Today started in a delightful tourist lodge on the outskirts of Windhoek. The runners gathered for breakfast next to bubbling water features, under large sunshades and helped themselves to a palatial breakfast buffet. It was all a far cry from what laid ahead of them.
The temperatures aren’t as face-meltingly hot as they were at this time last year. The 2018 runners walked into a blast furnace of high winds and 45degree heat. This year, with the sun at it’s highest, it was a much more manageable 38degrees with a light breeze to take the edge off. We are reliably informed though, that these conditions won’t last. We’re expecting increasingly high temperatures over the next few days.
After the 5hour drive along Namibia’s long straight roads, the runners arrived at our Spitzkoppe Base Camp in the early afternoon. This left plenty of time for the compulsory race briefings, medical briefings and some guidance on what to do if the runners encounter any local wildlife.
The atmosphere at camp is relaxed and friendly. Many of these runners know each other from other races and are trading trail stories. The less experienced runners are thriving on the opportunity to absorb some information from the veterans.
After the briefings were complete, most of the runners and race team took a walk out to watch the sunset from a rocky outcrop nearby, at the foot of the Spitzkoppe mountain, the 120 million year old granite monolith looming over the camp. As the sun sets here, the place becomes a prime selfie spot. Expect our runners social media accounts to be packed with glowing sundown shots for the coming weeks.
Tomorrow is Stage One, the Spitzkoppe Saddle. This 50km stage begins with a 12km stretch across sun-scorched scrubland with all assembled aiming for the narrow pass between two low rocky hills in the distance. Here they will find CP1 and head onwards across the desert to our next camp on the dry bed of the Oumaruru river.
The action begins at 8am local time (6am UTC). You can follow the action live via our GPS tracking system which will appear on the homepage of our website in the hours before the race, and via our Instagram and Facebook profiles. At this point, we’d like to thank Kinetic6 for helping to connect us to the world whilst we’re out in the middle of the world’s most ancient desert. Without their support you wouldn’t be reading this blog!