The scale of this stage is mammoth. For example, the short-course cut-off on this stage is at CP7. The team manning this CP set off before the runners at 5:15am and it took them, travelling by 4×4, just under 4hrs to reach that destination. The type of terrain and the eco-systems each supports changes all the way through Stage 5. At the highest points, between CP 4 and 5, the land is relatively green and the support crews spotted Zebra and Oryx grazing in the early morning light. From CP5 through to CP7 there runs a very gently undulating barren rock plain with a long straight road almost designed to sap the spirit. Many runners hit this brain-melting area at the hottest part of the day. Those who were able to avert their eyes from the never-ending 4×4 trail ahead of them got a stunning view of rocky mountains far off to the left which form the Doros Crater.
CP 7 is Hyena’s Den. A large, overhanging rocky outcrop in the middle of a seemingly barren plain. With a plethora of angry foot injuries among them, the short course group were Carolin Botterill, Thomas Minyi, Ben Ollivere, Pete Ryan and Emile Schutgens. All had put in their all, but their battered feet wouldn’t let them take on the final 23km of particularly technical terrain.
And the last section of this course is nothing if not technical. A steeply descending trail winding down through a tight valley which was as strikingly beautiful as it is strewn with large, loose rocks. In the rainy season, this section runs with white water. The view is dramatic as rock walls tower over each side. Tired legs struggle over this broken, twisted terrain.
As I began typing this blog, the runners who have completed their challenge were gathered at the final base camp reliving the experience and enjoying their first non-freeze dried meal in 5 days. Some of them climbed into their sleeping bags and slept where they fell, others raided the finishers’ beer fridge and started the celebrations early.
The race finishes at the Ugab Save the Rhino ranger station and, though no rhino were seen, there were plenty of other signs of wildlife. On the grassy plateaus around CP4 some runners saw lion and giraffe tracks and spied a few kudu.
As I type a team of seven runners, representing the last of the For Rangers team have crossed the line together drawing the biggest round of applause of the event so far. They’ve crossed the line over 18hrs after setting out into the dust. Hugs are being exchanged and a lot of high 5s. The camp is full of chatter and laughter, along with the expected moans and groans. You wouldn’t think for a second that these runners and this race team have been on the go since 3am this morning after 4 days of desert heat and grinding sand.
At 1:20am local time the final 2 runners crossed the line. They had marched through the ancient Namib for 20 hours. Dawn Jarrett and Lourens Rademeyer, our only Namibian runner, have brought this event to a close.
Results will be published in the next couple of days. In the meantime, we’ll be celebrating.
|Name||Stage One||Stage Two||Stage Three||Stage Four||Stage Five||OVERALL|
|Lucie Luft||Short Course||43:32:59
|Barbara Jones||Short Course||46:28:16
|Anthony Sheridan||Short Course|
|Ann Evans||Short Course|
|Brad Carson||Short Course|
|Calvin Barnard||Short Course|
|Derrick Khan||Short Course|
|Dietmar Rosenau||Short Course|
|Douglas Jones||Short Course|
|Hiro Takayama||Short Course|
|Jacqui Burke||Short Course|
|Jon Howard||Short Course|
|Juan Jordan||Short Course|
|Keith Nolan||Short Course|
|Lee Quinn||Short Course|
|Lewis Remsey||Short Course|
|Anthony Hyde||Short Course|
|Mark Entwistle||Short Course|
|Martin Hansen||Short Course|
|Nick Hedgeley||Short Course|
|Paul Harris||Short Course|
|Pete Ryan||Short Course|
|Peter Godbehere||Short Course|
|Phillip March||Short Course|
|Sallyann Smith||Short Course|
|Sarah Draper||Short Course|
|Takashi Okada||Short Course|
|Tia Beckman||Short Course|
|Tyrone Storer||Short Course|
|Yoshinari Ito||Short Course|