This is Episode 114 of Talk Ultra and we have two interviews from Western States – Ladies champion Kaci Lickteig and the incredible Jim Walmsley who looked to break all WSER records only to go off course at 92 miles. We also speak with Joanna Williams, the outright winner from South Africa’s Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun. We have the news, ultra chat and Ryan Sandes co-hosts!
Andrew Miller 15:39
Didrik Hermansen 16:16
Jeff Browning 16:30
notable Paul Giblin from UK 5th 16:53
Kaci Lickteig 17:57 4th fastest lady ever
Amy Sproson 18:54
Devon Yanko 19:10
00:27:42 INTERVIEW KACI LICKTEIG
RICHTERSVELD TRANSFRONTIER WILDRUN
Joanna Williams 22:23:01
Tobias Mews 22:42:00
Dawid Kaswarie 23:07:34
Daniel Meyes 25:18:20
Linda Doke 25:43:52
John Cuff 26:41:19
Ryno Bakkes 26:52:04
Elisabet Barnes 27:01:56
Christiaan Vorster 27:23:19
Stephen Cunliffe 28:23:19
01:04:45 INTERVIEW with JOANNA WILLIAMS
BIG RED RUN
Elisabet Barnes 19:47:39
Jamie Hildage 20:54:34
Andy Dubois 21:25:02
Top 3 ladies:
Elisabet Barnes 19:47:39
Helen Durand 23:35:04
Anna Bennett 25:54:10
Top 3 men:
Jamie Hildage 20:54:34
Andy Dubois 21:25:02
Braddan Johnson 22:29:18
*Audio for Big Red Run to follow in the next show
Andy Symonds 12:15:06 new CR
Gediminas Grinius 12:23:06
Javi Dominguez 12:36:45
Andrea Huser 14:32:39
Uxue Fraile 15:13:09
Fernanda Maciel 15:20:57
MONT BLANC 80K
Caroline Chaverot 11:40 (winner Transgrancanaria)
Diego Pazos 10:52 (3rd at Transgrancanaria)
David Norris 41:26 broke KJ’s record from last year by 22 secs
Christy Marvin 51:02
Denali Forager Stabel
WMRA in Slovenia
Annie Conway from UK world champ! ahead of Antonella Confortola and Lucija Krkoc
Alessandro Rambaidini beat Marco De Gasperi and Mitja Kosovelj
Robert Young of the U.K. appears to have succumbed to a foot injury somewhere around Indianapolis, falling short in his attempt at a Guinness world record for the transcontinental run. The tracker has not moved since June 17. Though no concrete resolution was reached on the claims of cheating, the run’s final week was mired in controversy and is likely to remain a polarising topic? “Skins’ are investigating… HERE
Timmy Olson – American Tarzan…. Discovery Channel HERE“When Tim gets low on energy, he goes into his trademark “Animal Mode,” and enters the “Pain Cave” to get through it – training which will serve him well in the jungle!”
Coming up – Hardrock 100, High Trail Vanoise, Dolomites SkyRace and the Skyrunning World Champs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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!”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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
The final day of the 2015 Richtersveld Wildrun concluded today with a course record day for Thabang Madiba and Katya Soggot.
It was a tough final day with technical trail, tough climbs, technical descents and amazing views.
James Cracknell was a no start to day 4, his swollen ankle far too painful to run on. James had handled the previous days mountains in his stride but the flatter 10km of the course was just too much. Reduced to a walk he contemplated undertaking the final day but during the night the pain continued and ultimately he made the correct call. At 38.3km it was a challenging last day that started with a long and steady climb over the first 17.5km to Akkedis Pass and then the fun started. Technical trail, ridge running, single track, slip sliding descents and incredible crystal fields would lead the runners once again to the Orange River and the finish in Sendlingsdrif. For many, it was a day of running together, overall classifications wouldn’t change and in the spirit of running for fun, the whole field embraced the last day and enjoyed it. However, one person decided that a course record was possible.
Thabang arrived at the technical ridges at Halfmens Ridge running like a man possessed, shifting from left foot to right foot he made the terrain look easy. He was on a mission and he did it. A final day course record confirmed his incredible skill and ability on this tough, challenging and incredibly beautiful course. Katya Soggot was once again crowned ladies champ and Nikki Kimball secured 2nd place ahead of Karoline Hanks.
It is days before the second Richtersveld Wildrun™ kicks off and anticipation is building for what promises to be a tight race through one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.
This four day, 150km stage race is one of the most challenging trail runs in South Africa and runners can expect to take on a harsh, mountainous desert as they are tested to the limit. Similar in format o the iconic Marathon des Sables, ‘Wildrun’ is notably different in that runners are not self sufficient: equipment is transported for them and food is provided.
At the front of the field, three of Southern Africa’s top trail runners and an American ultra-running legend will go toe-to-toe as they battle it out for top spot. Bernard Rukadza and Katya Soggot will both return to defend their titles and will come up against the likes of South African long distance trail running champion, Thabang Madiba and three-time Western States 100 mile champion, Nikki Kimball. Both Rukadza and Madiba have been enjoying superb form in 2015 with Rukadza securing his second straight ProNutro AfricanX title in March and Madiba taking second place at the same race and at the Otter African Trail Run in October 2014. Madiba will be hoping to go one better at the Wildrun™ and take first place, but he will be up against it thanks to Rukadza’s form and route experience from the 2014 event. This is also the first time Madiba is taking on a run of this magnitude and he will have to adapt quickly to stay in the hunt.
“Stage racing is one of the races that helps to find your strength in running. You learn to push while in pain and learn techniques to apply to survive all stages. A win will be a big bonus for me but I’m looking forward to give all my best,” said Madiba.
In the ladies field, Katya Soggot will be representing South Africa off the back of a string of victories in the Western Cape, including the Spur Silvermine Mountain XL, Spur Cape Summer Trail Series™, Three Peaks Challenge, Matroosberg Challenge and Jonkershoek and Helderberg Mountain Challenges. She has been virtually unbeatable locally and will relish the opportunity to measure herself against an ultra-runner of Kimball’s calibre. With three Western States 100 titles as well as an Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and Marathon des Sables title, Kimball is one of the top ultra runners of her time and will be hard to beat, but Soggot’s experience from the 2014 event is sure to come in handy.
“The magnitude of untouched wilderness, the comfort and welcome at every rest camp, and the elves who made it so. My feet touched where angels fear to tread. I never dreamt I would have the privilege to relive such an experience and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to Boundless Southern Africa and Wildrunner for the opportunity,” – Katya Soggot
Since its inception in 2014, the Richtersveld Wildrun™ has had amazing support from Boundless Southern Africa and marketing manager, Roland Vorwerk was equally excited about the quality of racing anticipated.
“The Richtersveld Wildrun™ route includes many of the Park’s most spectacular features, and includes trails that very few people get to traverse. We are looking forward to these runners experiencing the unique natural and cultural landscape of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and meeting the communities associated with this innovative event.”
From a British perspective, Olympic rower and all around endurance athlete, James Cracknell was scheduled to race the 4 day Richtersveld Wildrun. However, James already had a commitment in place to commentate for the BBC on a rowing event in Poland. This race commentary was due to finish in time to allow James to travel to South Africa. Unfortunately, the commentating has been extended by one day and although James will still travel to South Africa he will arrive late and miss day one of the race. Needless to say, James is somewhat perturbed by this. Never happy taking the easy option, James and myself are currently looking at doing day 1 of the race at the end. Of course, this would mean a solo run but the team at Wildrunner have confirmed that they can make this happen. So, although James will not be able to compete head-to-head with other runners, we will have an overall time for the 4 day run that we can compare to other competitors.
“What more can be said other than this is going to be one hell of a race! Bernard Rukadza has been on fire in the Cape recently, winning everything from marathons to short Spur Trail Series™ events, but Thabang Madiba comes with the South African long distance trail champion label and arguably more endurance experience. I can’t wait to see these two trail heavy weights going head to head, solo, and in the magical Richtersveld desert,” said Owen Middleton, MD of Wildrunner – the events company behind the Wildrun™.