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The Coastal Challenge: Stage Six and Finish

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Stage Six: Rincon De La Vieja to Bahia Salinas Bay (18 kilometers) “Hopping from boulder to boulder and navigating the slimy reefs was awesome!” said Bev Anderson-Abbs, from Red Bluff, California, about the last section of the 18-kilometer day, the final stage of the 200-kilometer Coastal Challenge.


The day had started in Rincon de la Vieja. After a soothing ocean-front snooze on the sand, racers sprinted off the start line at 9:00 a.m. Under bright morning sunshine, they trotted north along the soft, white beach. Weary legs propelled the field along the calm Pacific Ocean, until the route shifted inland, to a steep, mud-packed road that later turned gravely and dusty.


“It was a pressure cooker by PC [checkpoint]-1,” said Megan Hicks, from Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, who was hoping to retain her third overall position. “It’s been fun, but I’m ready to reach the end and celebrate.” While runners farther back in the field (who were dealing with blisters, muscle strains, and pure fatigue) alternated walking with “some running,” the leaders held a steady tempo pace.


“I took it pretty easy,” said Anderson-Abbs, wearing a festive, navy-blue-and-orange running skirt. “But it’s still a race, so you want to keep things moving and finish strong.” The short day pleased all, including Anderson-Abbs who won her sixth consecutive stage in 1:48 hours, cruising across the finish line hand-in-hand with men’s second place overall finisher, Kurt Lindermeyer.


Anderson-Abbs of Team Sunsweet won the women’s overall championship—in 22:05:44 hours—by more than three hours over Ligia Midrigal, who placed second. Madrigal said she was “happy” with her race and thinks “Bev is a real inspiration.” Hicks held onto third.


On the men’s side, Juan Carlos Zuniga, from Costa Rica, who placed second during the first two years of the event, won the overall competition in a speedy 19:38:55 hours. He and Anderson-Abbs will each receive $1,500 for their stellar running. “It’s a special way to start the year!” said Anderson-Abbs. 


“This was our best race yet,” noted Race Director Tim Holmstrom, as he watched racers cross the finish line at Bollara Resort, overlooking the waves crashing on sparkling Bahia Salinas Bay. “We had an exceptional field of competitors, staff, and volunteers this year and everyone came together as a community.”


Fifty-five out of the sixty-eight competitors from twelve countries who began the epic journey officially finished each stage: forty-one runners in the Expedition category and fourteen in the Adventure category. “The Adventure category was a wonderful success and exceeded our expectations,” reported Holdstrom. “We were thrilled that racers accepted and embraced the new division.”


Next year’s race will also have an Adventure category available for those seeking a challenge of shorter distances and Adventure tours for non-racing family and friends. Next year’s race will also be held in the southern part of the country. “It will be a new route zigzagging between beach and roads, with lots of hills,” Holdstrom said. “The third year came together great, and the fourth year promises even more!”


Additional information and details about this and next year’s race can be found at thecoastalchallenge.com.

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