M&MRC Cruce Story #8: Risks must be taken
Another warning we had received was that the downhill could be just as challenging as the uphill. The day before we’d run most of the declines as our blood was pumping with so much excitement from the views on top of the volcano and the run through the snow. Today was a different story. The sensation we felt in our legs with each step was something we’d never experienced with such intensity before.
We worked our way down the switchbacks and played what seemed like games with other runners as we passed each other again and again. It felt like it was never going to end. Earlier in the day, we’d made comments about it being next to impossible to move at the pace according to the distance markers we were given by volunteers and other people’s GPS. Finally, it seemed as if we were getting closer. We crossed a couple streams, which meant we were nearing the lake. And then we had a more definite answer. A volunteer informed us that we were meters from the shore and only 2 kilometers stood between us and the finish line.
We arrived to an incredible view. The lake we had crossed earlier in boat to get to Camp 1 laid before us and a blue speck could be seen in the distance. It was the finish line with the arch and clock. Two runners before us were already being helped into the water as the only way to finish was through waist-high water and along the beach. Then a voice was heard through the volunteer’s walkie-talkie. The race medic wanted to end the race. There was too much risk of getting hypothermia to continue allowing the runners in the lake. The course was to be closed and runners would be bused to Camp 2.
I’m sure you can imagine the fury. We hadn’t put in so much effort in the past two days to be disqualified. Slowly more runners accumulated at that spot while the young volunteer tried to stand his ground and convey the bad news. We argued and fought until finally someone said, “We signed a consent form so all responsibility is on us and we want to get wet.” And that’s just what we did.
There were about 15 of us at that point and one-by-one we stepped into the water while bracing ourselves on the fallen tree trunks and made our way to the finish line. We went over trees, beside the big, slippery rocks and then the final meters on the pebble beach. It was like an obstacle course that (at least for me) was the most exciting part of the day. It made those last kilometers different and the cold water helped us forget what your muscles had been telling us all day.
We crossed the finish line after 10 hours, no lunch and the sun setting over the mountains. What a day it had been, but one that can never be forgotten. Day 2 was done, which meant the majority of the mileage was behind us.
We’d taken a risk, went against the doctor’s orders and got wet, but what was all that fuss about hypothermia? We had dry, warm clothes waiting for us at the camp. Right?