High Noon. Friends, family, followers, Dudes and Dudettes wherever you may be - this epic journey - and I mean epic in every sense of the word, has finally (for Steve anyway - some still running) come to the end. I was with Blain (skype that is) from the start to the finish. I know most of you out there in the blogosphere have been following Steve's progress so I won't go into the numbers; what I can tell you is that he finished at #97 today with a time of 10:56:49 which, as I write this, has put him in final position #172. That's interesting, when I started this post he was at #126 overall, that means that even though guys are coming in behind him in this final stage they could still overhaul him by virtue of having acquired a lower cumulative time. Before he left for Morocco Steve confided in me that he would call it a success if he just managed to complete the course, a bonus would be finishing in the top half, coming in at #172 is truly awesome.
Bee and I were very excited by the prospect of a 'grandstand' finish and seeing Steve come thru on the webcam but we were both let down, I guess the site was getting so many hits that the coverage was very poor, often freezing for minutes at a time. Sometimes B had coverage and sometimes I did, we worked out a 'takoushi' (ask Steve) method of dealing with this, B would skype me with video and I would take the call on my ipad, then I would prop up the ipad in front of my pc screen and in this way I could relay the pictures to Blain when she had none. In the event we followed Steve's progress thru the 'posy' site, tracking him by seeing which runners around him had passed thru the only checkpoint and trying to figure out when he would come in. Blain was pretty confident that he would take between an hour and an hour and a quarter since this was the kind of performance he was putting in during training, plus she said that the entrants all give their kit away to the Berbers before the final stage and can sprint this part, additionally - notwithstanding the effort that they have made all week - there would be no more after this and so no reason to hold back... hmmm. I am an optimist as you know but during this past week I have been burnt so many times that I have provided myself with the equivalent of a firewall and so my prediction was one and a half to two hours. B actually said that she would bet money on her estimate. Steve took exactly one hour, forty five minutes and seventeen seconds, Blain - I'll be around soon to collect. I just took a sneaky peek at the final scoreboard, Gary Pickering came in at #159, well done Gary! and Mark Clifton who I thought was down and out on thursday has hung in there finishing at #628, what manner of men are these? - well done Mark, that's what I call tenacity.
I sure hope he met his target for fundraising and I want to say right here and now on Steve's behalf and on behalf of all those people who will benefit from this - a whopping thank you to all of you who have donated or provided support or sponsorship; the difference that a seemingly small gesture can make is astounding, I just wish there was a way for you to see the results for yourselves. Who knows? maybe this week will inspire one or two of you to do something like this for your own chosen cause.
I must say that I have enjoyed hosting this blog and sharing the experience with you, this is my last post, Steve will be back in the UK on monday and spending the week here recovering before flying off on saturday night to arrive in Sydney next monday. I feel so sorry for him because this will be the third year in a row that he'll be flying on his birthday and losing the entire day - bit like being born on February 29 I suppose.
I am gonna return to my life now, thanks again all of you for just being there, and thank you Steve for letting me share this experience with you - still blown away by your courage, strength and fortitude - I love you Dude and I'm mighty proud to call you my Son, now go home to your beautiful wife and stop all this fooling around in the sand nonsense.
Love - it's all you need,