Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun 2016 on RUNULTRA

Richtersveld

“South African trail running pioneer Linda Doke and 2015 Marathon des Sables female champion, Elisabet Barnes placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in the ladies’ race. Both ladies summing up their experiences with a similar thought process, “What an incredible privilege it was to spend 5 days running through this magnificent part of the world on the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun®. Sometimes it takes experiencing places like this to remind us how just how fragile and yet so powerful nature is, and how unbelievably insignificant we are in the bigger scheme of things.” – Linda Doke –

Read the full article: HERE

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Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun 2016 – Stage One

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The silence was deafening. The darkness was black, oh so black and the stars glowed in abundance in the sky. It was the first morning of the 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun and anticipation was high.

There was a high level of anticipation, nerves and worry – particularly in regard to the route and the provided GPX files that had been uploaded to GPS units, or not, as was the case in some scenarios.

Buttons were being pressed, beeps could be heard and chins were being rubbed as rapid navigation 101 was undertaken just 30-minutes before the 0800 start.

Suddenly they were off and what followed was a stunning warm and sunny day in the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

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At the first control point, backed by an amphitheater of rock, it was soon apparent that despite a gps route, many runners were using navigation knowledge to cover ground as quickly as possible. The rule of the race confirms that between controls, the gpx route is a guide and that providing access to the control is from the correct direction, then a free route choice was allowed.

Tobias Mews and Jo Williams were the first to arrive at the first control but not via the direction the gps route indicated – was this a tactactical navigation move to gain time?

Race images are available at iancorless.photoshelter.com

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It looked like it as Linda Doke and Stephen Cunliffe arrived via the same route option. Slowly but surely runners arrived but a lack of Elisabet Barnes raised a few alarm bells. Elisabet arrived approximately 30-minutes later have followed the gps route, mark-by-mark. The 2015 Marathon des Sables champion was now on the back foot with a tough chase on her hands.

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At control 2, Linda Doke and Stephen Cunliffe arrived and then a string of runners

and then Tobias Mews and Jo Williams – it was a little confusing, how had so many other runners gained so much time and what had been the leading duo?

Tobias Mews explained post race, “We made a navigational error and had to backtrack obviously loosing time and allowing Linda and Stephen to take the lead, however, we were surprised to then find other runners infront of us when we chased – we later found out that these runners had missed control one!”

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The savvy navigational shortcut early in the race had unfortunately caused a problem for 5 competitors and due to missing the control, a 1-hour time penalty was applied.

What followed was a strong effort by Tobias and Jo, they reeled in the other runners, pursued Linda and Stephen and then pushed on. It was a brave move so early in a five stage race however it payed off.

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Jo Williams and Dawid Kaswarie finally made a break from Tobias and Stephen and they crossed the line joint first in 4:27:43, only for Dawid Kaswarie to loose all his hard work with a time penalty. Stephen Cunliffe and Tobias Mews ran together to finish joint 2nd in 4:46:49 and Linda Doke finished 3rd in 5:00:42.

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Way back in the race, ladies pre-race favourite was having a bad day – she had taken a tumble and was running with open wounds to her left knee and unfortunately another minor navigation error resulted in some additional lost time. Something was right though, Elisabet fell a further four times and once back in camp she relayed her story, “I saw Tobias and others taken an alternative route and I decided to follow the gps route as I was under the impression that was the correct thing to do. I lost time and sometimes you just have to accept that these things happen. However, I was feeling light-headed, lacking focus and after falling once, I fell a further three times. I feel a little banged up – it was a tough day!”

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Elisabet was not the only runner to make errors with navigation, in nearly all cases it was the error of the runner to solely rely on the gps as a form of navigation and not use the provided map as a reference and counter reference. For some it was a tough lesson.

Day 1 at any multi-stage race can be a tough one and here in the Richtersveld, the 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun has provided a greater test than some expected.

Despite difficulties, the unanimous decision about the route and the scenery has been glowing – “This is like running in heaven,” said

Results day one:

  1. Jo Williams 4:27:43
  2. Linda Doke 5:00:42
  3. Elisabet Barnes 5:57:54
  1. Stephen Cunliffe and Tobias Mews 4:46:49
  2. David Kaswari 5:27:43
  3. Daniel Meyes 5:34:08

IMAGES to follow when we can get connection

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.

Richtersveldwildrun

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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Richtersveld Wildrun 2015 Day 3

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Today the Wildrun lived up to expectations and really did become a wild run! The weather cleared, the winds dropped and the rain disappeared and we were all treated to a very special South African day.

Today’s course was special!

Notably, the Tatasberg Mountain is one of the most impressive sections of ‘trail’ I have ever witnessed. I use the term trail very loosely as it was a combination of scrambling and boulder hopping, not only on the way up but down. It was an intimidating section for some. A fear of heights not recommended. However, in pain, fear or discomfort on the climb was rewarded with incredible views. It was stunning!

Racing started at 0800 with separate waves; 0800, 0830, 0900 and 0930; slower runners starting first and faster runners in the last wave as per the previous day. Early running was relatively easy but the views were stunning. Particularly as early morning cloud cleared.

By the time the runners reached the climb of Tatasberg at approximately 16km, Thabang and all the usual suspects had pretty much caught all the early starters with the exception of 3 people.

Thabang made the boulders look easy as he hopped from one to the next. The other runners used a little more caution and a natural gap opened. Katya Soggot and Dayle Wheeler closely followed James Cracknell as he pursued Thabang, occasionally helping each across the larger boulders. Nikki Kimball trailed a little but only by minutes. At the summit the boulders started to clear providing the occasional opportunity to run.

The bottom of the climb opened up to a wide plateau and then a clear zigzag trail lead to the lush Orange River and across the water, Namibia. Lush green vegetation populated the left and right banks. It was a stunning contrast to what had come before. Running along the river banks, the sound of flowing water, birds and the occasional baboon made this day, arguably the best one yet.

Camp was located next to the river and of course, a braai was prepared for the arriving runners. Thabang Madiba arrived first (once again) closely followed by Katya Soggot, Dayle Wheeler, Karoline Hanks, Nikki Kimball and Filippo Faralla. But today really wasn’t about the racing, it was the course that was the hero. It was the Richtersveld National Park that had completely blown the minds of every runner and every runner on the Richtersveld Wildrun race.

James Cracknell had a tough day, his groin strain and twisted ankle from the previous day reducing him to a frustrating walk. He is currently unsure if day 3 is possible for him. He’s a stubborn and committed competitor and after travelling all this way, once has to think that he will fight his way through the last day even if it is slowly!

 

Results 

Thabang Madiba 3:24:03

Dayle Wheeler 3:32:31

Katya Soggot (1st lady) 3:32:31

Nikki Kimball (2nd lady) 3:49:10

Filippo Faralla (3rd man) 4:04:10

Karoline Hanks 4:04:10

 

Nikki Kimball has now moved up into 2nd overall, 10 minutes ahead of Karolin Hanks.

 

Men:

Thabang Madiba 3:24:03

Dayle Wheeler 3:32:31

Filippo Faralla 4:04:10

 

Ladies:

Katya Soggot 3:32:31

Nikki Kimball 3:49:10

Karoline Hanks 4:04:10