Today, the 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun really did go wild with an early morning crossing of the Orange River and two days in Namibia.
It really was an incredible day!
Leaving the magnificent De Hoop Camp on the banks of the Orange River, runners were transported by a small rubber dingy on groups of 4-6 with a series of staggered starts on the Namibian side.
Race images will be available on iancorless.photoshelter.com
From here, the runners had a short run down stream for a few kilometres before reaching a small section of ‘main’ jeep track that runs past Oom Kobus Jansen’s old farm.
A runnable climb up Jansen’s Aloof follows to the base of Zebra pass, so named for the clear trail created by the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra – a species of zebra especially adapted to arid and desert environments.
What followed will be one of the most memorable sections of the day and maybe of the race for some, following a wild game trail rollercoaster down Zebra Kloof to meet with the enormous Fish River Canyon.
Once in the canyon, it’s a steady and hard fought battle up the Fish River Canyon to the Wilderness Hot Springs Camp to enjoy a welcome rest in natural hot springs.
Today, Elisabet Barnes found her legs and in her own words said, “I had a great day, I loved it!” Starting in the 2nd to last group, Elisabet caught all the runners before her and held off the top 3 runners of Tobias Mews, Jo Williams and David Kaswari all the way to the line but a slight navigation mishap in the final km allowed David Kaswari to pass her and with a sprint he took the stage victory – Elisabet finished 2nd.
Jo Williams and Tobias Mews finished just behind Elisabet and Tobias commented, “It was a tough day today, we made a few navigational errors and the terrain dictated that we needed to walk certain sections. The course and the route though was just amazing. It was a highlight of the week, it combined the best of the Richtersveld and Fish River Canyon was just amazing… I was sad to finish but I was also glad it was no longer; it was a tough day!”
Ultimately, it was a tough day and a tough day for all. The runners ran into the night and head-torches glowed in the pitch black night as the final runners ran into camp, 12+hours after starting.
Highlights of the day were discussed around camp fires under African skies with plates of hot stew – talk of Zebra, Ostrictch, Kudu and incredible sights. The Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun really did come to life today and as Owen Middleton (race director) said at the pre-race briefing, the opportunity to run and spend time in this wilderness is a complete privilege. It’s not our right to be here but an immense and memorable opportunity. It’s one the runners will not forget!
Overall, although not yet confirmed, the top 3 ladies and top 3 men positions will not have changed.
Tomorrow is the final day and at 36km, it will be a welcome shorter day but it has 3 climbs and a 300m technical descent to the finish at AI-AIS HOT SPRINGS RESORT.
Ranking after stage 4 (tbc)
- Jo Williams
- Tobias Mews
- Dawid Kaswarie
- Daniel Meyes
- Stephen Cunliffe
- Linda Doke
- Elisabet Barnes