stones are lying on the paths and every step has to be taken consciously, so as not to fall over or step on one of the many crabs that are magically attracted by the light of the headlamps. The route is now marked with reflectors, lights and white color markings. For some runners the mudiness is noticeable and so oli and julian strengthen their team for a short time by a runner from one of the neighboring islands, who almost made a wrong turn in a curve. Here the experience of julian pays off, who already knows the route to CP 7 from the last two years.

Arrived at the checkpoint markus and stefan are already gone again. Last year markus and julian left here and so the break is limited only to the most necessary. The time limit of 16 hours is reached without problems, but also at the next checkpoint there is a limit and the runners don’t want to reduce the buffer unnecessarily.

The route runs along the saltworks, first on sandy paths and then on rutted roads, and the teams make good progress. At CP 8 there should be time for the treatment of the blisters; the time limit is kept without problems. The obligatory equipment also includes an antiseptic (iodine) and so the coarse blisters are opened and provisionally treated before the path continues over gravel paths towards CP 9 – the lighthouse of the island.

Meanwhile the first advent has arrived and the lighthouse is already in sight – at least a small light can be seen. The climb to the lighthouse monte negro is short and steep. Again, the two groups of two meet briefly at the checkpoint and exchange information. Also for julian the course is new territory and so stefan and markus give him helpful information about the next section: ground, slopes, special features. The distances are listed in the course book, but kilometers don’t say much about the time needed for this route.

The next checkpoint is located in the middle of the village in a garage and the 100 KM mark is broken. There are only 50 KM, but luckily oli and julian do not know the particularities that are still to come. After a short break first stefan and markus go to the next destination, the CP 11. Followed by oli and julian the way goes on in the night on solid gravel roads 8 KM further. Almost impossible, but unbelievable it starts to drizzle all at once. Fear rises: what if it really does start to rain?. We still have 11 KM on the sandy coast to run and it will not be easier. But fortunately this was only a short shower and the fears in vain. At CP 12 the german competitors meet again and from this point on they stay together on the course. Oli still treats his blister at the fub and immediately it goes off again to exploit the last minutes in the darkness and hollow. Already after approx. 2 KM on the horizon the sun comes up and you immediately notice how the temperature increases many times over. The remaining KM to the next supply point is one of the most difficult stretches. It goes steadily through deep sand, canyons are to be crossed and by the violent wind are partly the route markings fallen over, which makes the orientation clearly more difficult.
Full of joy that finally for the last 30 KM no more sand is to be expected, the four have reached espinguera and strengthened themselves anew. The race management has at this point oli and markus together a beer handed (what the rules do not provide), so that markus this year reaches the finish and his open bill from last year can finally settle.
Now there are only 30 KM, but 7 h 23 minutes remain until the finish is crossed. This time for 30 KM, something does not fit? Unfortunately, however, the sun takes its task more and more seriously and the temperature rises to over 40 degrees, the ground is the next 24 KM hand-laid cobblestones, which reflects the heat super. The two mountains and – not to forget – an 8 km straight run, which does not want to end at these temperatures. Markus sees at the end of the road already people waiting for them and then must realize that this was only a road sign. The long night and the day before are in the bodies and minds of the runners, but the mutual motivation and the spirit of the group keep them running. Finally arrived in rabil at CP15 the finish can already be smelled and the last checkpoint is left quickly. 2 KM along the airport and then 6 KM on the main road to sal rei, which is already long to see. It is hard to believe how long these KM can drag on and how long these stretches from curve to curve to fub last. Everyone runs his tempo and shortly after the place name sign the four runners come together again. People are printing, congratulating each other already and the first tears of joy are making their way unhindered.

Finally the long preparation time is rewarded and the tension before the race gives way to pride and joy. All runners had to struggle with doubts and fears before the race: can I hold out?? Hopefully the bubbles will remain harmless! Will my knees and muscles hold out?

Now the last KM lies before the team and this wegstuck is enjoyed by all despite aching fube. With smiling faces and under the applause of the spectators, all four german starters cross the finish line at the same time after 32 H 46 min and fall laughing into each other’s arms.

Boa vista ultramarathon is a race that has the same course every year, but every year brings new surprises in terms of the external factors. We have faced the challenges of 2013 and finished them with a grandiose finish

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