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Race Report: Richtersveld Transfronteir Wild Run: 5 Day Staged Trail Run

Richtersveld Transfronteir Wild Run: Getting There

I first heard of this race back in March. A friend Steve Granger was planning on racing and thought that it would be a race I would enjoy. I looked up the details and was very keen, but put it in the too hard basket. The travel, the cost, and the logistics… and I was committed to a trip home to visit family around the same time. I thought maybe next year. But then, when visiting my sister and father in Cyprus they encouraged me. We looked at flights from Cyprus to Cape Town and it was so much more reasonable than flying from New Zealand. One thing led to another and with a sponsored entry from Boundless South Africa, it was suddenly possible. So all confirmed and booked with less than 2 weeks to prepare! I had spent the last few weeks mainly biking in Cyprus, having competed with my sister and another friend in the mountain to sea mountain bike race and a 0 to 2000m road bike race, both of which we won, but I had only done a couple of runs.

jo williams outside sports nz

So suddenly when on holiday in Crete, I was to run every day and hoped my body was ready for the challenge. It was fun and a great way to explore villages, monasteries and the coastline of Crete. It was also a good time to spend with my sister, who kept me company, and was a great motivator.

I have never run in a staged trail running race before and wasn't sure how it would go. Also, most of the gear that would be good for this race was at home in New Zealand, not in my back pack in Cyprus.  My other worry was navigating with a GPS, trying to download GPX routes and to get a hold of a GPS...all challenges.

On arriving in Cape Town, I met up with Stephen to run round Cape Town getting last minute supplies and a stop at "Run" to pick up a pair of Lone Peak Altra's. Teaming up with Anthony Erasmus the next day for the journey was great. He had done the race before so was able to give advice on the race and offer some reassurance. Also, to be able to share so much about South Africa as we travelled. Sharing two ZA V Ireland test games was a highlight. Interpreting the Afrikaans commentary on radio coverage I will never forget. Ireland were doing ok at this stage!

A few border crossings later in and out of Namibia, a wee platoon crossing over to Sendlingdrift had us at the start line. Meeting other runners, all nervous in anticipation. Anthony and I wandered around trying to figure out our GPS and trying to work out in which direction we were heading the next day. Whilst getting sorted, the monkeys nearly got a hold of my race food...you soon learn!

jo williams outside sports nz

After Owen gave us some GPS instruction, we had a briefing on what the next day had in store, with a fly over of the route. This was to happen every evening over the next 4 days.

We were introduced to some local Nama traditional dancing which surprisingly bared some resemblance Scottish and Irish Ceilidh dancing, despite being a tribe in remotest Africa.

jo williams outside sports nz

(Photo: Stephen Cunliffe)

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