By Kim van Kets
My race blogs may get shorter as the week progresses…the difficulty is that for a long time after we arrive in camp our brains seem to be in power save. We sit down and then stare blankly at our packs with slightly glazed looks, uncertain what to do next. The gazebo mate who has been there the longest has to remind his/her mates to eat/drink/stretch/stop dribbling. But I am getting ahead of myself, let me tell you about the beginning before the end.
We had a fairly good night last night because it would appear that there are no rampant snorers entered in KAEM 2017. This is an enormous blessing and was the main topic of conversation this morning with many runners emotional with relief. A hardcore snorer can really take endurance to a whole new level. My day began with shoe repairs. I have inexplicably developed a small hole in the toe of my shoe with the result that I had accumulated 2kg of sand in my right foot as opposed to only 1kg of sand in my left. Clearly something would need to be done. The materials available to me are dental floss, a small amount of duct tape wrapped around my toothpaste tube and a needle. Needlework is not my core competency, but fortunately Sarie, who was my neighbour last night , is (in addition to being a retired captain in the SAP) also an embroidery guru and was able to perform a repair consultancy service. KAEM runners are a diverse bunch of over achievers 😉 I am elated to say that my repair has held! All day! A triumph indeed. I will have to do some further maintenance tonight (under Sarie’s supervision I hope) and running repairs and preventative maintenance on a daily basis. I am confident in my developing needlework skills.
The route today felt very runnable and (with a steak consumed for supper, off of my slip slop in the absence of a more suitable receptacle) my pack was fractionally lighter. Best of all, there was a staggered start this morning with 3 groups of runners setting off at 30-minute intervals. Having started in the middle group, this enabled me to create mini goals every time somebody appeared on the horizon. I would slowly, patiently, relentlessly persistence hunt them (in a slightly disturbing “Lord or the Flies” kind of way but with no actual intention of eating them. Despite my dwindling food supplies. Promise.) This was sufficiently entertaining to enable the km’s to fly by and, together with the elation induced by my successful show repair, I had a really good day. The heat after the final check point almost caused a minor humour crisis which was prevented by the fact that the folk that I past seemed to be finding it slightly worse than me. The misery of others is a very effective personal springboard (as all runners know and exploit so I don’t feel at all bad for doing so).
The 39 runners are in and all that remains for the day is to wash my socks in a ziplock bag and produce an acceptable amount of urine in the right shade of yellow by sunset. Sandra is allowing her closer friends to utilize her food bowl to establish the correctness of the shade. It’s amazing how quickly extreme intimacy and ridiculously close bonds can be formed on the KAEM. Next level. Seriaaas!
I am pleased and proud to announce that Gazebo 3 was once again the winner of the non existent imaginary team prize which is going to be awarded by Gavin in the form of artistic yoga moves at the entrance to our gazebo in his modest, understated, classic black Speedo (also his evening wear). 2 days down. Already it feels as if its going way too fast and I am desperate to make this experience last!
“Great day, very runnable, saw 2 jackal and 1 vulture. Kept moving just in case they were hungry.” J Richard Shannon
“@*%***&& it was hot! Started slow had a good bit of banter at the check points. The volunteers are awesome! Finished stronger than I started.” Ian
“Great day again! High temperature and sometimes very long and straight lines. But the landscape gives you power and allows us to get to the finish line. Waiting for tomorrow.” Gazebo 1 (Pierre, Patrick, Nagib and Jean-Francois)
“Today a dead Oryx was watching us from the side of the track. It seemed to be saying “don’t push too hard or you will end up like me!” I tried to follow its advice but I’m not sure I managed.” Coralie
“Awesome day 2 in the Kalahari! Sun, sand, rocks but also a lovely wind….warm wind!” Annie
“Normal service resumed. Day 2 nightmare. Shoot me if I come back.” Richard Shallito
“Its so hot here that even the pen has melted into a curve! Good day as we were among the first out of the camp we saw herds of Gemsbok and Springbok, 3 giraffe and my first snake of the trip – hopefully also my last. It was on our route for tomorrow that Ian and I danced with a Cape Cobra in 2014. Emily ran really strongly today (my daughter). Amazing to see.” David Ball
“Of course I am here to enjoy this beautiful race, but I am not only here for my own pleasure. I choose to run KAEM to raise funds for the French Parkinsons Association. My father suffers from Parkinson’s disease and I cant stay seated and do nothing. “Gilles
“Was a kiff day today. Felt so good and really enjoyed the desert today. Paid my school fees yesterday (lol) learned a lot! Looking forward. Feel much better. Was a little worried yesterday. Best chirp today was from Estelle: “What a KAK pad!” Hahahaha! Lekker, saw my wife at check point 3. Made my day!” Tony
“Good day out. Took an easy walk-run. Saw some beautiful kokerbome, 2 with funky hairstyles. Saw a few Springbok too. Cooling wind most of the way.” Sandy (Good name for a desert run!)
“Beautiful vistas, loved the quiver trees, hugged a kameeldoring before checkpoint 2. That was good!” Marelize
“Highlight of my day No 2: Witnessing Toosi trying to explain “non-verbal communication” to Richard Shannon. Like that was ever going to fly.” Steve (Ship)
“Don’t take the Kalahari for granted or try to be a camel who can go without water! Dr Grant has the last say. I dehydrated and was almost pulled out of the race. I had to spend almost an hour with the medics and after I drank 2l of water and took several Rennies before I was allowed to continue. We are humans. “THINK” as Dr Grant has told us!” Mich
“If you feel good, remain calm. It won’t last. If you feel bad, remain calm. !t wont last!” Kim