Running Across Africa – Day 16 -22

Day 16

Distance ran: 27 miles

A great night’s sleep in a proper bed and a slow start due to a complimentary buffet breakfast. Later than usual, a 7am start, I managed to find a track away from the main road, which seemed busy with lorries, and after about 2 miles we took a right and back onto the D roads. It gave me such a buzz to be back on the red dirt feeling like it was just us running through the African plains. A strong 20 mile morning session we managed to find a beautiful spot to camp (this time we asked the landowner). In the evening I was joined by Antonia and Manuel and we ran another 7 miles. On return our dinner was ready and we enjoyed listening to the noises of the bush before all having an early night.

Day 17

Distance ran: 26 miles

A really good nights sleep, leaving the camper it’s always a bit of a shock actually how cold it is first thing. With a mix of noises, cold and complete darkness I feel like getting back in my sleeping bag, however, once I’m dressed, watered and had a snack I’m ready to make a start. We usually have one hour running in darkness before sunrise and it’s always exciting to see what paw prints are on the dusty track. The last few mornings Libby and I have been non stop talking for the first hour so any exciting animals would have fled the area as my voice is like a foghorn. It’s great to be back on the D roads as there is no traffic, the downside is that they are extremely long and straight. I feel very lucky to be doing this run because we are treated to some of the most beautiful scenery, birds and animals. I have a quick break at 12 miles, a cold coffee from the flask and some snacks, and we’re on our way again. Libby and I gassing again. I stop for another break at 17 miles before Manuel joins Libby and I. We finish the morning session at 20 miles. In the evening Peter, Libby, Manuel and myself headed back out to cover 6 more miles. I quite enjoy the evening sessions as it’s cooler and I can see the landscape around me compared to the mornings when I run for an hour in the darkness. We were rewarded with a very tasty veggie Bolognese and pasta – delicious!

Day 18

Distance ran: 26 miles

My body clock seems to be programmed quite well and I’m waking naturally around 5.45am. This morning Peter, Libby and myself set off for the morning run. I stupidly became nervous when two cows were stood on the side, one with horns which seemed to be looking at me, so I stayed alongside Libby who then messaged Peter to reverse back as they did look angry. No drama and we carried on. A slightly pathetic morning as I then became nervous of a dog in the back of a moving van! I’ve become overly cautious about anything that could potentially bite or kick me. Feeling quite strong another 20 miles in the bag. The last mile the route took me back onto the D road and through the mountains which was beautiful and I was extremely excited about the evening session. In the afternoon I was joined by Manuel and Antonia and we completed another 6 miles. With the sun going down there seemed to be lots of guinea fowl around and then I got majorly excited because I saw an ostrich running across the field. We also had to dodge a puff adder which does make me think that running along the side by the grass we are slightly vulnerable. Another potential danger to think about.

Day 19

Distance ran: 26 miles

A slightly slow start but I’m soon into my stride when the most beautiful sunrise appears on the horizon. A big golden circle rising in front of me. There’s something so special about the freedom of running – feeling the sweat run down your face and the sun lighting up the African landscape it feels like total freedom. You’re living in that moment removed from daily stresses. We finally arrive in Grootfontein and head to Beyer Self-Catering where Steve and Antonia were cooking porridge. We are soon introduced to Max the owner who then kindly offered us beds in his extremely cute guest accommodation. His kindness doesn’t end there, he allows us to use his swimming pool, helped Libby with her bike and invited us for an evening BBQ which got even better when I found out it was lamb. In the evening we went out and covered 10 miles where Max joined us on his bike. It was really special that he joined us and was a part of this challenge. When I do these challenges I also enjoy the people I meet along the way and it’s people like Max, who offer so much for free, that make me appreciate what’s important in life. I can’t thank Max and his Wife Irmgard enough. The day will certainly be one for the memory box.

Day 20

Distance ran: 26 miles

It was so nice to have a lie in, with such great facilities I felt the team would appreciate having a bit of extra time in the morning. We didn’t start running until 8.30am. It was a pretty uneventful day, just a long tarmac road with many trucks. The day was split into two, 20 miles in the morning and 6 in the evening. We camped at Roy’s Rest Camp which was pretty cool. A couple from South Africa were quite interested in what I was doing and were excited to have a photo with me which was sweet but felt funny. There was a lookout hide looking over a waterhole, I did have a look for a minute but all I could see was cowpats! Had an early night with the thoughts of another day on that long road on my mind.

Day 21

Distance ran: 30 miles

I woke at 1am and needed a wee. Due to me running over 400 miles I thought walking to the toilet block was too far so went against a tree. I wasn’t being lazy I just always think there could be a leopard! Stuffing two doughnuts down my face at 6am I was determined to pull off a longer day due to the long road to Rundu. I got into a good stride and seemed fully focused on the task ahead. Taking on gels and water I resisted from having a break. Starting in the dark certainly helps as you can’t see the long road ahead, there were some interesting trees however and I quite liked the palm trees scattered around. No animals this morning, the only thing that passes us are the juggernaut trucks. I do enjoy how most of them sound their horn and put their thumb up into the air. Libby probably saw a different side of me today because it was no chat – head down and in the zone. I completed the 30 miles in 5 hours, 3 minutes and it was nice to have an afternoon relaxing at Mururani Rest Camp, playing with the very cute Jack Russell puppy and of course eating all the snacks!

Day 22

Distance ran: 30 miles

It’s certainly been a long road but keeping my head down I’ve managed to cover 30 miles to condense the distance to Rundu from what we thought would be 6 days down to 4. Apart from a few more villages and vegetables for sale on the side of the road, the road really was just up and down like a big dipper. Have gained confidence by running further and I’m excited from Rundu we will head East towards the Zambia border.

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