So how big is this event anyway?
Now that the registration deadline has passed, it looks like we'll have 67 boats on the beach for the entire 300 mile Everglades Challenge. There will be another 11 boats on the beach for the Ultra Marathon, a shorter event run simultaneously with the EC. The UM finishes at CP 1 in Placida 68 miles from the start at Ft. Desoto.
The view on the beach at the start promises to be pretty impressive this year. I was at the start last year and was pretty impressed by the diverse array of different people and equipment that do this. Follow this link to some pictures from the start of 2010 event.
While I haven't done the statistics, it's not unusual for one third to one half of all competitors to drop out along the way. The reasons for DNF vary, but the usual culprits are equipment failure and fatigue. From the accounts on the Watertribe message board, fatigue and/or lack of the will to just keep going is what knocks most people out. At the skipper's meeting before the race, the organizers told everyone that they guaranteed there would be a point in the race where they would find themselves tired, hurting, hungry, cold, and overcome with the urge to bag it and go home. They advised that was the point where one should stop, have some food, get warm, and get some sleep. Only after you did those things should one visit the decision to press on or drop out.
My mindset is to power through any adversity and finish. The goal isn't winning, the goal is making it to Key Largo. I figure as hard as it is to get to the start line, I'm damn sure not going to cross the finish.