Adventure racing is
big risks and endorphins
Definitely Extreme
Psychology of Adventure Racing
Competence and Responsibility
Code of Conduct
Personal Equipment Check-List
Foot and Shoe Assessment
Interview with SA's Team
Practical Guide to Seconding

Definitely Extreme

Augrabies Extreme Marathon

This is going to be a race report unlike all my others. It's rather delayed because I've been all written out, putting word limited pieces together for various magazines. But, there is always my personal side - not the magazine side - and many things at the race that made it special for me... so here goes.

A week before the race, which I'd never even heard of before, I got a call from my friend Nicola, the former editor of AdventureZone, who asked if I'd do a product review for Bivvybag - and was I going to the Augrabies race? My response was, "Of course I'll do the product review... what Augrabies race?" After talking to the guy from Bivvybag he put me on to Estienne, the race director for the Augrabies Extreme, who invited me along as the race journalist. Wow!

So, a week later I was off in a mini-van, along with other competitors, heading towards the Northern Cape. Having been up way too many late nights before we left, I slept for about 7hrs of the 9.5hr journey. The best way to travel.

Essentially, the Augrabies Extreme Marathon is based on the now well-known "Le Marathon des Sables" (Marathon of the Sands) held annually in the Sahara Desert. It's well attended and is known as the marathon of all marathons. Estienne and Steve, the other director, had both been across in '99 and decided to set up a similar "staged" event here. So the Augrabies Extreme was born.

So, the AEM is a staged race, meaning that the approx. 250km distance is split into daily legs. You all start together in the morning and the times are accumulated. The daily distances ranged from 28km, averaging around 38km, with the longest leg at 71km. This race requires no navigation as the route is marked with chevron tape by the organisers.

Competitors have to be self-sufficient, carrying all their own food for the 7days as well as clothing, sleeping/bivvy bag, first aid and emergency stuff like a lighter, smoke flare, whistle, torch etc. My starting backpack weight was 9kg, second lightest. Some were starting with 12.5kg. Add 2-3l of water to that... it's heavy.

The only concessions made by the organisers are overnight shelters and watering points along the route about every 10km. I was drinking between 12-15l of water a day and there would have been no way I'd ever have been able to carry that.

The Saturday evening there was a briefing and our first opportunity to meet the other competitors. A field of 12, 4 of whom were foreign, it was a South African dominated event. Bob (42), a clinical psychologist from Virginia, US and Lynn (30), a local environmental consultant and project manager were back for more having taken part last year.

Barb (44), a high school teacher from Winnipeg, Canada, had entered this event as part of a fund-raising drive for a CatScan machine for her hometown. She's developed a fondness for SA, having taken part in Comrades in 2000 and 2001.

Warren (35), a civil engineer on London's underground, also has a SA connection - his girlfriend's a local from Natal. Warren is a naturally talented athlete, running 21.1km in 64minutes.

The last foreigner, Karl-Heinz, from Germany, is an absolute inspiration. Having gotten divorced at age 50, he decided to recreate his life and took up running and sports - having never done anything. Now at 64, he's a long-distance celebrity, invited to races around Europe. He's done 17 Ironman events including Hawaii and the Hawaii Ultraman. He's got 7 Guinness World records. He's done 3 double and 5 triple Ironman races and also "Le Marathon des Sables". He's also done 30 solo long distance (250 - 600km) bicycle races. Though he isn't fast, he's consistent and just keeps going. As he said to me, "Output is not a question of age."

Another interesting competitor was Geoff Hilton-Barber (54). Geoff is now blind, the result of retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder. By age 23, Geoff could no longer read or drive and over the following 10 years, his eyesight continued to deteriorate, leaving him completely blind. In his 20's Geoff took up sailing and is now known worldwide for his solo 51-day expedition from Durban to Australia. He's been a finalist in the "OutThere Adventurer of the Year" competition. Geoff also ran "Le Marathon" in 1999 with Estienne and Steve.

When he decided to climb Kilimanjaro in 2000, Geoff met Lance, whose company organises guided trips up the mountain. Geoff is an absolute gem. His determination is inspiring and even barely able to walk, his sharp wit and sense of humour is ever present.

Lance (32) is no ordinary guide. He has limitless patience and a kindness rarely encountered. Talking to him about guiding a blind person, he had the following comments. "When you guide someone, you always have to remember that there are two of you and that you have to guide at the followers ability. Each person has their own needs, so when one person needs to go, the other has to go too.

"When choosing route or paths to take, you can't just pick the one that looks good for you. You've got to select the easiest route for the blind person, often having to take the harder route yourself. This is certainly the case with jeep tracks or single track. Geoff walks on the track, I walk on the side through whatever vegetation is present.

"You've got to communicate closely, not lose your temper, keep your conversations light-hearted and respect the other person's space because you're essentially joined for the duration of the race. We often keep quiet for long periods of time, except for instructions like, 'go narrow' or 'go wide'."

Then there was David (27), a natural therapist who'd assisted at the event last year and had again volunteered to take part as the sweeper, collecting the route markers those runners hovering at the back.
Jonathan (27), a student from Port Elizabeth had read about the race in the Runner's World, and with no particular training or experience, decided that this was something he wanted to do.
Pieter (42), an information researcher, is a 100miler veteran, having completed 17. This year alone he did 3 in the 8 weeks following Comrades.
Daniella (25), a manager at National - one of the event co-sponsors - had seen an advert for the race in her office and decided to enter.

On Sunday morning, at 09h00, we set off from the gates of the Augrabies Falls National Park on the first 36km leg. We headed west along a dirt road for the first 15km before abandoning all roads to go cross-country to the second watering point.

We'd been warned by the organisers about the tiny flies, which we call "miggies", that were certain to bother us. So, we'd all come prepared with nets attached to our hats - like a bridal veils. Within a few minutes I discovered that a white net was a bad idea. In the glare of the sun, I could hardly see a thing. Dark green/brown nets are definitely the better option.

As an adventure racer, I'd never done an "all-foot" event and had decided to take it easy, walk the first few days and then start running once my pack was lighter. Trekking steadily, I caught up with Jonathan and Barb around the 18km mark passing them to join up with Karl a few meters ahead. Also, as an adventure racer, I'm not good at following markers. I'm addicted to my maps and like to make my own route-choice decisions. Following the instructions to "keep on the jeep track" I realised that I hadn't seen any markers for a while. Karl and I discussed this briefly and since we hadn't seen anything behind us, we decided to press on.

A while later we met up with Pieter, whose footprints we'd seen - who had also missed the marker indicating the left turning. At this point I could see the Orange River down below and a quality dirt road running alongside it. Using the portion of photocopied 1:50 000 maps we'd been given with the route instructions, I pinpointed our location and suggested we continue ahead, turn left at the intersection onto the tar road and head towards the overnight camp, which should have been located next to this main road, a few kilometres ahead. Barb and Jonathan followed a way behind.

Having missed the second watering point we filled our bottles from a tap at a nearby vineyard before continuing. Halfway up the hill, I saw Deon, the race physiotherapist, stop and talk to Pieter, who was about 200m ahead. Meeting up with Deon a few minutes later, we had a conversation that really confused me. He first said that we'd already done way over the day's distance and that he could give me a lift to the watering point, from where I could continue to the overnight camp - another 15km away. I asked why I couldn't just go to the camp, which according to the map was directly ahead of me next to the road. The watering point would have been way to the west. Still confused I refused the ride, and walked to the watering point, joining up again with Pieter. Karl was a little way behind us.

Pieter and I then walked together for most of the way getting to the third watering point a few minutes apart, joining up again for a while, heading towards the camp. As it turns out, there was no error in my navigation. The map, not being meant for use - because we should have been following the markers - had the "x" marking the camp in completely the wrong place, on the main road where the watering point was located. No wonder I was confused and disorientated!

Back at camp, my 5l water bottle close at hand, it was time to lie back in the shade, elevate my tired feet, indulge in a massage and contemplate the extra 10km we'd covered on this first day. Karl came in a while later. Jonathan and Barb took an alternate route, having not turned onto the main road. Estienne found them and directed them to camp. Geoff, Lance, Daniella and Jonathan appeared to have taken the same route.

After a long, cold sleep, the sun dawned on day 2, which we'd elected to start at 6am, taking advantage of the few cool morning hours. With mid-morning temperatures reaching the upper 30's, the longer you were out there, the more strain you would take.

Without exception, all the runners agreed that this was by far the hardest day of them all. The sweltering temperatures and gruelling trek up the dry bed of the Molopo River, trapped in the never-ending gorge, was mentally and physically exhausting. Like walking through thick beach sand, your progress is slow as you're unable to take large steps, sinking deep into the sand with each step. Also, the route up the gorge is unmarked, so with no map, and no end in sight, you've got no idea how far you've got to go.

Having only been walking up the river for a short while, I met up with Jonathan, who was backtracking - hoping to find someone behind him. Since the instructions had said that we were to walk up the river, it was the only option - so he joined me and we walked together.

After what seemed like hours... in fact it was hours, the vegetation started to change. There was a whole mini-field of very tall reeds - taller than me by far. The gorge also narrowed, with huge boulders blocking the way. Jonathan decided at this point to take a rest in the shade. I decided to keep going, wanting to reach the watering point as soon as possible.

Looking for a way through the course reeds, and stumbling over the rocks, I heard someone calling. Karl had stopped ahead, resting in the shade on river right, having decided that the way ahead was impassable and that he'd missed a marker leading him out of the gorge. Since both Jonathan and I had seen nothing behind us - and we'd been looking expectantly, the only alternative was forward. Anyway, I'm an adventure racer and nothing is impassable.

We decided to stick to river right, skirting along a rocky path - our path obstructed on the left by a toxic looking pool. Anyway, after leaping up and down boulders, we got to an area where it looked possible to hack our way through the reeds, and we needed to get through to get to the stairs I'd spotted cut into the rock on the left of the gorge.

I led the way, pushing over the reeds so that we could walk on them. But, under our feet were rocks... and gaps. Just as I turned to face Karl and warn him, he stepped into a gap. Fortunately, as he fell he pushed over the reeds, landing on a soft mattress. But, he landed belly up on his bulging backpack with his head down slope and his arms and legs flailing. He looked just like a tortoise on its back.

And, I got the giggles...

With the weight of the backpack, gravity holding him down and absolutely no handholds, he could barely lift his head, much less turn himself over. And, I confess, I just stood there, trying not to embarrass him any further and at the same time laughing uncontrollably. Once the tears had cleared from my eyes so I could see him again, I managed to get my hands under the top of his pack to help him up by giving him a good ol' heave-ho.

We pushed the last couple of meters through a reed forest, me leading the way - still laughing. Estienne and the gang manning the watering point at the Riemvasmaak hot springs were there to greet us. Karl emerged with a big smile on his face, saying to Estienne was that it's good to stick with me because I "find good route". Poor man, I'd gotten him "lost" on the first day and sent him blundering through the reeds on the second.

We refilled out hydration bladders, shouldered our packs and once again set off on the final stretch, first along a dirt road through the small town of Riemvasmaak and then back up the Molopo River bed.

Camp was a welcome sight, cheered in by the other runners and medical team - who treated me to my first dose of methyolate. I'd always avoided the stuff, but in some macho, peer-pressure induced state, I subjected myself to the damn near equivalent of having a white-hot poker attached to my heel. The one and only time... I'll stick to my syringe or needle and thread when it comes to blisters.

Sleep was comfortable on the soft riverbed sand, but incredibly cold - reaching 4C during the night. Since I was product testing for BivvyBag, I'd taken along some warm leggings and a thermal top, and no sleeping bag, which really wasn't sufficient.

So, in the early hours of morning Lynn, also in a bivvy bag and also freezing, and I awoke, hopped into the same bivvy bag, pulling the other one over us, along with the tent's flysheet and managed to get more sleep. The result of our thorough product testing is that two size 34 females can fit in one bivvy bag and with synchronised movements can roll-over. But, unless one person goes higher than the other, you can't sleep on your back because two sets of hips are too wide. Finally, nothing beats body heat.

As happens daily, the sun rose, awakening the start of day 3.

By the third morning we were all a little worse for wear, particularly our feet. As for myself, going into the race I knew that I had certainly not done near enough preparation - as in spending time on my feet - so the sole was really tenderised. Whenever we weren't trekking up the sandy riverbeds, we were walking cross-country or on dirt roads, both of which were incredibly rocky and hard. I also found that in the heat, my feet were swelling.

As for blisters, in the week before the race I'd been treating my feet with Friar's Balsam (benzoin) and metholated spirts, so my feet were quite dry and hardened - most elegant!

During the race my protective measure is to plaster each toe individually (if you plaster one digit, you've got to do them all to prevent blisters forming from the plaster rubbing on skin) and my heel - just below my Achilles. I got a few blisters at the very base of my heel - a first - and on my little toes, which I've been getting of late. My tenderised soles bothered me a lot more.

I'd had the methyolate (first and last time) treatment on the second afternoon, which did work to dry the blisters on my heel. But, more effective I found was syringing out the fluid. I continued this into day 4 by which time I had no more problems with blisters. (I use Adidas Response trail shoes and Falke Adventure socks).

My pet hate is getting sand, seeds, grass, stones etc in my shoes, so I always wear anklet gaitors to prevent these evils. Once you get these irritants into your shoes and socks, your feet will start going downhill fast.

Legs and body were feeling fantastic. We had physios at the overnight camps so we all indulged in daily massages - a luxury indeed. I also made sure that I stretched when I came in after the day's leg and again before I went to sleep.

The other runners were also battling the blister demons with a few aches and pains around. Daniella withdrew about halfway through day 2 with really messed up feet and two toenails that required lancing. She had blisters on blisters. Jonathan was battling with his right knee. Probably ITB.

Just after 6am on the third day (36km), the 11 remaining troops set off, once again up the now hated riverbed. The front-runners shot off, getting out of sight within minutes. Karl and myself set off just ahead of David and Jonathan, who we met up with after an hour or so. Once we'd left the riverbed, we followed the markers, cross-country, over rocky, rocky, rocky... did I mention it was rocky... ground and through thorny shrubs. Very hard going.

We reached the first watering point, at 15km, after 4hrs of trekking - Karl and I ahead of David and Jonathan by a few minutes. Karl produced his thermometer and recorded 36 C - in the shade - at 10h15. He put the thermometer on the ground and recorded 60C radiating off the earth. It was hot! And we had a whole long day ahead of us.

The next 7km to the second watering point took hours to reach, walking along a sandy jeep track through amazing countryside. I don't remember any trees, only grasses and... rocks.

The next watering point, located at a house, with a tree for shade, was a welcome stop. Jonathan and Karl shot ahead while David and I walked at the back, collecting the route markers. Finally we reached the last watering point and eventually, the entrance to the Khamkirri Game Park, on the banks of the Orange River.

After a quick dip in the refreshing waters, taking an opportunity to rinse out sweaty clothing, David and I made for the massage tables. Walking on the lush green grass around the camp was comparable to a thick pile, luxurious carpet. We all crashed out early and slept warm and comfortably on this soft mattress.

Day 3 was a bad one for Barb. When David and I arrived we heard that Barb had been caught trying to climb the open gate, pushing her backpack over the fence. She was pretty delirious and not 100% sure of what was happening on this planet. I got the full story from her after the race.

She had been feeling nauseous for most of the day and at a watering point had been given an anti-nausea tablet by the medics. As for the side effects - she was transformed into a walking zombie. She could hardly keep awake. At the end of day 4 Bob was given one of these tablets and was knocked-out for the entire afternoon and following day. So, here was Barb (she's really tiny) trying to find her way, under the blazing sun on what was one of the hottest days - with no shade anywhere - drugged up to her eyeballs. She said that she lay down a few times on the track, sleeping for a few minutes each time because she was unable to keep her eyes open.

The organisers rescued her at the gate, only 1km from the end, where she was given a drip to assist in rehydrating her body. After she had recovered she was determined to continue, running an extra 1km on day 4 to make up for the 1km she'd missed.

As for my friend Karl, wanting to notch another ultra, he did an extra couple of kilometres - supervised by the organisers, heading out from the day-3 finish as soon as he'd checked in. I'm going to be like him too when I'm 64.

Awakened bright and early, day 4 began - a relatively short, scenic 28km leg.
Again David and I were hobbling at the back. It is so frustrating when your feet are sore underneath and even more so when I didn't even have blisters or sore muscles to complain about. David, who had by far the heaviest pack there (starting weight of 24kg's), had chaffed badly under the waist-straps of his backpack.

This backpack thing was a funny issue. David had developed a method of getting his pack on by putting it down on the floor or even better, on an incline. He'd then lie down, his back on the pack, strap in and I'd then grab his hand to heave him up. If no one were around, he would rock himself up, or rollover and crawl to his feet. Incredibly funny to watch.

Although we'd all been bitten by the ever-present "miggies" (tiny flies), David was the only one present whose body had reacted to the bites. By day 4 he was covered in hundreds of red, itchy bumps. One evening, sitting next to him, I noticed that he kept twitching. Looking at the expression on his face I started laughing and told him to indulge... and give those bites a scratch.

One thing we all found was that these damned miggies would gravitate to the top of our ears - predominantly left - and bite repeatedly on the edge where your ear folds over. Very, very irritating and sore.

The first stretch was really pretty, upstream alongside the Orange River. From here we headed back out into the more rugged Kalahari environment. It should have been a relatively easy day, but proved to be one of the worst with temperatures hitting the lower 40's.

I think it was at the second watering point that we found Bob lying down on a mattress receiving a drip from the race doctor. He'd been up there in the front during the morning but had started to feel really terrible, probably having not taken in enough liquid and possibly fighting a bug. After resting for over an hour, he was back on to his feet.

Eventually David and I reached the overnight camp a Die Mas, a pretty grape farm, guesthouse and camp on the left bank of the Orange River on the outskirts of Kakamas, a two-horse Northern Cape town.

The runners who'd arrived before us were spread-eagled on the lawn, resting and dozing in the shade, clutching their 5l water bottles. Over at the massage tables there was a bit of commotion when Karl fainted. After the race when I was asking him about this he said he'd passed out three times, firstly because after the relaxing massage he'd stood up too quickly but primarily because he'd forgotten to drink and eat immediately after finishing the day's run.

My feet were toast - very sensitive underneath and quite swollen. But, Geoff's feet were in an absolute state. He'd managed to cultivate blisters, on blisters, on blisters until he now had raw meaty flesh on the main part of his sole - the pad below his toes. I thought I'd seen bad feet in races, and on the Borneo Eco Challenge... Trust me when I say those feet had nothing on Geoff's. Remarkably, the rest of his feet were in excellent condition so it is probably his foot placement that caused the damage. Being able to see the ground and obstacles, we can confidently place our heels first while Geoff probably steps toe first, damaging his front pad. A man of may jokes, even with trashed feet Geoff was in good humour.

We had a wonderful afternoon, resting our tired feet, attending to blisters, drinking large volumes of water, eating, laughing, joking and chatting. We also knew that we'd have until 16h00 the following day to rest - preparing for the long 71km overnight run.

The hours sped by and soon we were again lined up at the start, ready to head from this oasis up and over many mountains en route to camp 5, Kanoneiland - a big island in the Orange River.

David and I again resumed our places at the back, just behind Karl and Jonathan, who at this stage was limping considerably, going only on Voltaren fumes and unbelievable determination. As we overtook Jonathan, I went ahead catching up with Karl, while David kept Jonathan company. Jonathan was taken off the route just after before the second water point as he was in danger of doing permanent damage to his knee.

Around the 8km mark I began doing calculations. If I was doing 10km in almost 2.5hrs, then it would take me over 18hrs to complete this leg. The way my feet were feeling, that wasn't looking like a very attractive option. So, I started running... and it felt great. My pack was also much lighter from having eaten 4.5 days of food. Before I reached her, the van had driven up to Barb and had seen this chap tailing behind her. So, they asked her if she was ok, which she said she was. They drove with her for a little and as they made to drive off, she grabbed on to the door and told them, "Don't you $%&* leave me alone!" to which her new companion commented, "I think I should be going" and ran off in the opposite direction.

Estienne kept her company for the next few hours and the vans drove up and down the route for the rest of the night, keeping watch over the runners. In these way out areas, there can be trouble with locals, particularly late at night after a couple of strong drinks.

On the run through to the second watering point - they were located every 9km - I had been running the flats and downs and walking the ups. Knowing that Geoff and Lance weren't too far ahead, I then ran solidly, only catching them at watering point 3 (28km). They left before me as I stopped to change my socks and powder my feet. Stopping is easy; it's starting again that is the problem. The first hundred meters are pure agony as the electrified nerve endings in your swollen soles acclimatise once again to having your weight on them. It's absolutely excruciating!

I must have left the checkpoint about 10minutes after them, but it took me over an hour to catch these walking machines. They were in stealth mode, dressed all in black with no glowing lumo sticks to indicate their presence. I only realised they were just ahead of me when I heard some dogs barking as they passed. Meeting briefly again at watering point 4 (37km), I left soon after a quick stop to refill my water bladder.

This was probably my favourite leg of the entire race. I was relaxed, comfortable and strong, enjoying the black moonless night and the cool temperature. Having only competed in adventure races where you race as a team, this was my first solo event. And, for the first time I had only myself to worry about, only myself to get to the end... and it was a liberating feeling.

Running alone in the dark (I hate using torches), I owned the night, my favourite time.

The moon came up just after 2am, a peachy slice hanging just above the horizon. And I kept running... past houses, whose shapes I could only just make out, up mountains, down passes, making my way gradually north.

By the time I got to the second last watering point (~56km), my feet were really sore. Needing a place to sit, I leapt onto the tailgate of the pickup truck and lying on my back, immediately elevated those damn feet. Nadia, Estienne's right-hand-lady, and Jonathan were there. I cheerily woke them up - bursting with 2:30am happiness. The camera van arrived shortly. Not feeling at all sleepy, I was pretty chirpy and in high spirits. Simon asked if whether I was ok, to which I replied that, "My feet are toast, but they'll be fine as soon as the happy tab kicks in". Having just taken my first Myprodol (anti-inflammatory) of the evening... I was going to enjoy it. [Warning: don't try this at home kids...]

Energised and invigorated, I hobbled onto my feet, slowly building up to a run again. Estienne was waiting at the crucial turning, directing me to the final turn - leading to the overnight camp, once again on the riverbank. I think this section was meant to be 5km? Well, it was the longest 5km of my life.

Just as light was beginning to creep into the sky, I met up with a local on his way to work... at 04h30 of all times of day! I jogged along, he rode his bicycle as we chatted in Afrikaans, mine being really bad, about nothing much. Eventually I found the tents, woke up the checkpoint marshals, shovelled in some tuna, climbed into the tent with Lynn and after chatting to her for a while about her run (she came in 4th, I was in 5th 2.5hrs behind her), was lights-out.

Lance and Geoff arrived an hour later, Barb shortly behind them and finally Karl and David, who'd walked the entire 71km in 17h28m.

This was certainly the worst camp of the entire event. All around were thousand of small three-pronged devil thorns and no shade. And, although we were next to the river, there was no way to get down to the water.

So, we set up a shelter using a fly-sheet from one of the tents, put down a ground sheet and spent the day on our backs, feet elevated, dozing and chatting.

My feet were not in a good state. They were very swollen - so much so that I could hardly walk on them. Fortunately they were not raw like Geoff's, whose feet were worse than the previous day. I still have no idea how he walked on them for the whole night. By late afternoon I was hobbling around and with Lynn found a local's footpath leading down to the water. This was the best possible thing I could have done - to soak my feet in the soothing cold water.

Within 30minutes the swelling was reduced and I was feeling much better and more confident about the final 30km leg. And, after sleeping with my feet elevated on my backpack, by the time morning came my feet were as good [almost] as new.

During the night an incredible sand storm came up. At some stage Lynn woke up, and then woke me up because the wind was blowing on her side of the tent, lifting her up. Warren, who was sleeping outside, kindly hammered a peg in, fixing our tent down. Without a flysheet, we awoke covered in sand and dust.

I was up before Lynn, around 5am, having estimated my time for the 30km leg to be longer than hers, at about 4.5hrs. Since we were to be finishing at Upington's annual "Kuierfees", a social and sporting festival, the organisers wanted us to arrive around 10h00 - 10h30, taking advantage of the crowds to welcome us home. Estimating our running times the day before, we were set off in a staggered start, the earliest runners starting shortly before 3am.

Transported to the start - about 5km from the camp - it was a beautiful morning. The first 10km took us along irrigation canals and vineyards, passing through a sleeping town where I was briefly terrorised by yapping mutts. A stern look and the presence of my walking sticks dealt effectively with them.

From 14km to the finish at Die Eiland, a sports arena and festival ground in Upington, was along a tarred highway that seemed more up than down. Just as I entered the town I overtook Jonathan and Karl. I'd spotted Warren, the race winner, a few hundred meters behind me, and slowed to let him pass. Just outside the gates I met up with most of the gang; Barb, Bob, Pieter, Lance and Geoff who were also waiting for Warren to arrive so that he could cross the finish line first.

Within an hour we were all in, elated and proud at having completed this epic event. Lynn finished the event in a strong second place, followed by Pieter, Bob, Barb, myself, Lance and Geoff, Karl and David.

This was a challenging event. Getting to put your feet up every night is a welcome change from adventure racing, but doesn't make it any easier. Instead of having a cycle or paddling leg to look forward to, it's back on your feet for another couple of hours. Geoff eloquently sums up the experience, "My feet are trashed."

In hindsight, I should have moved my ass a lot earlier, running instead of walking those first 4 days. But, it had been my objective to test the waters with this race, so now I know better for next year and for other events of this nature.

A challenging event with great people. The Augrabies Extreme Marathon was an unforgettable experience in an incredible region of South Africa.


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