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By Edward Chapman

KAEM 2019 Day 1 – Hylton Dunn – Photography: HermienWebb Photography

 

The atmosphere was a little subdued at the start line partly because Tony had to retire even before the race started, but also because the bravado of the last few days had evaporated. The challenge ahead was becoming all too real. Estienne’s talk at the start was mercifully short (unlike Patrick’s at MdS). The bell was rung ( a new feature) and everyone was happy to get started. Soon there was a long line of runners snaking through the Augrabies Falls National Park.

Some of the runners were lucky enough to see a group of 6 giraffes after about 3km. They watched the runners for a while then turned away with a distained look. They were not impressed with the short legs and ungainly gait of the runners.

Despite Estienne’s warning to be careful at the water crossing several runners fell. One fell twice bringing to mind the old Spanish proverb which roughly translates as ‘the second time you get kicked by a donkey you learn nothing. Those falls led to the withdrawal later of Patrick Mouyen and Joseph. The other Patrick (Hobbs), buoyed up by his finish last year, is taking things seriously; he is sporting a technical running t-shirt rather the the dress one he normally wears. He satorial elegance has been compromised by the fact that it is white, well it was at the start of the day – now it is sand coloured.

The first 20km were relatively easy being on dirt road with only a short section of sandy river bed (Sandman you are slipping). The only fly in the ointment were the flies. Lots of miggies that get up your nose and down your throat. I hope the vegan society doesn’t hear about how many I swallowed. The final stretch to get to camp was pure hell according to most of the runners including the leaders.

Women

1st – Erica Terblanche

2nd – Helen Buley

3rd – Michaela Johnson

 

Men

1st – Hylton Dunn

2nd (joint) – Russel Nugent/Fergus Wall

 

Talk from the tent. Some one was talking about putting cabbage leaves in you bra to cure mastitis. I only partially heard and thought they were talking about Spanish women putting cabbage leaves under their hats to keep cool. I caused a lot of merriment by saying “What – cabbage leaves under your hat cure mastitis”

The big news of the day was that Harry Hunter who spent 22 years in the army all over the world got lost. Ian, from Ireland commented “The biggest embarrassment since Brexit. #lostharry.

Other quotes

The day started well until down by the riverside the wheels came off and I struggled with cramp. Glad to finish – Phil

Lulled into a false sense of security by Estienne with a first steady 20k in the cool morning. Broken by a hot descent to the river with boulders and sand. – David F

Pretty awesome to start the race with a sighting of four graceful long-legged giraffe. – Eric

Surprise, surprise a very hot sandy day in the desert . Wasn’t expecting that! Amazing scenery a made up for it. Bring on tomorrow.- Annie

I say I say it was hot out there. Slow going , but at least I made it to the end of day 1. First goal accomplished. – Kim