NDC – Namib Desert Challenge 2012

Namib Desert Challenge – 228km in five days

This event was an adventure – not just for extreme athletes

The trip to Namibia started in the morning of March 25th. Just after seven in bright sunshine, we entered the country in which Germany had left a long, long time his tracks. Sun, desert and competition should be our next focus.

At the airport, our shuttle was already waiting by Kinetic Events, the organizer of the Namibia Desert Challenge, and now we should bring in the next 6 hours on one of the hottest and most beautiful areas in Namibia. We were no longer alone! As we boarded the waiting bus at the airport, even athletes from all over the world were sitting in their seats and greeting us.

Now the trip was to Sossusvlei, one of the most beautiful national parks of Namibia, where our competition should take place. After an hour, we met the second bus by Kinetic Events and drove now in convoy to the south.

Target achieved Sossusvlei Lodge

At the destination, it had to go now quickly to receive race packets, write down emergency numbers, emergency equipment and remove unnecessary material and equipment in case of Sossusvlei Lodge. Only a small bag with competitive equipment could be taken to our camp, which should be for the next 5 nights our home. Two men should share a tent, the choice was easy , and my team-mate of androgon was the chosen one.

After obtaining, the available space in the camp there was an initial briefing and a feast in the Sossusvlei Lodge, the last hotel before the desert. A fantastic welcome dinner and a unique ambience under the canopy of heaven were waiting for us. But hopefully not our last meal?

So far so good … but which now no one had expected, not even the organizers, was strong onset of rain. Evil big clouds moved suddenly above the desert and dumped all their water down us. Neither the sun nor the protective canopies tents were waterproof. If we our sun protective clothing, and our competition, which ranged up to UV protection factor 50, have brought nothing?

None of the 40 contestants had raincoat and it happened as it had: After a short time was also the ground , where the tents stood absorbing any more water. In the desert, it rains generally extremely rare, if at all, not to this extent. What now…?

Day 1 – rain

The first night was “happy wet-cold” and without proper sleep. At 05:45 we were awakened at precisely 07:00, the buses drove to our first launch. It continued to rain, dense fog lay over the desert, only now a classic cross-country marathon of 42.2 km at unusually cool temperatures …

After the start gun, a first group of five runners went very quickly – wait some time and don`t take the pace too sharp -as the South Africans, Australians and Spaniards have with the nature of the terrain more experience …

The landscape was fascinating, in spite of rain and heavy fog. It was also unusual and unique at the same time, to run under these conditions in the desert. Other competitors will have to wait another 50 years. But on the other hand, it seems very strange to – even the “Marathon des Sables” and the “100 km del Sahara” in 2012 literally fallen into the water …

Fallen into the water are our running shoes too, at each checkpoint had only once the water out of the shoes are tilted, the shoes were like a pitcher.

Nevertheless, it was great fun to walk at places that probably never a tourist will visit. The goal was the first day we already know the Sossusvlei Lodge, near our camp. Androgon-team was number 7, and place 21. We have enjoyed the many impressions and felt very well despite lack of sleep and fresh.

In the evening, there was finally a briefing and as a reward for an extraordinary dinner – of springbok and kudu and other specialties, the region has to offer Sossusvlei.

The second night was again difficult, it was raining heavily, and the water column of our tents did not seem really to be designed for rain. To this was added, that two men could look over a two-man 190cm standard tent a little bit cramped. A second tent was needed! Luckily, I had another overflow in my waterproof bag and could at least start in semi dry clothes. Most athletes, however, had to rise again in her wet clothes. The running shoes were just not getting dry … So the night was again left without deep sleep to the end … Well, after all, we wanted adventure, and otherwise we could have run in Dortmund, Bremen and Munich a marathon!


Day 2 – Rain

Wake up and marching as standby on the first day.The buses were waiting for us at 07:00 taking us to the second start.

Today 45km waited on us. The track was again very varied. In addition, we would now see the first red dunes. The trail was supposed to lead us but also by a flooded desert. Also, no one had anticipated hereby. Feet wet again, it was the rifles not necessary – the sand was wet, not dusty it. A fabulous day was waiting on us, despite the rain, water and fog banks. This day was marked by a lot of climbing, endless plains and lots of sand.

On the second day, two particularly outstanding athletes took the lead, the race would probably decide among themselves: Dirk Cloete of South Africa and Richard Gannon from the UK that ran these Marathon trails always about 3 hours, followed by the 24 -year-old South African Tiaan Erwee.


Day 3 – A day with the sun – finally it came up!

Again, the buses took us to a place unknown to us – was the aim of our camp today. Finally, the rain was over, the sun laughed at us and around us. Suddenly, the desert was bathed in color. The trail led through the park today , however, cross-country.

Again a few meters had to be conquered. A checkpoint could unfortunately not be found by the first runner and was only later properly signposted; this meant extra min. and km for androgon-team and some other runners. The sun made the 42km trail to a huge picture-experience. One runner from the androgon team finishes the day on 6th place. This meant that time in the sun at the camp; finally, tent, shoes and utensils are running dry.



Day 4 – And the sun was shining still.

The fourth day was 55km . Team androgon decided the trail together only to work in quiet over the unique landscape of the Namib Desert, with its canyons, dry river beds, sand dunes, and hold jagged rocks, trees and plants in countless pictures and movies. The highlight of the day was the ascent of the “Dune 45″ shortly before the stage finish.

Photos and movies are shown on www.androgon.com under the tab “photo shoots” of “Namib Desert Challenge 2012″ and “androgonmagazin” at Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/androgon/sets/72157629264659678/and Youtube are considered.


Day 5 – sprint

The fifth day of the tournament committee has been redesigned slightly Kinetic Events. Because of the many unplanned water that had fallen in recent days, the dry salt lakes and rivers could not crossed. Unfortunately, this also was for the ascent of “Big Daddy” – the highest dune in the world! Instead, organizers another impressive run-Panorama put together. After ca.14km straight and flat run course followed by a number of dune crossings. It went up and down through the warm red desert sand. Unforgettable images impressed themselves deeply into our memories. Sand Dunes and trails, the tourists will never see. Team androgon accelerated again on the last day and finished 3rd place and 15th place.

The overall competition but have finally decided Dirk Cloete of South Africa and Richard Gannon from the UK among themselves. First, Dirk Cloete, who completed the nearly 230 kilometers in a total time of 15:48 h, followed by Richard Gannon with just under 24 minutes apart 16:12 h on the five-day stages. An incredibly exciting race! On the 3rd place could keep the 24-year-old South African Tiaan Erwee. But Werner Stucky, a South African of German origin, who started with his three sons, Leo and Rolf Reiner jointly, reached the final milestone, celebrating a personal victory.

All results can be found under http://www.namibdesertchallenge.com/node/66


NDC 2012 – a Resume `

This event was and is a pearl among the ultra-runs! An absolute must for extreme sports enthusiasts, but also for runners who are close to nature and appreciate the extraordinary; as you need not always being the first to win. A unique experience of superlatives and no comparison to a mass event like the “Marathon des Sables”.

The comeradship was impressive, although there were many different languages spoken, but sport unites – all felt like a big family. After our dinner, we have always carried nice and informative discussions around the campfire.

Overall, team-androgon came very well through the five stages. However, when the daily temperatures were 50 degrees and the desert had not cooled by the rain, we were not sure after the fifth day to be relaxed. Failures, were virtually none, last year there were fewer than 15, according to organizers on the fourth day. Some participants were already using it last year, and this speaks for itself.

The German, English and Afrikaans-speaking organization team by Kinetic Events wore a very important part in ensuring that the NDC was in 2012 at a memorable experience. The latter created in spite of the weather, accurate and flexible framework, by reorganizing running trails and making an extremely high-quality supporting program. Every night there was an informational briefing, which was received in detail the characteristics and changes in daily stages. Then followed a dinner in the open air, which was excellent. Everyone who lost its calories in gourmet delicacies of the country he filled up again. The last night in luxury hotel “Sossusvlei Lodge”was spent in beautiful detached cottages – overlooking the virginal-looking nature. Climax and conclusion of the event was a culinary candle-light dinner with all the athletes and coaches in the middle of the desert under the starry sky.


Will follow in English soon:


sponsored by:
Montane: http://www.montane.co.uk/
INOV-8 http://www.inov-8.com/New/UK/index.asp?L=26
More Information:
Dune 45: http://youtu.be/05ARvMCHvOo
More Videos YOUTUBE: androgonMagazine: http://www.youtube.com/user/androgonMAGAZINE?ob=0&feature=results_main



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