Day 1 0f the Richtersveld Wildrun got underway today on the stroke of 8am. It was a day of blue skies, white fluffy clouds and BIG landscapes as runners travelled from Sendelingsdrift to Dekoi covering 35.1km.
Pre race favourite Thabang Madiba ran a sold first day after initial worries about using a GPS for navigation. However, after a Navigation 101 master-class, he settled early and after Cp1 was heard saying, ‘The GPS is working great!’ Not having to worry about navigation allowed Thabang (from Pretoria) was allowed to run free and at the end of the day he had pulled away from 2nd place Dayle Wheeler by 10 minutes. Filippio Faralla finished 3rd man but was 5th on the stage.
Nikki Kimball for the ladies played a savvy waiting game in the early stages by running in 3rd place. She was actually 5 minutes behind Katya Soggot (Cape town) at Cp1. But at the end of the ‘Five Sisters” (5 consecutive mountains) she had taken the lead and was looking strong. A navigational error unfortunately ruined all the hard work… by the time Nikki realised her mistake, the damage was done and she needed to back track. “What can I say, I made a mistake! I switched off a little as I was running on a very defined path and when I eventually realised I was off course, I knew the damage was done,’ said Nikki post race.
Katya Soggot took over the lead but didn’t realise her position until she received information from the next control. From here on in it was a formality, Katya just needed to run a consistent effort and the day would be hers. Karoline Hanks who had run in 2nd for most of the day consolidated her position and Georgina Ayre finished 3rd.
Nikki unfortunately finished 4th 20 minutes behind the ladies leader. It was an expensive mistake
As day 1 came to a close, the winds started to increase and with it rain! To put this in perspective, the last time it rained in the Richtersveld was August 2014. With day 1 over, runners may well be in for a cooler and possible wet night. Conditions are expected to continue into the morning with hopefully dry conditions arriving at 11am.
British Olympic rower, James Cracknell unfortunately missed day 1 due to an extension by the BBC for him to continue commentary at the rowing championships in Poland. However, he is expected to arrive late in to camp on Tuesday and will start day 2 on Wednesday. Of course he will not be able to contend overall classification but our plans are for him to do day 1 at the end alone.
Thabang Madiba 3:31:33
Dayle Wheeler 3:41:15
Filippio Faralla 4:09:47
Katya Soggot 3:51:48
Karoline Hanks 4:09:42
Georgina Ayre 4:15:33
Please note, we have been trying to upload images but the storms are taking out our wifi connections making the process extremely difficult.
Here is a selection – more images to follow