Men’s Fitness Magazine out now!

Go grab your copy of Men’s Fitness magazine to view some fantastic coverage about Across the Divide’s Namibia 24 hour ultra marathon.

Team Men’s Fitness went out and literally conquered with one of them coming in first….just. The race is gruelling and extreme but all runners did phenomenally well,  and the camaraderie was exceptional.

Join us in 2010 on the 24 hour Namibia Ultra Marathon

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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.

Across the Divide Namib Ultra Marathon Results

The Namibia 24 hour Ultra Race has just finished and we are delighted to announce the winners:

Tom Maguire, Winner of the Namibia Ultra Marathon

 

 

 

Picture: Tom Maguire winner of the Namibia Ultra Race, coming into checkpoint 3, just over halfway at 62km

1. Tom Maguire, 17 hours, 15 minutes

2. Andrew McMenemy, 21 hours, 40 minutes

3. Joakim (Rolf) Jonsson, 22 hours, 24 minutes – who has never run a marathon before!

4. Kenneth Dunne, 23 hours, 22 minutes

4. Alan Logue, 23 hours, 22 minutes

6. William May, 23 hours, 26 minutes

7. Pete Holdgate, 23 hours, 39 minutes

7. Bill Martin, 32 hours, 39 minutes

9. Chris McCarthy, DNF

The 120km route traversed gravel plains framed by distant ridges and mountains, running past dramatic upheavals of granite inselbergs. All participants remained self sufficient over the 24 hour period, carrying all their own food and equipment – although water was provided at every checkpoint. Nine runners completed the race.

All runners thought the race was very well organised, a great route and one of the toughest challenges ever. “It was hot, it was hard, it was awesome! A true adventure! This is a MUST for individuals who wish to test their limits on physical and mental endurancePete Holdgate, who finished in joint 7th place.

Tom the ‘coolest marathon runner’, is already a record holder of the North Pole Marathon (2007) so now adds one of the hottest marathons to his list of achievements.

The Namibia Ultra Race is part of a new series of running events launched by Across the Divide. Steve Clark, from Across the Divide and an ultra marathon runner himself explains: “These races are designed to attract the attention of experienced marathon runners, charity fundraisers and charitable organisations, our adventure series can help gain the interest of sponsors by being out of the ordinary. “

Iceland – Adventure racing for charity

The places for the ICELAND LAUGAVEGUR ULTRA MARATHON  are filling fast so if you are looking for a training goal for the summer sign up now for this great race – described by Steve Clark Across the Divide’s Race Director as ‘one of the best runs in Europe’.

The “Laugavegur” course is one of the most beautiful in Iceland, stretching from Landmannalaugar in the highlands to Thorsmork, a natural reservation area.

Adventure Racing in Iceland 

Adventure Racing

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.

Namibia 24hour Ultra 2008 – Have you got what it takes?

Namibia Ultra Marathon
April see’s the first running of the Namibia 24Hour Ultra, a 120km race across the worlds oldest desert and most remote national park in Africa with a coastline considered by many to be the most hostile you’ll ever see.

Runners will be completely self reliant for the duration of the race, having to carry their food and equipment. Water stations and medical tents will be provided at 20km intervals along the route. Temperatures are expected to reach 35 degrees c. The route is mainly flat with undulating sections of gravel, sand and rock, but this one will really test your mental strength to the max.

After flying into Windhoek competitors will transfer to Spitzkoppe in the Namib at the spectacular Spitzkoppe desert mountain range. The race starts in the cool of a desert early evening and participants will run through the night with the full moon of the Namib for light and company. Runners will pass by the Klein Spitzkoppe and Trekkoppe into the wastelands of vast Namib gravel plains, until it finally reaches the finish line on the misted Skeleton Coast and the camp on the beach front at Jakkalsputz (Jackal’s Well) where tents will be on hand to crawl straight into.

The Skeleton Coast Park covers 2 million hectares and is one of the most inhospitable and least visited places on earth gaining its name from the large numbers of shipwrecks which can still be found amongst the drifting desert sands. This is a place of real untouched natural beauty and one that should not be missed. If however 120km seems a bit too far there is also a standard 42.2km distance but this is no ordinary marathon.

Training for such an event isn’t going to be easy and focus must be on endurance as opposed to speed, 24 Hours is a long time to be on your feet! If it is the 120km race you’re doing then expect your body to be pushed to its limit and your mind to its max, mental preparation is as important as physical, it’s a given that your mind will be telling you to stop.

If you want to be there too you’ll need to visit the Adventure Racing Website it’s got to be one of the most spectacular ultra marathons on earth.