Day 1 continued…

So my computer was whipped away before the end of the actual day, which meant that the in camp shenanigans were excluded from yesterday’s report. We can’t possibly have that because all the hilarity in the tents and round the braai is what its all about.

We have officially named 2 of the Gazebo’s: We have “(Rule) Brittanica” which is full of Pom’s (under the dubious leadership of Harry.) They are occupying themselves getting bad tans and throwing their weight around (mainly trying to annex other Gazebo’s with rich natural resources). They are also trying to issue orders to anyone stupid enough to listen and impose their opinions on the colonials (Thank God both the the Irish and Afrikaans contingent are staging a rebellion of sorts with a motley crew of freedom fighters including the Kroonstad Trio.) The other Gazebo to be named is “The Ghetto”. This is because the folk in it are larger than life and very loud and take up a LOT of space. It seems very full. When we did an actual head count we established that there were no more people in it than in the other Gazebo’s, but it certainly feels very crowded. Also we aren’t so sure of sanitation and stuff. The Ghetto’s neighbours were reportedly forced to medicate to bind their stomachs as Morgan feared a cholera outbreak in the area and the medical team resisted going into the Ghetto. The people purportedly responsible for the lowering of the tone and the overcrowding are Julian (who has not fallen off anything to date), Pierre and Joseph. For some inexplicable reason Nadia is sharing their space, possibly in a supervisory role? It isn’t working.

Day 2 35 Km 40+ degrees (allegedly, although this has not been confirmed)

The day began with a staggered start (4 start times between 6.30 and 8am) which is always great fun as it motivates the front guys to persistence hunt the folk ahead of them and the slower runners/walkers to try and elude the chasers for as long as possible. I get really into it in a “Lord of the Flies” kind of way and I think everyone enjoys it because its really sociable and you get to see pretty much everyone instead of only the folk who move at your pace. The first 5km were my absolute favorite, lots of sand and rocks and beautiful river views. We left the river via the same hole in the fence that we passed through last year. I chuckled to myself as I remembered having to help Morgan through the wire in 2017 by using my knife to give the fence an episiotomy. Fortunately no similar surgery was required this time round (to my knowledge). Here’s hoping that the sturdier folk made it through.

It was great fun running through the vineyards and high fiving the farm workers (who all looked as if they thought we were nuts as they lounged in the shade on their day off). And then it got hard and it didn’t stop for the next 30km. There was a very serious climb for starters (we were just commenting the previous day that the one thing that ensures KAEM is doable is the relative absence of climbing. Obviously Dallas and Estienne overheard this comment and decided that they needed to rectify things. Uphill sand, rocky tracks, unexpected heat, heavy packs all seemed to drag on longer than 35km. The only wildlife I saw was an enormous Koringkriek (which I thought about bringing along for Pavel to braai tonight, before remembering Estienne’s instructions not to tamper with the fauna). Somehow the views and the company and the amazing crew got us through somehow. It is getting hotter and hotter as I type and a few of our comrades are still out there. Here’s wishing them strength and godspeed it would be amazing to have a full house again tonight.

Well done to Gazebo 8 who are challenging the legendry Gazeothree (of 2017) and so far have dominated by being the first full Gazebo in 2 days in a row. Toosie and Estelle have been working tirelessly towards this goal since 2017.

There were rather a number of tears shed today on arrival at camp, I think this is a combination of suffering, relief and the receipt of moving and fabulous messages from loved one’s. I have no messages from loved one’s and feel like Norman No Friends or the only person not to get a Valentine’s day card. Thanks family and friends! (Luckily everyone in camp feels sorry for me and have promised to send me messages today. Sophie, bless her heart, offered to let me read her messages to feel better. They are in Flemish.)

Ian briefly succumbed to a heat attack and had to get rather a lot of attention from Rambo and friends (this involved, among other things, putting ice in his shorts and belly button.) Although we were very concerned for our friend Ian, it was the main source of entertainment in camp so far. When Ian started making inappropriate jokes about the bottle of ice in his pants we knew he was out of the woods and all started abusing him as usual. (I think he just wanted a drip so that he would be in a position to challenge Bennie tomorrow.)

Worth mentioning:

Patrick has made it through day 2! Yay!

Julie has placed on record that she expects kick-ass abs by then end of this race. She has made it clear that there will be a strongly worded letter written to the organisers if this is not forthcoming. (This is the actual reason she is doing KAEM , not because of orphaned baby rhinos which was only mentioned to impress someone.)

Mark Gallent (or possibly Peter) is able to fit his entire head inside the ziplock bag that he cooks his meals in. This is in an effort to both launder it and get the last bits out. It is immensely entertaining.

Comments:

Super hot day today! Love the desert and respect the wildlife that are able to live here. Had a great run today. Looking forward to the camp at day 3 next to the river. Awesome organization and crew. Bennie Roux

It only gets harder! Robert Treadwell

Harder day than yesterday. Lots of sand and rocks. I did it though! Nikki Smith

Lovely hot day! Still have the breeze. Feel fine and kept on trucking. Annie Dougall

A real good welcome to the true Kalahari today. HOT and a bit more technical than expected. Had a great time out there with Paddy and Harry. Altie Clark