The Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon 2015

kalahari_2015
Photo courtesy Altie Clark

Two Brits took top honours at the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon last weekend.

Secondary school teacher and Extreme Energy athlete, Nathan Montague fromWiltshire, became the first Briton to win the challenging Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (KAEM) in South Africa. Jennifer Bradley, who has written a great race report on her blog (see link below) won the womens division.

The event began 24 October to Friday, 30 October, covering 250 kilometers in seven days in the Northern Cape’s “Green Kalahari”. Taking place across six stages, ranging in distance from 28km to 82km, the KAEM is a self-sufficient race, meaning Nathan carried all his supplies, clothes and compulsory safety/survival equipment for the duration of the event.

Since entering the event early this year, Nathan focused his training on making history at KAEM. Following an injury in August that saw him withdraw at the eleventh hour from the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, he used every opportunity to prepare for KAEM. This meant squeezing in training around a busy teaching schedule, whilst making time for his two young girls.

“I get up early in the morning to train and run again in my lunch breaks, aiming for 100 miles/week, 140-160 miles/week in big training weeks. Making time to rest is the hardest part! My training has to fit in with my work and family life, so I use any opportunity I can for stretching, even if it means squeezing in a stretch or two in the school yard!”

Neil and Anna Thubron, the people behind Nathan’s sponsor Extreme Energy, said, before the event

“This is a great opportunity to raise the profile of multi-day racing for everyone in the UK. We’ve all heard of the Marathon des Sables, but there are loads of fantastic multiday races out there and we’d love to see more British runners taking part. Nathan is a really talented runner, who has already won most of Extreme Energy’s races (and holds the course record for several!) – but, more than that, he’s a really nice, ordinary guy”.

Nathan is a seasoned multiday stage runner, but at seven days and 250k, this was the longest race he had attempted, as well as being his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. He knew that would be facing tough competition if he was to become Britain’s first winner of the KAEM. Before the race he said:

“In terms of the competitors I think Mahmut Yavuz, a Turkish competitor who won last year and finished runner up the previous year, will be pushing it on at the front”. And such proved to be the case

“Ultra running makes me a better person. There’s always something to overcome when running an ultra; the first question mark is always whether you will reach the finish line and, in one sense, everyone who achieves that is a winner every time.

Full results of the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon 2015 on the website: www.kaem.co.za/results

Jennifer Bradley’s blog: Runningandbaking.com/

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