Words Stephen Cunliffe, Images Stephen Cunliffe & Nick Muzik
Accompanied by a large group of Wildrunner and Richtersveld Tours’ support staff driving a diverse fleet of 4x4s, fifty determined trail runners trotted out of Sendelingsdrift and into the desert at the start of a challenging Richtersveld adventure: one that would see them average a marathon a day for five days.
The new transfrontier route was designed to expose competitors to the very best the Richtersveld has to offer – on both sides of the border – with deep canyons, rocky ravines, boulder-strewn mountains and stony desert plains being the order of the day.
Taking place under a scalding sun, the adventure proved tough-going not only for the trail runners, but also for some of the accompanying vehicles.
Despite the trials and tribulations, it was hard to tell whether the runners or the 4×4 drivers were having more fun – all revelling in the access to some of the transfrontier park’s hidden gems.
And, although all the runners would eventually succeed in crossing the finish line at the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort in Namibia, a Land Rover Discovery 3 would find itself marooned deep inside the Fish River Canyon near Wilderness Hot Springs campsite number four, awaiting a new side shaft, CV joint and the skills of a local mechanic before it could once again attempt the challenging exit route back out of the gorge.