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Race Report: Richtersveld Transfronteir Wild Run: Day 5

Day 5: Wilderness Hot Springs to Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort

26km - 860m climb

Last day....I think everyone was a bit sad to think our running adventure through this stunning ancient rocky sandy canyon riverbed land will be over soon. But wow, the last day was nearly the best for the mixture of terrain and scenery. River beds, canyons, well worn in animal trails through rocky mountains. When you looked back it was hard to pick how you could get through. There was lovely fast technical descending on these wildlife trails. There was a fair share of up and then of course, a very technical down to the finish at Ai Ais. Getting to that last checkpoint required a little more route finding and navigation but the view from the top was stunning. The descent to the finish was a cautious one, crossing the line together with my new running buddies Dawid and Tobias to finish first. We ran the last 2 days together pretty much as a 3 keeping similar pace. It felt more like a team effort and so enjoyable. I loved sharing this experience with everyone, as we would see all the runners each day. Particularly with Tobias and Dawid throughout, and with Stephen and Linda on days 1 and 2. I was delighted and surprised to find myself crowned the “2016 Richtersveld Champion!”

jo williams outside sports nz

What a once in a life time experience, traveling through this ancient desert land and seeing the Nama people in this environment. Hearing talk about the age of the land, the flora and fauna and discoveries of new breeds. It is amazing what survives or even does well in such an environment. The colours; blues, blacks, orange, yellow, greens and of course those stars.

The involvement of the locals was enormous especially with Magda’s amazing food which helped keep everyone's energy levels up enough to get through each day and it was delicious. All the work put into lighting fires, setting up camp, getting the showers going, and as for a toilet with a view…

jo williams outside sports nz

Then there was the Wild Runner team, especially Owen and Tamaryn, wow what a team! To be able to set up races in transfrontier national parks, over borders in the remotest of areas. Well done and thank you. Then there is Roland from Boundless South Africa, what a bundle of laughs and energy. Nothing was ever too much. What a fantastic vision to be involved in events like this to increase tourism in the area, create work, and transfrontier relationships. Fantastic, keep up the good work. The park wardens are also so involved in making it possible.

I would recommend this event to anyone looking for a new adventure somewhere completely different, who enjoys trail running. A great escape into an ancient desert wilderness where not many people go. The route we took through the Richtersveld Ai Ais Transfrontier park would be quite inaccessible without the Wild Run. Never mind the luxurious camp spots, yummy food, massages and yoga etc. Certainly it is well off the tourist track. Tag it onto a holiday in South Africa...vine yards, Safari, coast lines, mountains, deserts...why wouldn't you?

jo williams outside sports nz

A big thank you to family, especially my father, friends and work at Wanaka Physiotherapy, that make these adventures possible. Also to Outside Sports for their ongoing support.



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