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Day 2 – 32km

The mood in the camp last night was good; everyone was pleased to have survived the severe test of clambering over the rocks by the river in the heat. It also helped that the rumours about LD (camp boss) turned out be untrue. He is old school and people suggested that the stools introduced since he was last here would be removed. The stools mean that runners can sit in the cooking area or around the fire chatting and swapping tales of the trail. Previously everyone was dispersed, having to find rocks to sit on. Some of the runners enjoyed a vacuum packed steak which they brought with them to cook over the fire on the first night. The cuisine seems limited this year; without Alvyn Mass (freshly prepared flat bread) and Kim van Kets (pizza) it is just dehydrated stuff.

The tough first day must have taken its toll; the normal late night revellery (a comparative term) didn’t happen with everyone in bed shortly after the sun went down.. Many people did not get a good night’s sleep because they were tossing and turning due to painful legs and feet or because their neighbour was. Some runners escaped from the tents and slept outside to enjoy being under the starts and to get some peace.

There were several starts times for day 2 with the slower runners from yesterday setting off at 6.00am and the leaders held back until 7.30am. Unfortunately Ambrose was not on the start line having withdrawn in the evening.

Estienne showed his evil side once again, runners were lulled into a false sense of security by an easy 20km in the cool before sending the runners up death valley which does a very good impression of an oven at full temperature. Unfortunately because both running and rock-climbing start with an ‘R’ he thinks they are the same. It was tough going up that steep valley which in the days when it was full of water had several waterfalls. The carcasses of several zebra and antelope were a good reminder that this is a very hostile environment. The smell added to the experience.One of the runners(Steven from Singapore) did not make it, but he had a better fate than the wildlife; he was scooped up by the crew and transported back to the Augrabies Falls Lodge.

Spirited were high in camp as Death Valley had been survived and there is nothing like that to come in the rest of the days. There will be challenges but nothing with the fearsome reputation of the valley. While people were resting in the stretch tents Harry regaled them with his endless supply of joke – too risky to repeat here. Today was also the first day that runners got emails from loved ones and supporters which had been printed out a the Lodge and brought to camp.

The leaders.

There is no change with the men, Hylton is running well and Russel and Fergus are running together.

1st Hylton Dunn

2nd = Russel Nugent/Fergus Wall

There was a change in the women’s standings with Erica feeling nauseous.

1st Helen Buley

2nd Erica Terblanche

3rd Annabelle Latz

My highlight of the day: coming up behind Tanya and Genis and seeing them walking along hand in hand like a couple of young lovers walking in a park.

Runners comments

From yesterday from Hugh, RAF auxillary. Caught up to Harry, ex British Army, 200 metres before camp on Day 1. Finished an hour and a half later after a small navigational error. As is traditional in UK joint services the Airforce is blaming the Army and vice versa. Due to the secrecy pact (A & T) nobody has any idea what happened.

Today.

Hot! Hot! day, Death Valley was a big challenge, made easier with the company of Torsten. Dreaming of an ice-cold Savannah. – Annie

Death valley lived up to its name this year. A few dead animal, a result of the current drought. I am sure I saw a few runners amongst them. Tough one but an enjoyable day. Time to get the liquids back in and head down ready for 40k tomorrow. – John

Day 2 – Hot day and a tough day. Everybody in good spirits in camp. Looking forward to 40k tomorrow. – Harry

Today after running for 5 hours with Harry he said he felt like my father. So I tripped him – he went down and that was that – the bond was broken. Ian

Death valey lived up to its name. Quite eerie at times with the carcasses. Very good seeing all the vineyards and orchards – a juxtaposition to the dry barren land – Annabelle