he final stage (39km) was perfect: a worthy conclusion to a spectacular race with an amazing track. Today is the sand dunes day, beautiful dunes, tall and compact, where running while admiring the rock walls eroded by water and wind on the other side of the valley must have been unforgettable.
There was a real oasis at about CP4, a stretch of road from the rich vegetation, bathed by a small river. At the end of the stage, the runners have then reached the base camp running through a canyon formed by the bed of a river.
The first to finish the race was the German Rafael Fuchsgruber, which has thus ensured the victory of the Lite version.
The winner of the 250 is of course the Moroccan superchampion Mohamad Ahansal, covering the 39km of the stage in less than four hours. Then, the other Lite athletes Lite: Giuseppe Derosa and Gian Carlo Enna, which is passed to 150k after the long stage. The Norwegian Lein got his own record, reaching the finish line in 5 hours and 30, followed closely by Fabio Ferrario, outsider with his bike.
Tullio Frau today has really accomplished the feat: get to the end of a self-sufficiency multistage race despite his blindness. Our compliments to the will power and the ease with which Tullio tackled the whole situation, which at times has been complicated by the heat, and his inseparable friend Raffaele Brattoli that allowed him to get this wonderful victory.
Even Giovanna Caria is really satisfied with the result. She raced for the first time an ultramarathon and won the women’s Lite trophy. Reaches the goal the austrian Cristoph Harreither for 250k, followed by the Italian quartet Alberto Tagliabue (second overall), Laura Ricci, Nicola Ciani (third overall) and Roberto Zanda (fourth overall), arrived holding hands, really exciting time for everyone at field.
Is then the turn of the Lebanese Ladkani, who finished by winning a hard-fought race during which he has conquered the most difficult desert of his runners’s career. The iranians Shirzad and Reyhani complete the stage in about eight hours, and the other Lebanese runner Moustapha Ahmad came very satisfied with his performance. « For the first 20 km I literally flew! » He said once concluded his race, with a smile.
Last but not least, after two more hours got to the camp the Free to Run founder Stephanie Case and her collegue and friend Jenny Davis, with their ambassadors Alireza and Masoumeh. And is the latter the moral winner of this ISRU edition. The Tehran girl, participating for the first time at an ultramarathon. covered entirely the enormous distance, getting to the end thanks to her will power and performed something even bigger and more important: givig a tangible sign to her Iranian female runners that nothing is impossible, and that a something that seemed unheard of in his country only a few months ago – to participate in a race in which men and women run together – is now reality.
Mahsa has made history today: the merit of course goes to herself, but also to the support of Stephanie Case, who followed and cheered on step by step, and got in tears right after crossing the finish line. The four girls who have run the 250k (Masoumeh Torabi, Jenny Davis, Laura Ricci and Stephanie Case) got a first place ex-aequo , to symbolize the special women’s victory in this event which, we’ve got to remember, it is the first after 38 years in which men and women can compete simultaneously .
A great job for all, a great race with small adjustments can truly become a classic. In the evening at the camp, the runner had a wonderful surprise organized by Iranian volunteers: a real dinner after a week in self-sufficiency. The talented Mehran, driver and chef, cooked for the whole camp – he and his colleagues have peeled potatoes, chopped onions and cut tomatoes from the late afternoon – to make it a sweet last night at the camp, washing it all down with cold soft drinks, dream of every runner, bar none.
Photo: P Benini