Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun 2016 – The Faces of the final day

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Here are the faces of the 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun, today, Friday 17th June they will run the final 26km to complete the ‘transfrontier’ run.

A relaxed day with a late start, making sure we maximise the amazing natural hot springs before the final chip to the /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Resort. Around the first bend, the runners find themselves climbing up a short cut, before turning a corner on a long stretch of Fish River Canyon. An unsuspecting slot ravine swallows everyone up from the river, taking them on an exploration to the east of the Fish River Canyon on well-worn game trails. Climbing to a high point before winding  back to cross the Fish River Canyon again. Running up another dry wash following Zebra trails to below a climb to the peak above the /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Resort and a magnificent view over the mountain wilderness surrounds. A technical descent brings the runners back to the Fish River and soon cheers bring everyone to the finish of the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun®.

Race images will be available on iancorless.photoshelter.com

 

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Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun 2016 – Stage Four

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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!

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Overall, although not yet confirmed, the top 3 ladies and top 3 men positions will not have changed.

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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.

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Ranking after stage 4 (tbc)

  1. Jo Williams
  2. Tobias Mews
  3. Dawid Kaswarie
  4. Daniel Meyes 
  5. Stephen Cunliffe
  6. Linda Doke 
  7. Elisabet Barnes

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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

Nama People – Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun®

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One of the real advantages of travel and race coverage is meeting a new culture and gaining a new experience. Today I came face-to-face with the Nama people  who came to greet us and welcome us at the 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun.

Race images are available at iancorless.photoshelter.com

Nama (in older sources also called Namaqua) are an African ethnic group of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. They traditionally speak the Nama language of the Khoe-Kwadi language family, although many Nama also speak Afrikaans. The Nama are the largest group of the Khoikhoi people, most of whom have largely disappeared as a group, except for the Namas. Many of the Nama clans live in Central Namibia and the other smaller groups live in Namaqualand, which today straddles the Namibian border with South Africa.

Reference and information from ©wikipedia

For thousands of years, the Khoisan peoples of South Africa and southern Namibia maintained a nomadic life, the Khoikhoi as pastoralists and the San people as hunter-gatherers. The Nama are a Khoikhoi group.

From 1904 to 1907, the Germans, who had colonised present-day Namibia waged war against the Nama and the Herero (a group of Bantu pastoralists), leading to the Herero and Namaqua Genocide in which they killed at least 80% of the Nama and Herero populations.[2] This was motivated by the German desire to establish a prosperous colony which required displacing the indigenous people from their agricultural land. Large herds of cattle were confiscated and Nama and Herero people were driven into the desert and in some cases interned in concentration camps on the coast, for example at Shark Island. Additionally, the Nama and Herero were forced into slave labour to build railways and to dig for diamonds during the diamond rush.

In the 1920s diamonds were discovered at the mouth of the Orange River, and prospectors began moving there, establishing towns at Alexander Bay and Port Nolloth. This accelerated the appropriation of traditional lands that had begun early in the colonial period. Under apartheid, remaining pastoralists were encouraged to abandon their traditional lifestyle in favour of village life.

The Nama originally lived around the Orange River in southern Namibia and northern South Africa. The early colonialists referred to them as Hottentots. Their alternative historical name, “Namaqua”, simply stems from the addition of the Khoekhoe language suffix “-qua/khwa”, meaning “people” (found in the names of other Southern African nations like the Griqua)

In 1991, a part of Namaqualand (home of the Nama and one of the last true wilderness areas of South Africa) was named the Richtersveld National Park. In December 2002, ancestral lands, including the park, were returned to community ownership and the governments of South Africa and Namibia began creating a trans-frontier park from the west coast of southern Africa to the desert interior, absorbing the Richtersveld National Park. Today, the Richtersveld National Park is one of the few places where the original Nama traditions survive. Here, the Nama move with the seasons and speak their language. The traditional Nama dwelling – the |haru oms, or portable rush-mat covered domed hut – protects against the blistering sun, and is easy to move when grazing becomes scarce.

At the dawn of the 19th century, Oorlam people encroached into Namaqualand and Damaraland. They likewise descended from indigenousKhoikhoi but are a group who mixed with Europeans and with slaves from Madagascar, India, and Indonesia.[3] After two centuries of assimilation into the Nama culture, many Oorlams today regard Khoikhoigowab (Damara/Nama) as their mother tongue, though others speak Afrikaans. The distinction between Namas and Oorlams has gradually disappeared over time to an extent where they are today regarded as one ethnic group, despite their different backgrounds.

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Meet the runners who will take part in the 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun® HERE

Daily race images and reports will follow on the race day-by-day as the action unfolds via

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