ATD and Expedition and Wilderness Medicine team up for Commonwealth Championships

Expedition and Wilderness Medicine

Expedition and Wilderness Medicine

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine are to provide the medical cover for the Commonwealth Championship for Mountain ATD Adventure RacingRunning and Ultra Distance. The events will run over four days in September 2009, and Keswick has been chosen as the venue.

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine Director, Dr Sean Hudson is acting as the Medical Director for the event and overseeing the medical care for the many international and local competitors who will be involved in a number high profile races. In conjunction with ATD Adventure Racing they will be managing the medical logistics and communication for the event.

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Namibian Ultra Marathon – The toughest footrace on earth? By Jayne Freer

Heading up to checkpoint 2

Namib Ultra Marathon. Heading up to checkpoint 2

As memories of the aches, pains and blisters begin to fade for the 35 000 runners who competed in the  London Marathon, a handful may now be looking to take on an even bigger challenge to push their limits further. With the infamous Marathon des Sables booked up until 2011, what is left for those athletes brave and mad enough to take their running to the next level? I travelled to Africa with nine runners of all ages and from all walks of life for the first-ever Namibian 24-hour Ultra Marathon and now ask: Could this be the toughest footrace on earth?

It’s 8:00 and the sun is slowly creeping over the tip of the Brandberg. The temperature is already rising.

One-by-one, nine male runners emerge from their tents with a look of nervous but eager anticipation in their eyes. Each is about to embark on a remarkable journey that will remain etched in their minds forever.

The setting is the striking but forbidding Namib Desert. The event, the first-ever Namibian Ultra Marathon, which kicks off in just under an hour’s time.

Racing 120 kilometres in 24 hours, competitors will battle it out along the dusty gravel plains, dry riverbeds and vast sand expanses of the oldest desert in the world, before passing through the spectacular Messum Crater and finishing at one of the most hostile coastlines on earth, the Skeleton Coast.

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New Adventure Race in Andalucia

Our friends at Adventure-racing.org have just returned back from Spain from the recce of their new Spanish ultra race. A 250km race over 5 days in the stunning Andalucia region.  A beautiful mountain trail running through villages, taking in a wide range of landscapes including the white peaks of the Sierra Nevada.

The race takes place on the 13th-17th July 2009.

Our recent Namibia Desert Marathon gets viewed from a local perpective

Adventure racing in Namibia

Namibia Ultra Marathon Race

Following is an account as seen from the eyes of a guide/marshal, during this epic event in Namibia organised by Across the Divide Expeditions to find out more about the race visit adventure-racing.org here.

About the author. Kobus Alberts is a former park ranger and guide, a director of Wild at Heart Safaris an instructor of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine’s Desert Medicine training course and an acknowledged expert on desert travel.

Saw the men for the first time at the Airport when they were collected. Ordinary men of different walks of life.

The campsite was just South of the Brandberg Mountain, and the perfect setting for the starting point. The “rest” day, 1 day before the race, me and the participants went for a walk-about in the area. Climbed an inselbergs to get a bird’s eye view of the area. “Uncle Spikes” a.k.a. the sun were out and burning down for everyone to feel. Near the end of the walk some guys were out of water already, just showing how easy it is to misjudge the intense heat and all of this only in the morning part of the day.

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Laugavegur Ultra Marathon

 Adventure Racing in Iceland

 Find out how Steve Clark from Across the Divide found this 55km Icelandic Ultra.

The Laugavegur Ultra marathon is a 55km footrace along the most popular hiking trail in Iceland, a route that normally takes 4 days to complete.  Now 55km doesn’t actually sound that far, as really it is just a bit more than a marathon.  Looking on the course records the warning bells started to sound as the fastest 10 finishers in 2006 took between 5:26 and 6:06 hours to complete the course.  I didn’t know quite what to expect, although I imagined it had to be tough for such slow times.  Little did I know but I was in for quite a challenge.

The first section is pretty much all uphill along rocky paths, past steaming volcanic vents, multi coloured mountains, sections of ice and deep snow, scree and volcanic sand.  For the first 20km you don’t actually realise how tough it is as you are blown away by the scenery and surrounding mountains and glaciers.  The climbs and descents are brutal.  It can be too easy to get carried away and push too hard on this section only to suffer much later in the race.  I had a look on the course profile and it seemed that after the steep ascent on the first leg, it was pretty much downhill until the finish.  It came as a bit of a shock that the long downhill sections I was hoping to open up on never really materialised and I found myself running steep ascents and descents for pretty much the rest of the race.

The second section of the race drops down from the mountains towards a vast lake and you really are treated to some spectacular vistas.  The terrain here is a little tricky underfoot with narrow rocky paths, scree and steep descents that hammer your knees.  But the time I reached the half way point I was beginning to wonder how my legs would hold out.  Luckily there are a few long sections here on gravel roads that allow a brief recovery before the going gets tough again. 

The rest of the race for me was a bit of a blur as I zoned out using all my mental effort to force myself to keep running.  Lots of up and downs, waterfalls, and ice cold glacial river crossings that actually came as welcome relief as it numbed my painful legs.  The final river crossing involves a rope guide rail and from there a short run through the woods leads to the finish line, a hug from the race organisers, a warm blanket and a BBQ.  I can just remember feeling a huge sense of relief that it was all over and I had made it.

As long as I forget the pain, this has to be the most beautiful run I have ever had.  It is tough without a doubt, a proper trail run with a real variety of terrain that makes it quite difficult under foot for the majority of the course.  The race still has a very local feel to it, with only a handful of international runners.  It has a real mixture of racing snakes and people who just to finish the damn thing.  I have never seen so many smiling and happy runners during a race.  I loved it and thoroughly recommend it for 2008. 
 
If you fancy this race for July 2008 you can check it out at Adventure Racing Website.