Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun 2016 – Stage Three

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Golden light illuminated the ‘Springbok Flats’ and moody blue clouds provided a stunning contrast to the opening miles of day 3 of the 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun.

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It was a stunning start to the day. As the runners progressed across the flats, they were spotlit as they worked their way to one of the key highlights not only of the day but the whole Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun – the Tattasberg Boulders.

Race images are available at iancorless.photoshelter.com

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Huge balls of rock, some the size of houses, leave an impression on the mind and eyes. Following a line of markers (the only section of the race to be marked for safety reasons) the runners weaved a route up, over and around the huge marbles of stone and at the top they then worked their way down to the valley and a downhill run to the Orange River. Across the water, Namibia and stage 4 of the race.©iancorless.com_Richtersveld2016_Day3-4286

But first, 10km’s of sandy trails would lead in to camp and the stunning setting on the banks of the river.

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As per day 2, the race had several start times, the first starting 1hour earlier than day 2 – 0700, 0730, 0800 and 0830.

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David Kaswarie, Tobias Mews and Jo Williams dictated the earlier pace to cp1 and then David pulled away and opened up a gap. At one point he had gained 15 minutes but after the Tattasberg boulders, the flat running allowed Tobias and Jo to close the gap to 10 minutes at the Orange River and below 5 minutes at the finish line. David finished in 4:08 and Tobias and Jo 4:10. David must really be kicking himself with his error on day 1, he would now be leading the race…

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Elisabet Barnes found her legs today and after the run she said, “I had a great day today, I was worried about the boulders but I loved the section and once we got into the final 15km i could run, I love to run and it was great to open up my stride and gain some time!”

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Linda Doke by contrast had a less successful day, “There was too much running today, I prefer the more technical stuff.” Linda lost time to Elisabet Barnes but her 2nd place is still secure.

In the men’s race, Tobias Mews still holds a convincing lead as does Jo Williams in the ladies race.

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Tomorrow, the runners go ‘transfrontier’ and cross into Namibia and the Fish River Canyon.

Stage Results day three:

David Kaswarie 4:08:11

Tobias Mews and Jo Williams 4:10:04

Daniel Meyes 4:42:48

Elisabet Barnes 4:46:41

John Cuff 4:53:09

Sue Peterkin 5:11:52

Linda Doke 5:12:37

Ryno Bakkes 5:18:34

Christiaan Vorster 5:21:54

Ranking after stage 3

  1. Jo Williams 12:44:00
  2. Tobias Mews 13:03:02
  3. Dawid Kaswarie 13:29:29
  4. Daniel Meyes 1`4:46:48
  5. Stephen Cunliffe 14:52:07
  6. Linda Doke 14:54:10
  7. Elisabet Barnes 15:43:38

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Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun 2016 – Stage Two

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A chilly night welcomed a beautiful clear morning and as the sun book the horizon, the ambiance in camp glowed with the sun. Starting in 4 specific groups based on finishing times from day one, the 43 runners departed at 0800, 0830. 0900 or 0930.

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It was a game of cat and mouse as the fast runners pursued those in front. David Kaswarie who had received a 1 hour time penalty on day 1 pushed hard, nobody a little perturbed with his demotion… he would be leading the race otherwise.

Tobias Mews and Jo Williams however, hardly let David out of sight and made sure that he was within eye view for most of the day.

Race images are available at iancorless.photoshelter.com

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Linda Doke in the ladies race ran a controlled race and paced herself for a consistent ladies 2nd place once again and 7th on the stage.

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Elisabet Barnes who had a tough day 1 placed 3rd on the stage maintaining her overall 3rd position, however, it was touch and go during the night and the morning if she would start day 2 – her multiple falls on day 1 had left her bruised but more importantly, she may well have a very serious sprain to the left hand.

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The medics did a good job with the application of supportive taping but Elisabet was strongly advised, “No racing and whatever you do, do not fall!”

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Post race, Elisabet commented, “I had a good day today but I didn’t push the pace. When I could run, I did and I loved it. On the more technical sections, of which there are many, I eased back and relaxed – a fall today and my race would be over!”

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Stephen Cunliffe after a great day 1 fell in the boulders and unfortunately badly sprained his ankle today after running with Tobias and Jo, he finished in 6th place but he had some real disappointment and hopes he will be able to run tomorrow.

“I was running with Tobias and Jo, we were taking it in turns to lead the way and navigate. I turned around at one point and took my eyes off the trail, a big mistake as my ankle just twisted.”

The stage, as one would expect of this region, was a stunner. Easy early running eased everyone into the stage. A gradual climb on good paths, followed by a descent was the prelude to more technical running and the feared river bed that was littered with boulders. This section provided a gateway to the final 4-5km of easy running to the line.

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In general terms, day 2 had considerably less navigation problems as all the runners are finally getting a feel for the map and gps units. However, there were a coupe of real errors that added some considerable time to one or two runners days.

Tomorrow, the runners will face the incredible Tattasberg Boulders and they will then finish the day on the banks of the Orange River with a stunning camp 3.

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Tobias Mews, who is leading the men’s race commented on his day, “People talk about the loneliness of the long distance runner, but the Richtersveld is to be shared. Mutual gasps of wonder should be appreciated with others, it’s lovely to make friends as we run and in Jo I have found a bond -it’s great to run with someone else and share the journey.”

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Stage Results day two:

  1. David Kaswarie 3:53:35
  2. Tobias Mews and Jo Williams 4:06:08
  3. Ryno Bakkes 4:29:15
  4. Daniel Meyes 4:29:52
  5. Stephen Cunliffe 4:32:48
  6. Linda Doke 4:40:51
  7. Christian Forster 4:41:50
  8. Elisabet Barnes 4:59:02
  9. Gavin Shang 5:00:01

Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun 2016 – Registration

RichtersveldFaces

The 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun® became a reality today… runners from all over the world have assembled in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

Race website HERE

Richtersveldwildrun

A 200km, five-day foot race from South Africa to Namibia through the ancient arid landscape of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.  From the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa to the infamous giant boulders of Tatasberg deep in the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park; this unparalleled journey then crosses the Orange River into Namibia and the wild lands of the Fish River Canyon.  This is the running experience of a lifetime; this is the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun®.
Day 1 starts tomorrow, Monday June 13th at 0800. Before the race gets underway, we feel it’s important you get to see the faces of those taking part.
Day 1 43.64km Sendelingsdrif to ‘De Koei’
Day 2 32.13km ‘De Koei’ to Hakkiesdoring
Day 3 39.78km Hakkiesdoring to De Hoop
Day 4 48.32km De Hoop to Wilderness Hot Springs
Day 5 21.3km Wilderness Hot Springs to Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort
Race images are available at iancorless.photoshelter.com
About the race:
Early archaeological evidence tells us that the San inhabited the Richtersveld area thousands of years ago. They hunted game (mountain zebra and klipspringer) and gathered berries and herbs. The first Khoekhoen or pastoral people moved to these regions from Botswana some 2000 years ago. Like the San, they were hunter-gatherers, and only slaughtered animals on rare ceremonial occasions.
In tune with the harsh environment, many of the Richtersvelders today are transhumant pastoralists, moving their livestock between stock posts with the changing of seasons. The rotation of pastures has helped to preserve the land from overuse. This is the last place in South Africa where pastoral people live on communal lands and one of the last remaining examples of the transhumant Nama way of living.
The harsh environment of the Richtersveld has through the years witnessed a story of determined peoples with a strong attachment to the land. Early last century declared a “Coloured Rural Reserve”, the land’s ownership moved in 2002 to the peoples of the Richtersveld. In this pristine land, devoid of mining scars and in harmony with transhumant pastoralists, an area of more than 160 000 ha has been put aside – first to create a Community Conservancy, now proclaimed a World Heritage Site.
From a distance you can see rugged mountains, sweeping deserts, a giant blue sky and glimpses of the might Orange River creeping along to the sea. On closer investigation you realise that you are standing in one of Africa’s most diverse and rich ecosystems.
The Richtersveld World Heritage Site sits in the heart of what is called the Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot – an ecosystem with an astounding 4 849 succulent plants, 40% of which are found nowhere else.
To be declared a hotspot, an area must have incredibly high species diversity and a high percentage of endemism. It is quite a unique distinction, as there are only 25 hotspots in the world. Even more unusual is that the Succulent Karoo is a desert and is the only arid biodiversity hotspot on Earth.
Conjure up a desolate and forbidding landscape, seemingly devoid of life, except for some people dotting along the horizon. Make a startling discovery upon closer inspection when the mirage dissolves into the human-like half-mens (half person) and the harsh environment prove to be a treasure-chest containing the world’s richest desert flora. Miniature rock gardens, perfectly designed by nature, cling precariously to cliff faces. Tiny succulents, mere pinpoints against a backdrop of surreal rock formations, revel in the moisture brought by the early morning fog rolling in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.

Rugged kloofs, high mountains and dramatic landscapes that sweep away inland from the Orange River divulge the fact that you are now in the vast mountain desert that is the /Ai-/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, an area managed jointly by the local Nama people, SANParks and Namibia Parks and Wildlife. This is a harsh and unpredictable land where water is scarce and life-sustaining moisture comes in the form of early morning fog – called ‘Ihuries’ or ‘Malmokkies’ by the local people – which rolls in from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, sustaining a remarkable range of small reptiles, birds and mammals. A staggering assortment of plant life, some species occurring nowhere else, is to be found here, with gnarled quiver trees, tall aloes and quaint ‘half-mens’ keeping vigil over this inscrutable landscape.The Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere, and second only to Arizona’s Grand Canyon in terms of size. 161km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest, the southern part of this canyon is largely untouched by tourists and remains one of the wildest and most remote corners of the world.

The /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is only accessible by means of a 4×4 vehicle, but vehicles with high clearances such as combi’s and LDV’s do travel in the park. Sedan vehicles are not permitted.
June temperatures are likely to be cool at night and comfortable during the day. However, it can get as low as 4-5 degrees Celcius during the night and as high as 35 degrees Celcius during the day.
Each day of this 200km, five-day journey will take you on a rollercoaster ride of geological splendour. From the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa, to the infamous giant boulders of Tatasberg, across the green swathe of the Orange River, and into the wild lands of the Fish River Canyon in Namibia – every kilometer is an experience within itself and will leave you stumped for words to describe your journey.