I finished the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon. After 250 in self-sufficiency for 6 stages (7 days), I was able to finish this tough race in the 10th position and 1st +50 (those over 50).
My goal with these challenges is not so much the competition, but to be able to cross walking on a sporty way exceptional environments of our planet, but the truth is that once I am in a race I also like to have a good performance and be in a good position in the ranking. And finishing among the “Top 10” for a non-specialist in “running” like me, is fantastic. I had to fight hard because the first 20 were very fast, but the hard conditions of the terrain, of being a race in self-sufficiency (except water), of doing very long stages and being often running above 40ºC, and having to sleep on the floor, makes me I feel good and being more competitive than it would be in a “Trail Running” race where only the running counts.
Apart from a downturn due to lack of hydration in the second stage, when we reached 46ºC, the other days I did not have any physical problems and I was able to perform to the best of my abilities.
Being the first among those over 50 already happens more often, but I do not know if it is to be happy or sad… being the best of the “old” is not the coolest thing in the world, but also has the positive vision, because one realizes that his body works well and that he has many years ahead for dreaming and carrying out projects. After all, you are young if you have more projects than memories; and I assure you that in this aspect I am a kid.
On the race, the ranking would also be Top 10. A perfect organization, very close and compact for a race with few runners (56 in this edition). All the staff lives the event with passion, and most come as volunteers for many years. All this makes you live a great family atmosphere, which immediately feel integrated, and you get to make a connection with runners and organizers/staff only. The best that I have lived in this type of tests.
The Kalahari desert is very special, and having been able to walk it is a luxury, because this part of the Augrabies National Park, which is considered the most valuable, is specially protected and, therefore, has a very restricted access. Although it is not one of the deserts that I have fallen in love with, I have loved to know it, but it is not of those that I would repeat as many times as I could; and before I would be lost (or I will lost again) at one of the many other desert that I have been able to know.
In general it has been a huge experience, a great recognition for an exceptional organization, and happy for the result, both for me and, especially, for my main sponsors in this challenge: WAAUltra and ALTRA Running.