During my year off from regular life I had the incredible opportunity to trail run all over the world. One such place was in the desert on Africa’s Skeleton Coast. Namibia is amazing country with phenomenal wildlife, vast barren landscape and extremes (see photos below). One of the first places we explored was Sossusvlei National Park. A vast desert with the largest sand dunes in Africa. The sand is multi-coloured but primarily a deep red.
One part of this amazing region is called the Dead Vlei (pronounced flay). A short deep sand drive and then a hike over a few dunes to a landscape which is breathtaking.
We wandered through this weird world and me being me , had to run up the big huge dune beside it. I figured, wrongly, that I could zip up the monster in a few minutes, hey it’s like the dunes in Sandbanks near my cottage only slightly bigger. Slightly is the wrong word but that was what I was thinking. I am stupid. Very stupid. I mean running up sand dunes is kinda my thing. My best results have come off long periods of that kind of training. P.S. go to Sandbanks and run the remote dunes, do it, do it often.
So up I went and then after a few hundred steps I went plunk. Breathing ridiculously hard and feeling equally moronic I struggled painfully up and up and then a whole bunch more up until the top. I honestly thought, no hyperbole here, that I was in trouble. I couldn’t catch my breath. A few photos later, see below, I crashed and slide back down the dune to my wife, the ever patient Nancy. I mean to be fair, it was eight kazillion degrees and I had missed a few runs and….. ok again fairly stupid am I. Runs in Africa were few and far between. All day in our truck driving through incredible national parks and remote wilderness combined with camping each night in areas surrounded by every kind of amazing animal gave me little opportunity for running. Lots of roaring lions at night, no lie, really. I did get a bunch of runs further up the Skeleton Coast which were spooky and amazing.
The YouTube links to 2 videos of the whole messy run. I love the way Nancy encourages me as I am dying and that in one video you hear “told you so”. Also I appear really tiny running because the dune is massive. Also if you watched all of both videos you are amazing because most of the time I am seemingly barely moving. Thanks for your interest, my wife couldn’t sit through all 5 minutes of both and you did.