It began in Africa…..
When asked by the owner of the Rat Race adventure company to be a ‘Test Pilot’ for their upcoming Bucket List Series, I jumped at the chance. To be part of the first ever foot-crossing of a 127 mile stretch of the 55 million year old Namib Desert, with no medal at the end, no cheering crowds and not even any certainty of how it would go, I was all over it.
It was the first time this section of the 124,000 square kilometre park had been crossed on foot, so we were winging our way across and rolling with the punches (and dunes) all the way to Skeleton Coast and the fabled Eduard Bohlen shipwreck, marooned since 1909.
Despite having run thousands of miles between us prior to this adventure, my desert pal Allie Bailey and I had yet to appreciate the real value of decent walking poles which Allie lovingly referred to as ‘cheat sticks’. It didn’t take long however, until they were re-labelled as ‘glory/hero/power sticks’ or something more suitable. They made such a difference and were a massive help slogging our way across 127 miles of desert and 15,000ft of sandy climbs.
Of all the adventures, races and challenges I’ve taken on in various parts of the world, I believe I encountered more wildlife here than any other. We were actually out there for real on the wild hunting plains where the cheetah hunt their prey, a rare brown hyena curiously circled our camp, and as dusk drew closer, we hot-stepped our way along a dry riverbed, passing leopard and baboon prints, making it clear we were in their stomping ground, which we hoped to make it through before they came out on an evening prowl.
Sometimes the sand sneaks up and gets you….
If you fancy this incredible bucket list adventure, head over to register for details, but be sure to save yourself $150 by using my cheeky code GRIGAS150 (in fact, use that on all Bucket List races (you’re welcome!) 😉