General notes

NAMIBIA

Under the equator, in the heart of south Africa, an area more than 820.000 sqkm large, almost three times Italy's extension, for a total population of no more than 2.700.000 inhabitants, all concentrated in the capital Windhoek and in the biggest cities. It has been submitted to the South African domination and for many years it has been a German colony, things that left an indelible inheritance in its formation and made present Namibia a stable country, safe and well organized, able to give value to its resources, including tourism.

The extraordinary beauty of the land, a smart policy, excellent organization skills of the local operators together with the choice of a selected tourism, all concurred in making the image of this country in open contrast with those of its neighbours; it is the cleanest country of whole Africa, and also the most fenced, since each area has its own owner, belongs to a farm or to a conservation park, always well fenced to avoid the animals to wander.

The area of Namib Desert itself, location of the race, is a National Park that includes what is considered the most acient desert in the world; it includes the highest existing permanent dunes, up to 300 meters high.

All the most interesting sites in this country are protected and suitable to welcome a no-mass but focused and interested tourism. The road system is mostly made of gravel roads, only the biggest ones being tarred,: sign of an almost inexistent traffic outside the cities.

The Race

Information suitable for Runners and Nordic Walking

The long itinerary of the race takes place within the charming and unique desert of Namib, for a total of 104 km. There are 4 legs to be ran during in 4 days, each of them offering a completely different environment.

In the first leg, 15 km, starting at 6,30 PM, you’ll find sand and savannah and the beautiful colours of the african sunset.

The second leg it's a 21 km run in the Tsauchab river bed, up to the unique and exciting final canyon. It starts at 6,30 AM, to avoid the most of the heat.

The third leg will take place on the 3rd day with the classic marathon distance: 42,195 km.
The race will start directly from the lodge at  6,00 a.m., this timing assuring the runners to suffer not too much the heat.  Maximum time 8 hours.
The marathon takes place mostly in a protected area, closed to normal tourists and totally untouched, rich in animals and with great landscapes.

The walker will start from the 1st waterpoint and can be lifted up at the 2nd waterpoint.

The last leg, 26 km, will cross the big dunes area; start at 6,00 AM from Dune 45. During the leg runners and walkers will experience the climb of the highest dune in the world, the Crazy Dune: a 300 metres high giant. 

The walker will start from the 15 km waterpoint and will walk the most spectacular 11 km long section.

The never ending horizon and the great spaces will leave an indelible sign in the heart of people who will live this race.
Oryxes, ostriches, jackals, antelopes and gazelles are the only possible meetings during the run.

The paths are entirely marked by high-visibility flags and orange carton boards.

There will be one waterpoint in the first, second and fourth leg, while there will be 2 waterpoints in the third leg. Every runner MUST have a reserve of at least 1 litre of water, together with the safety kit prescribed by the rules, which must be ALWAYS carried by the athletes.

The choice of the path, due to the total length of the race, was made with stony and sandy grounds always to be as compact as possible, and only the last day the magic sand dunes will take the lead and will require an additional effort to be violated.

The leg classification and the general one will be made adding the time of each leg, each of which will be given a maximum time, but if some of the participant will take a longer time to arrive to the finish line of one leg he/she will not be disqualified but will only be given a penalty time as indicated in the rules.


Technical Clothing:

Functional, protective garments made of technical fabric are essential; then sunglasses, hat with veil and shoes at least one size bigger than usual: those with built-in gaiters have proven to be good for the purpose. Camelbak or hipbelt bottles previously tested.
To the “less fast” runners - only in the first sunset leg - a headlight is reccomended, since they could reach the finish line with dark.

Recommended: motorcycle-style goggles, cotton scarves or buff to be used in windy conditions.

Not recommended self-made anti-sand gaiters, sleeveless shirts and mini-shorts; in case of very pale complexion, a thin long sleeve shirt and cyclist-like shorts are highly reccomended.

 


Walkers:

There is a walker program reserved to Walkers and Nordic Walking participants, 50 km long. Daily details will be communicated during the technical briefings. Assistance during the race will be the same offered to the runners, but there won't be time recording. Participants will be allowed - depending on their own choice - to board the organization's cars and be carried up to the finish line .


The terrain

As for the itinerary features, due to the total extension of the race, hard/compact terrains have been chosen as much as possible, of course several sandy sections occur. 
Only the last day the magic sand dunes will rule and will require an extra effort to be defeated.

The terrain, due to the omnipresent sand, is anyway pretty demanding all through the race


Escorts:

The package formula and the accommodations can  encourage family members/friends not involved in the sports program and runners to travel together . These people can follow the race moving onboard the organization's vehicles, thus sharing and supporting own relative or friend during the race.  
It's also possible to enjoy the many optional activities organised by the Adventure Center of the Lodge: 4x4 guided tours, scenic flights by plane, balloon or helicopter. 


Useful information:

Protecting the skin from the sun rays:
An important support comes from the sunscreen products; not reccomended those with total protection, since it is demonstrated that can reduce the sweating and therefore negatively affect the hydration balance.
In case of pale complexions, could be useful to take tanning beds to activate the natural protection of skin from the sun itself.

During the hottest hours it's absolutely essential to protect the head with a hat with veil and the exposed skin with light but protective clothing.

Hydration:
The hot and dry climate requires a much greater hydration, constant and careful.
With the rise of temperatures, the water in the Camelbak or water bottles becomes hot and ugly to drink; for a better taste better to bring mineral salts or de-hydrated tea to dissolve in the water.


The climate

During the month of December in Namibia it is summer, since below the Equator the seasons are inverted, so it will be nice to run in the Namib Desert.
The area where the race takes place is approximately 700 meters high; daytime temperatures range from a low of 15 ° at dawn to a maximum that can exceed 40 degrees in the hours between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. . Then they go down to 20 ° / 25 ° in the evening around 9 p.m.

Due to the extremely low percentage of moisture, the feeling of heat is much lower; the real problem is the  mid-morning sun, whose power reach a considerable intensity the runners need to get protected from.
The departure early in the morning, with temperatures around 15 ° / 20 °, will ease the first part of the legs, but after 9 am temperatures rise up quickly.

The real big variable in the desert is always the wind, which cannot be forecasted. When it strikes, it makes life hard for everyone, but of course you should be prepared to anything to participating in this race.



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