Salim and Arnaud. They have shared so much over the years, were is the Animal? He has nothing left in his legs and told Salim to go. 17:50, 17:55, 17:56, 17:57 Arnaud appears. 3 minutes left before the cut off time! He looks like a dead man walking. But make no mistake, he is no quitter, he never has been, it’s just not in his nature. Respect! He does not want to stop, he knows if he does he will not be able to stand back up. He knows how to squeeze the last drop of energy from his body!
Joe steps in as Running Crew support for the last 22km. Full of smiles, Joe must be a refreshing support in this still miserable conditions with rain and wind.
An hour later they get to the top of the ascent. They continue on the flat and Arnaud catches up with them! He found some juice as Salim was slurring his words and was getting imprecise with his footsteps. His turn to focus if he wants to finish this challenge.
Like in any endurance sport, you will hit a wall! Are you strong enough to demolish it? Climb it? Find a way around it? Or will you stop? Myriam and I head for a nice glass of champagne and cocktail drink.
They take over 4 hours to complete this section and we meet them a few hundred metres from the finish line. They are all smiles, the pride already oozes from their eyes. They have made it!! They are CELTMEN! X-tri – One of the three worldwide most extreme long distance triathlon. We are humbled.
Epilogue: 156 finishers, 12 DNF (Did Not Finish) and 1 possible disqualification. Arnaud lies on the floor and is wasted. Time to head back to our B&B. It’s 1:00 am, 23 hours non-stop, time for a well deserved rest. Salim progression stats, not for the faint hearted: 1/2 IronMan, 1 DNF Ironman, 1 Ironman, 1 Extreme Triathlon…what’s next? Stay tuned!