x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Thule stretch lead after impressing on Jebel Hafeet

New Zealanders look good for title and Ussher and teammates can make it two titles in a row.

Thule Adventure Team on the 11km adventure running/rope works circuit leg of the event yesterday. Courtsey Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority
Thule Adventure Team on the 11km adventure running/rope works circuit leg of the event yesterday. Courtsey Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority

Thule Adventure Team of New Zealand dominated again yesterday, stretching their lead to 24 minutes over the nearest challenger during the second day of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge.

With four days remaining in the endurance race, the team of Richard Ussher, Elina Ussher, Mercel Hagener and Nathan Fa'Avae appear well on the way to winning the competition for the second year in a row. They more than doubled their first-day lead in yesterday's running, biking and mountaineering events.

The French team Thule Adventure/Europe - Jacky Boisset, Myriam Guillot, Jarad Kolhar and Flinta Martin - remained in second place. Wenger of Switzerland climbed to third, followed by Team Netcompetence/Explore (Sweden) and Salomon Santiveri (Spain).

The competition yesterday opened with the teams running to Jebel Hafeet, riding bikes to the summit then using ropes and harnesses to get back down.

The 5.5km "adventure run" to the mountain was a difficult trek over rough terrain. Most of the runners managed to stay near the front of the pack, and several teams moved up in the standings. Guats Adventure (Canada) turned in the fourth-fastest time for the running segment, and Adidas Terrex (UK), China-1 and China-2 also fared well.

The bike race up the mountain was a 13.8km ride with a climb of 700m. Tight turns and steep slopes took a toll, and many teams used tow lines in an effort to maintain cohesion and assist slower teammates.

The racers then swapped their biking gear for climbing gear for an 11km adventure running/rope works circuit. Included in the test, which had a net elevation gain of 970m, was a ridge run descending into a canyon, followed by a 60m overhanging rappel. After running to the next rope works, they climbed along a canyon, then came back along the ridge to where they started - the summit of Jebel Hafeet.

Thule Adventure increased their lead over Thule Adventure/Europe by 14 minutes. Adidas Terrex and Guats Adventure also did well, breaking into the top 10 for the first time.