Marathon Saturday was a glorious day of sunshine, blue skies, and cool breezes. Strangely, despite all the rain we had a few days ago, it was also really dusty. The marathon went off beautifully, with only two accidents that I know of … both involving Belgian drivers. Despite the hold caused by one of the turnovers while the navigator was taken to the hospital, we’ve heard that everyone is fine. [edited to add that, on Sunday, an announcement was made that the Belgian groom was doing better but was still in the hospital for observation and that she would be taken home to Belgium on Monday]

Ponies were flying all day. The report is, in fact, that Britain’s Susan Denney flew so fast through the hazards (which she certainly did) that she also flew through the rest of the course and ended up with a bunch of time penalties for being too early. Ooops!

As is usual on marathon day at a world championship, the venue was filled with packs, often verging on hordes, of national fans, dressed in their country’s or driver’s colors, sporting funny hats, and carrying all sorts of flags, noise makers, and the like. At this particular venue, the obstacles were so close together (as far as the spectators were concerned) that two were in one area and then six were just down the road with a hill in the middle and the six grouped around … allowing for the fans to walk between obstacles to follow their drivers rather than station themselves at one obstacle or run between them.

In the single pony division, Arjo van Kekam (NED) is in the lead after the marathon, with Suzy Stafford (Go Team USA!!!) currently in second place, and Melanie Becker (NED) currently in third. Suzy, then, will go next-to-last in this morning’s cones competition. Sherri Dolan is currently in 22nd place, and Sara Schmitt was unfortunately eliminated for missing a gate in one of the obstacles (number 2, I think).

Suzy Stafford in obstacle number 4 (photo by A.J.)

Suzy Stafford in obstacle number 4

Sherri Dolan and her very enthusiastic navigator, Claudia, in a marathon obstacle (photo by A.J.)

Sherri Dolan and her enthusiastic navigator, Claudia, in an obstacle

Sara Schmitt in the final obstacle, one of two with water

Sara Schmitt in the final obstacle, one of two with water

In the pairs, Daniel Schneiders (GER) is in the lead, Stephan Koch (GER) is in second, and Steffen Abicht (GER) is in third. Tracey Morgan is now in ninth place overall, Randy Cadwell (who finished seventh in the marathon) is now in 24th place overall, and Katie Whaley is in 25th place overall.

Tracey Morgan in obstacle number four

Tracey Morgan in obstacle number 4

Randy Cadwell in the "hill" obstacle

Randy Cadwell in the “hill” obstacle

Katie Whaley splashing through the final water obstacle

Katie Whaley splashing through the final water obstacle

In the four-in-hand division, Germany’s Tobias Buecker is in the lead, Steffen Brauchle (GER) is in second, and Jan de Boer (NED) is in third. Laurie Astegiano has moved up one spot and is now in eighth place overall. Lisa Stroud is in seventeenth place at the moment.

Laurie Astegiano navigating through "the ruins" (obstacle number 4)

Laurie Astegiano navigating through “the ruins” (obstacle number 4)

Lisa Stroud galloping into an obstacle (photo by A.J.)

Lisa Stroud galloping into an obstacle

We’ll see what happens in today’s cones competition … but, first, enjoy some of the sights and faces of yesterday’s marathon:

Austrian fans decked out in red and white (photo by A.J.)

Austrian fans decked out in red and white

a couple of goofy Dutch hats ... bright orange, of course (photo by A.J.)

a couple of goofy Dutch hats … bright orange, of course

a German fan getting into the spirit of the day

a German fan getting into the spirit of the day

some French fans carried this flag around all day (photo by A.J.)

some French fans carried this flag around all day

this many, and more, Dutch fans followed each of their drivers from obstacle to obstacle and offered their support all day (photo by A.J.)

this many, and more, Dutch fans followed each of their drivers from obstacle to obstacle and offered their support all day

a Hungarian driver and his navigator urging their pair of ponies on (photo by A.J.)

a Hungarian driver and his navigator urging their pair of ponies on