Recce for the new Namib Race
Political movements affect many things, including sports events. RacingThePlanet, the organization of this race was originally created in Egypt in 2005 and named it Sahara Race, it spent a year in Jordan and finally to avoid further problems it landed in Namibia.
It was originally designed on the Skeleton Coast, a lost area in the north west of the country in which nature is sovereign and it has been celebrated there for 3 years until so much sovereignty, especially by the famous lions in the area begins to be concerned about what the organization has decided to move it to safer areas of this fantastic country.
This is the adventure of designing a new track. 250 kilometers in self-sufficiency in 6 stages.
The first new edition was supposed to be in April, but has been postponed to November due to the Pandemic.
Designing a new race is a complicated job with a lot of pressure. There is not much time and the results should be optimal.
The previous work, normally directly with Google maps is usually important, but it is not fundamental. Perhaps it serves to choose in a country as large as Namibia, the most likely location for the development of the race but the strategy in the chosen place is much more important: the selection of a good driver who can go anywhere, the selection of a good guide or most important of all: a good perception.
When you are a runner, somehow you feel the possibility of running in each selected terrain, you imagine those registered in the race running in that place and what they will think and if they will like it. You do time and distance calculations and above all you control that the logistics part is always feasible.
Many of the factors involved in a race, the runner does not see them, is not able to appreciate the hidden work behind any organization that deserves to be called that.
The recognition in Namibia begins with the decision to design the new track in the area between Walvis Bay, the maritime capital of the country of English origin and Swakopmund, the most important city on the coast of German origin, a curious mixture.
My previous experience in that area makes things easier si I begin work in the Kuiseb River area, which flows into the sea at the height of Walvis Bay and has spectacular landscapes with a strange lushness in Namibia flanked by red sand dunes on a side and the desert wasteland on the other.
We inspect the dunes between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund and I record every step we take on two instruments at the same time for safety reasons. My electronic adventure companions are a Garmin GPSMAP 276Cx and a GPSMap 66.
The Swakopmund area is very complicated since it is a fairly extensive and urbanized city but one night in a local camping gives us the possibility of locating a free access road to the sea in the city that I have already named as the FINISH LINE.
Little by little things are taking shape. A factor that is basic when making decisions is asking a lot. You have to be extremely curious, from a geographical point of view and ask questions to everyone we meet who can help us.
A key that turned out to be definitive was given to me by a group of Spaniards working and living in Walvis Bay who recommended us to go to Guanikontes, an area east of Swakopmund that was definitely a discovery. They call it the valley of the moon and already that attracts attention plus meeting our future guide there was the icing on the cake.
From that moment on and with the perfect person in our team everything fits together and the perfect track comes to life.
The beginning of the race is between Walvis Bay salt pools to enter the small dunes at the mouth of the Kuiseb river. We pass through the large Langstrand erg to head for Guanikontes. In that landscape I design two and a half stages with many surprises along the way and the grand finale is right on the sea, at the mouth of the Swakop river.
In short, a great track that I am really proud of and whose litmus test will be this year between April 26 and May 2. (*** Postponed to November due to Covid19)
More information about the race HERE: RacingThePlanet Namib Race