07:00 And we're off to the races!
Stage 2 of the Women’s Marathon started out strong on a clear Solis morning. The route takes runners in a seemingly straightforward path through the Calydon Fossa. But as evidenced but the men’s race two days prior, injuries await the careless in this rubble-filled terrain
With runners closely packed, positions change quickly and constantly in this first leg. But Luisa Murilla of Europa has established a clear lead early on in this race. Murilla had placed in the bottom half of runners for Stage 1 and seems determined to redeem her performance with an impressive sprint out of the starting gate.
Tight on the heels of the 24 year old Murilla is San Olympus challenger, Lauren Maikini. Jen Kang of Chariton trails only a few seconds behind Maikini.
Kang is the sole challenger from the remote mining facility of Chariton. She seems as scrappy as the small but quickly growing settlement and is definitely out to prove something.
Despite some early troubles with her running blade, Katarina Sundqvist was able to quickly make up for lost time and by mid-morning had caught up with the leading pack and is currently running in sixth place.
13:30 Half Day Check-In
Noon finds the runners have fallen into a line as the forerunners maintain their lead. Endurance is the name of the game now as challengers have long hit their stride and are just focused on maintaining their position.
Maikini (San Olympus) and Murilla (Europa) are neck and neck now as they lead the pack with only a third of the course left to finish.
Meanwhile, Ze Xian Zhou of Tiangong has covered tremendous ground in the last 2 hours and has moved from her starting positions of 16th to be in the top 10. Winner of stage 1, Elaine Nguyen had a slow start in the Calydon Fossa, but has steadily made her way to the top ten as well.
Mechanical issues have plagued the challengers and Sundqvist and Cordeiro have dropped from the top 10 to the latter half of the group. A malfunctioning helmet lock-seal forced a third challenger, Julie Ferreira of San Olympus to drop out of the race half-way.
“Am I disappointed? Or course!” said Ferreira,”I know I could have gone so much further. But in a race like this, a runner is only as good as her equipment.”
The terrain has taken its toll as well. 3 challengers have dropped out so far and have been shuttled back to Marineris to recuperate.