Atacama Crossing competitors set out in three groups on Friday morning with those with the slower times starting first at 7:30am, with Scotland's Jo Zakrzewski and the others with the faster times starting at 10:30am. The day started with an arduous section of salt flats followed by dirt roads, more salt flats and then a steep ascent of a large sand dune.
Macintosh Retires Early
The first stretch to Checkpoint 1 took its toll on several competitors including Scotland's Angus Macintosh, who had to retire from the race.
Jo Continues to Astonish
Strong winds blew up around 2pm destroying the tents at the overnight checkpoint. However there was no slowing Scotland's Jo Zakrzewski who continues to astonish as she not only leads the women's race but also begins to challenge the leading men for the overall title. Jo won The Long March in a time of 10:21:49 and finished ninth overall for the stage.
Checkpoint 5 was meant to be an overnight station for competitors to rest but the winds were so fierce the sleeping tents could not be put up and most competitors continued on to the end of Stage 5 and the opportunity to get some rest before the final stage.
Stage 6 will begin at 12pm today, with the finish line being in the centre of San Pedro de Atacama.