Namib Race 2019 – Zero margin for error

The Skeleton Coast is an unforgiving place. Until today ships get disoriented in the thick blanket of fog that constantly covers the rocky coast. It’s probably not the warm welcome one would wish for after being stranded with a ship. This is the place where the icy waters of the Benguela current meet the oldest desert of the world. Endless rock fields, sand dunes and soaring heat are a reliable companion in the Namib.

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Vegetation is sparse as there is only very limited water, constantly blowing winds and an aggressive sun. Plants such as the Welwitschia have specialized by growing very slowly over periods of hundreds of years and utilizing the coastal mist as a reliable water resource. Species form symbiotic relationships that allow them to survive and shape a very fragile ecosystem. The rocky ground is often covered with a colorful carpet of lichen – an organism shaped by the symbiosis between algae and fungi.

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Even large animals manage to adapt and live constantly in the Namib. While jackals and brown hyenas roam the beach to find lost seals or sea birds, larger animals such as gemsbok, springbok, and even rhinos prefer areas with more vegetation. Even a population of desert lions roams freely in the Namib.

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Running across this isolated piece of land where shipman lost their lives might seem a bit lunatic at first glance. But sometimes it’s this simplicity that lets us refocus and enjoy the beauty of the moment even more. This year has been the fourth edition of the RacingThePlanet Namib Race – a semi self-supported foot race of 250 kilometers distance. More than 100 runners from across the globe gathered to go on a seven day journey by foot.

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While the competitors focus on their performance, a large organization of over 50 people was involved to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for them. Organizing a desert race includes tasks such as planning and marking the route, setting up daily campsites, monitoring weather and wildlife, providing medical support, media coverage, logistic support, entertainment and many more. Please find below a few impressions shared from a more organizational view of the race.

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