During the last few days of 2017, as we reflected on year gone by, I crunched a few running numbers just for the sake of interest /being OCD/Virgo/a runnergeek. The stock take was actually sparked when, during a long run in December, I crossed the 1000 km mark for for the year. A whopping one thousand kilometers! On my feet! That is like running from Namibia’s southernmost border, Vioolsdrift, to Otjiwarongo in the north of the country and having some 60 km in spare change! Continue reading “Of the year that was 2017 in running”
Our trip to Canada towards the end of 2016 and into 2017 was mesmerizing. Not only did we start out 2017 with a beautiful 5 km Resolution Run in Vancouver, but the most snow in more than 10 years turned Lynn Valley, our base in North Vancouver, into a winter wonderland.
We are nearing the wide coral shelf that lines the shore, the swell is getting bigger and bigger, the waves more frequent. We are returning home early from the reef around Mnemba atoll where the wind got too strong and the water too choppy for the boys to enjoy the snorkeling. But not before we had the most amazing time swimming with and photographing a pod of 8 dolphins! Continue reading “Zanzibar: On Surviving a Shipwreck and Other Fun Experiences”
I woke up with my face full of canvas. Opening my eyes I saw that the one side of the tent was collapsing on us. My first instinct was to reach an arm to each of my sides where our boys lay sleeping, trying to protect their faces from the heavy canvas threatening to smother them. I checked my watch. It was 12:30 am. Nico, always a man of action, was already out the tent door. Assisted by the bright full moon he was searching for his hammer and some ropes to secure the tent. A gale force bergwind was wreaking havoc on our campsite. Continue reading “Brandberg FKT Challenge 2017”
My middle finger on my right hand is lifeless. The finger inside the glove is more like a piece of wood than part of my body. We are on 4,200 m, just below the shoulder on the 4,478 m high Matterhorn in Switzerland. I can’t hear Thomas over the howling wind and he can’t hear me complain about my finger or how tired I am, or that I am cold. He just pushes on. “Jawohl”. I think of you sitting snug below in the village, maybe looking up through the window towards the pyramid shaped peak towering above the valley. Are you thinking of me like I am of you? Are the boys chasing each other around the flat or are you walking down towards the center of town, over the glacial torrent tearing its way down from the snow capped peaks above. Continue reading “Second Attempt on the Matterhorn. A Mountaineering Report.”
Sweat was pouring down my brow, stinging my eyes when I tried to wipe it with an equally wet palm. Squinting into the bright midday sun I searched the tops of the numerous skyscrapers for a sign. Clearly this was only to remain a figurative gesture, as the buildings were mostly unmarked. I was pretty sure I was lost the moment I stepped out of the hotel. I was also the only mortal to dare the streets during the heat of the day, so I couldn’t even ask anyone for directions. Continue reading “Getting Lost in Doha”
The rusty 50 m long ladder sways back and forth under my weight. I gaze back at the cobalt blue water more 100 m below where a beam of sunlight dances across the surface. We are returning from a sneak peak into the bowels of mother earth and it was spectacular. I again strain to get a last glimpse of the water below and feel utterly at peace, suspended in space. Jolted back to reality by the creaks and groans of the ladder, I wonder if this old ramshackle piece of iron will hold my weight all the way to the top. Luckily I am also fastened to a jumar which easily slides up the safety rope, but still I feel uneasy. How many people have come this way to stare down at Harasib Lake, one of numerous underground lakes in northern Namibia? Those daring first explorers, who gazed down into the black depths, silently excited of what lay below. I try to imagine myself in their position, a terrifying but at the same time inspiring thought. I am ripped back to reality once more by water dripping from above. I look up through the darkness wavering under a thin sliver of sunlight from above. Water continues to drip on my hands, and I get frustrated, try to swing to the left and the right, but the dripping continues. I look up and realize that it is my own perspiration dripping down from my forehead. I am drenched in sweat.
Sitting on a low step in front of Église Saint-Michel, I had a limited view of more than 2000 pairs of legs and shoes around me. How many thousands of kilometers did these feet cover before they could stand there. How many hours, how many sacrifices had to be made? I thought about my own training log of a few hundred kilometers since January. Would it be enough? Would my hundreds of hill repeats see me through? I was feeling strangely calm. Like more of a spectator than a participant. Not in an arrogant kind of way, but in a fearful way.
Blood streamed down my face, over my neck and turned my shirt red. “What is going on” Deon shouted from above, no idea that a falling thumb size rock slid my middle finger open to the bone. Moments before, as he shouted “below” I put my hand on my head for cover an instant before the projectile hit me. We were forcing our way up Tooth Gully to the base of one of the most inspiring and difficult peaks to climb in the Drakensberg of South Africa. Devils Tooth. Continue reading “Devil’s Tooth: Third Time Lucky”
Currently hard at work organising the Brandberg rhino Run and Ride, as well as the Brandberg FKT Challenge, we are incredibly thankful for the amount of support from sponsors and athletes all over Namibia and beyond. At the initiation of the very first Rhino Run in 2015, a tiny seed was planted that grew into the golden thread that tied us to our beneficiary and the other benefactors, tighter and stronger every year: