WATCH: Are you ready for SA's first cross-border trail run across ancient landscapes?

2016-03-16 12:30 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - South Africa’s first cross-border trail race between SA and Namibia, the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun, is set to take place from 13 – 17 June 2016.  

The event is a 200km five-day trail race through the ancient arid landscape of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park - which straddles both South Africa and Namibia - and is home to over 2 700 different plant species, around 600 of them endemic to the area and found nowhere else in the world.

From the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa to the infamous giant boulders of Tatasberg, the race explores the northernmost reaches of the South African and then crosses the Orange River into Namibia to run the bottom section of the Fish River Canyon.  

Not for the fainthearted 

The daily distances over 5 days range from 21km to 49 km, and with the challenges of sandy terrain, rocky mountainous sections and navigating remote areas with compulsory GPS devices, the race is not for the fainthearted. 

Because of the tremendous logistics involved in hosting a race in such a remote area and to ensure a unique and intimate experience - participants are only limited to limited 80 runners. 

Top runners participating in the 2016 race include Linda Doke (RSA), Elisabet Barnes (UK) and one of the UK’s leading adventure journalists and athletes, Tobias Mews.

Doke has previously represented South Africa in the World Trail Running Championships and her latest achievement includes winning the Addo Elephant 100 miler trail run.

While Barnes is the current ladies record holder for the equally impressive Marathon des Sables, through the grueling Sahara desert. 

Grueling, unique experience

“I am very excited to be participating in the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun and it will be my first time in South Africa. I love the fact that it is a small race and that the route is not marked and I am sure that I will be able to discover some beautiful scenery. I look forward to what will undoubtedly be a unique experience," says Barnes.

Other runners participating include well-known international charity runner Gavin Sandford, who is participating with his partner, is also doing a ‘double Marathon des Sables’ later this year in aid of three charities. In 2014, Gavin ran 45 marathons in 45 days while pushing an oak barrel on a wheel chair filled with donations for his charities.

The oldest runner in the race is South African Larry Claassen, who is 70 years old. Larry took on the Wildcoast Wildrun in 2015 with his daughter, Janine, and they are set for another challenging shared experience in the Richtersveld.

Besides having completed one of the most beautiful and challenging races in South Africa, runners will be able to experience the uniqueness of the Richterveld’s biodiversity.

WATCH: Challenging running across spectacular scenery that is millions of years old

Entries open until end of March 2016.  

Date: 13-17 June 2016  

Entry limit: Entry for 2016 is limited to 80 solo runners

Entry fee: R 21 250

Participants are well-supported by the Wildrunner crew throughout each day’s course, with daily check-points, aid station, event sweeper and radio communications.

Runners stay in individual tented accommodation during the Wildrun- The full campsite is moved each night as the race progresses through the park.

Added to this he race is held in winter when the temperatures in the region are moderate, generally with cold clear nights and warm days. In summer, the Richtersveld experiences immense heat with temperatures up to 55 degrees Celsius and strong winds. Visit the WildRun site for full details 

See the full five-day route planner here:

DAY 1: SENDELINGSDRIF to 'DE KOEI'

Distance: 43.6km 

Vertical gain: 960m

Aid station: 17.5km (cut-off time)

WTG: ORANGE 8A 
 
DAY 2: 'DE KOEI' to HAKKIESDORING

Distance: 32.13km *route is being updated - the total distance will be 200km

Vertical gain: 585m

Aid station: 19.5km (cut-off time)

WTG: GREEN 9A


DAY 3: HAKKIESDORING to DE HOOP

Distance: 39.78km

Vertical gain: 742m

Aid station: 15.6km (cut-off time)

WTG: GREEN 10B

DAY 4: DE HOOP to WILDERNESS HOT SPRINGS

Distance: 48.32km

Vertical gain: 516m

Aid station: tbc (cut-off time)

WTG: tbc

DAY 5: WILDERNESS HOT SPRINGS to AI-AIS HOT SPRINGS RESORT

Distance: 21.3km

Vertical gain: 598m

Aid station: tbc (cut-off time)

WTG: TBC

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