200km through two thousand million years

The Namibia Crossing 2019

There is a lot that can, and has been, said about the Richtersveld. Google the name and see for yourself - the accolades are endless and undeniable. It’s also a tough name to remember, and even tougher to say unless you are born with the ability to roll your ‘r’s like the best of them.  But judging this book by its relative global in-obscurity and challenging phonetic would grossly underplay the power of this 6000km2 mountain desert wilderness. It’s true, Africa has some impressive wide open spaces, but none so unique and diverse as the Namib desert that spans an area of NW South Africa and Namibia.  So you ask, why not just call the Richtersveld by its parent desert name, the Namib? Well principally, the first thing you are likely to think of when someone mentions the Namib desert is giant red sand dunes of which the Richtersveld has very little. Hence, if we are true to the landscape and its people, it’s time to roll those ‘r’s baby, because, like the running, it’s so worth it.  

In June 2019, participants in the newly renamed ‘Namibia Crossing’ will be taking on this five-day epic desert mountain running adventure in the hope of traversing the full 200km race course from Sendelingsdrif in South Africa, to the /Ai- /Ais Hot Springs Resort in Namibia; via the Richtersveld National Park and the Southern Wilderness section of the famous Fish River Canyon.  The running is hugely varied from fast open gravel plains to bouldering on Tatasberg. What about the ‘self’ navigation element you ask? Well not only is GPS navigation far safer than signage (that can easily go missing, be blown over, knocked over by wildlife etc), it really is navigational childsplay. Famously, GPS novice Bernard Rukadza was handed a Garmin eTrex five minutes before the start in 2015 and instructed to “follow the arrow”.  He won the race.

Importantly, this is not a carry all your own kit experience.  No, we prefer to run not feeling like an overburdened packhorse, but rather to leave the running challenging and free from unnecessary burden.  Personal gear transportation from camp to camp, scrumptious fully catered meals, hot showers and your very own single tent come standard. Run hard then rest & recover in relative comfort.  If that’s not enough, imagining an ice cold G & T as you watch the desert sunset kiss the horizon might tip the favour.

So if you have a penchant for truly remarkable running experiences, and can imagine yourself off the grid for the best part of 6 days, immersed in the ancient and inspiring landscape of the Richtersveld and Namib deserts, then look no further than The Namibia Crossing.  June 2019, entries are open on www.wildrun.com

Words by Owen Middleton