Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 158 May 2023 | Page 42

The intrepid herd at the start of the first day , not knowing what lay ahead

The Wildest , Wettest Run

Three days of running on the Wild Coast are food for the soul , but when the weather gods decide to add a few challenges to the run , it can become quite the adventure , as we found out during the RB Africa Wild Coast Challenge in March . – BY JOCELYN GILFILLAN

My daily life is generally quite comfortable . I sleep in a bed sent from heaven , for approximately eight hours a night , and I can do my relatively stress-free job with few or no surprises . Every now and again I am sent into a tizz of discomfort , like when my filter coffee runs out , and I don ’ t have time to get more – # FirstWorldProblems – but the recent RB Africa Wild Coast Challenge ( WCC ) took me out of this comfort zone . It was uncomfortable , it was wet , and it was wild !

The WCC is a three-day stage event covering 128km through the untamed trails of the Transkei , with 43km , 40km and 45km stages , and no cut-off times per stage . The route includes a mixture of terrains , including virgin beach stretches , rocks and boulders , grassy hillocks , narrow goat paths , sand dunes , hiking trails , old Jeep

Day 1

The Haven ( Cwebe ) to Kob Inn Hotel

We woke to warm and incessant rain , and the mood in the group was nervous anticipation and excitement . The herd posed in the rain for a photo and then gently jogged to the Mbashe River , where kayaks were ready take us across the allegedly shark-infested waters . It takes quite a bit of time to transport 58 runners across the Mbashe , which was wider than most people had ever seen it . The Walkers were prioritised , so that they could get a head-start on the day , while the rest of the group waited for all the runners to cross , so that we could stick more or less together on the remotest part of the challenge . tracks and short sections of gravel , and it is all completely unmarked . The only advice from race organiser Liam Victor ( a . k . a . Captain Chaos ) is to “ keep the sea on your left .” Accommodation is at four of the best hotels that the Wild Coast has to offer : The Haven , Kob Inn , Seagulls and Crawfords Beach Lodge .
For this year ’ s race , a group of 58 runners , commonly referred to as ‘ the herd ’ and comprising people of varying ages and athletic abilities , travelled from East London to The Haven . The bus journey took longer than anticipated , which ensured that everyone was eager to run back to Chintsa , journeying south over the relatively untouched , unmarked and unsupported route , completing approximately a marathon per day .
Whilst we were all crossing the Mbashe , the water was getting wilder , and one of the kayak paddlers shouted , “ Lots of potholes ,” with a ginormous grin on his face as his boat rocked up and down on the waves that were getting bigger and bigger by the minute . Finally , wet and shivering , the runners set off , ready to put their physical and mental strength to the test . With the rain showing no signs of abating , I realised that we would probably be wet for the entire day . I couldn ’ t recall another time when I had been wet for eight-odd hours , and somehow , the thought was thrilling .
Images : Courtesy RB Africa Wild Coast Challenge
ISSUE 158 | www . modernathlete . co . za The RB Africa Wild Coast Challenge lived up to
its name in 2023 … it was wild and challenging !