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Pre-Race Update

Competitors met in Swakopmund, many reuniting with old friends, and some meeting for the first time. A nervous energy surrounded the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre as volunteers completed their training and competitors awaited the check in -- all nervous that their equipment and gear wouldn't pass inspection.

Samantha Fanshawe, the Race Director, led the briefing, telling competitors about the recent rain on the course and the emerging flowers that had laid dormant under the sand awaiting water in order to blossom.  She explained the dunes they would encounter and the seals and shipwrecks they will see along the Skeleton Coast. The course was now set and competitors were eager to head out to the Namib desert.

However, first, competitors had to go through several check-in stations including a medical review, equipment review, among others stations.

The competitors set out for the first campsite shortly after noon for a four hour bus ride to the Skeleton Coast National Park.

Competitors arrived at Camp 1 to a very warm welcome from Namibian locals signing under the banner.  Competitors quickly settled in, preparing a dinner by the fire before heading to bed as the sun quickly set.  Steve Wise of Scotland said in his blog: "As the sun begins to set, everyone is sitting around chatting, eating and enjoying the beginning of a big adventure. After 7 months thinking about this thing, I will be off in 15 hours. I’m hoping to get some sleep tonight and be raring to go on Sunday morning."


Stage 1 will begin at 8 am.

Stage 1 Update

Today's Stage 1 winners were:  Ralph Crowley of the United States in 3:04:38; Jovica Spajic of Serbia in 3:16:40; and Iulian Rotariu of Romania in 3:22:11.  The women's winners were:  Kristinet Starck of South Africa in 4:43:50; Carolina Monaci of Italy in 4:44:50; and Kirsten Althoff of Germany in 5:02:16.  Both the men's and women's divisions are highly competitive.  It is typical for the lead to change throughout the race.

Stage 1 introduced competitors to the sheer vastness of the oldest desert on Earth, the Namib Desert.  The stage consisted of endless plains and colorful valleys in some of the most precious areas of the Skeleton Coast National Park.

At 37.8 kilometers competitors began in a river bed before moving to open plains consisting of white crystals with only small signs of life visible.  Colorful hills and valleys followed with rare lichen fields fed by the ocean fog.  The terrain was sand-topped with small black stones. Towards the mid-section, the atmosphere became hot with only wide open plains and soft ground ahead.  A green river bed in the distance alerted competitors to the next campsite.

Volunteers left early in the morning to set up the the checkpoints to ensure competitors had water and medical care, if needed, at each checkpoint which were roughly 10 kilometers apart.

Stage 1 started with some competitors flying out of the gate as they weaved between sandy river beds.  There was a tail wind behind them. Mo Foustok of Saudi Arabia took the lead with Ole Norstad of Norway and Ralph Crowley of the United States running a few minutes behind.  The lead competitors ran through CP1 at a crazy pace as they made their way to the coastline.  CP2 had a stunning view of the ocean. The temperatures really started to heat up after CP2 and Ralph Crowley of the United States slowly took the lead.  However, Ralph was further pushed by Serbian Special Forces competitor Jovica Spajic.

Stage 1's eventual winner was Ralph Crowley of the United States, calling it "the windiest stage ever," and that says a lot given that Ralph is in the 4 Deserts Club and has volunteered on multiple 4 Deserts and RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon races.  Jovica Spajic of Serbia placed second, and  Iulian Rotariu of Romania placed third.

Further down the field saw Judy Chan of Hong Kong who finished in five hours and thirty minutes. Judy was listening to podcasts with an empty mind, not thinking about work and just focused on finding the hardest sand and avoiding rocks.
Marisa Holman of United States was "power walking like a boss."  She found the stage "an amazing day and super beautiful."  Marisa finished in just under seven hours.

Tomorrow's Stage 2, which begins at 8 am, is 39.5 kilometers.

Stage 2 Update

The next edition of the Sahara Race (Namibia) starts on Sun, 30 April 2017.

The Stage 2 Update will be posted on Mon, 1 May 2017.

Stage 3 Update

The next edition of the Sahara Race (Namibia) starts on Sun, 30 April 2017.

The Stage 3 Update will be posted on Tues, 2 May 2017.

Stage 4 Update

The next edition of the Sahara Race (Namibia) starts on Sun, 30 April 2017.

The Stage 4 Update will be posted on Weds, 3 May 2017.

Stage 5 Update

The next edition of the Sahara Race (Namibia) starts on Sun, 30 April 2017.

The Stage 5 Update will be posted on Fri, 5 May 2017

Stage 6 Update

The next edition of the Sahara Race (Namibia) starts on Sun, 30 April 2017.

The Stage 6 Update will be posted on Sat, 6 May 2017

Post-Race Update

The next edition of the Sahara Race (Namibia) starts on Sun, 30 April 2017.

The Post-Race Update will be posted on Sun, 7 May 2017