Top Contenders for the Namib Race 2020

The 2020 edition of the Namib Race gets underway in the oldest desert in the world on Sunday, 26 April. Let´s take a look at the figures:
  • There are 25 different countries represented in the race.
  • Japan is the most represented country with Team AHO returning for another race. The next most represented countries are the United States, closely followed by the United Kingdom and then Germany. We also have competitors from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Republic of Korea, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey and United Arab Emirates and or the first time we have a competitor representing Zimbabwe.
  • The field is made up of 65% men and 35% women.
  • By age groups, the runners are distributed as follows:
    • 29 years or under: 12%
    • 30-39: 17%
    • 40-49: 38%
    • 50-59: 20%
    • 60-69: 1%
    • 70 or above: 1%

Some of these athletes are at the Namib Race for the experience, challenge, fun, adventure, travel and friendships they will make, and all the amazing experiences these races entail. But others are there to push themselves and are looking for a podium finish. We have lots of new runners to RacingThePlanet so this year the favourites are hard to predict.

Competitors to watch this year are:


Ben Dame (Germany)

Terumichi Morishita (Japan)

Rafael Fuchsgruber (Germany)

Nyikolaj Roskovics (Hungary)



Angeles Barrios (Spain)

Anim Swart (Canada)

Tanja Schönenborn (Germany)

Victoria Connelly (UK)

Top Contenders for the Namib Race 2020

For the men, Ben Dame joins us for the sixth time at a RacingThePlanet / 4 Deserts Race. He has previously placed 3rd overall in the Atacama Crossing 2018 and at the Gobi March (China) 2017 he came in 2nd (missing out on 1st place by less than one minute!) Terumichi Morishita comes with an impressive record of ultramarathon results having won the championship in Okinawa survival race four times and holds the course-record. He has an impressive finishing time for 100k of 8:46:33, 24 hour race he completed 231km and in 2018 finished 69th in UTMF. He will no doubt find himslef on the podium this, his Grand Slam year. Rafael Fuchsgruber from Germany is always in the mix and has earned a podium place in three of his six RacingThePlanet ultras. However, he comes to the Namib Race 2020 after a period of injury. Nyikolaj Roskovics returns for his 3rd RacingThePlanet ultramarathon and starts his campaign in Namibia at the start of his Grand Slam Plus year. He has previously placed 3rd at the Gobi March (Mongolia) 2019 and 5th at the Namib Race 2018.

In the women's division there is likely to be a battle for the podium between Anim Swart and Angeles Barrios following on from their 3rd and 4th place finishes in the Gobi March 2019. Anim lost out that time, but she has been training hard and this year is taking on the Grand Slam Plus challenge. Tanja Schönenborn from Germany finished 2nd at the Atacama Crossing in 2019 and has shown amazing progress since turning her hand to ultra running. However, she has had an ankle sprain during training for the race. Vicki Connelly from the United Kingdom is likely to be in the mix following on from her 2nd place finish at the Atacama Crossing 2018.

Others to watch include this year's Grand Slam and Grand Slam Plus competitors, of which we have an amazing eleven contenders: John Bezou, Beth Whitman, Shmuel Itah, Ahmed Al Katheeri, Alexander Flynn, Terumichi Morishita, Rena Mutaguchi, Anim Swart, Michael Williams, Nyikolaj Roskovics and Alexis Sovok.

We have six teams competing in this year’s team category with Team AHO teams and Team Gurken from Austria / Turkey.

A special mention needs to be made for the following people:

  • Koji Oku (Japan) is our oldest competitor at the age of 71 years. He tells us he still enjoys travelling the world and running in beautiful places.
  • Shmulik Itah (Israel) is joining us in the Namib Race for the second time. In 2018, he completed the race and was attempting to complete the Grand Slam that year. He also completed the Gobi March but, unfortunately, due to an ankle injury at the Atacama Crossing, he had to withdraw from the rest of the series. Sam is now returning in 2020 to attempt to complete the Grand Slam Plus.
  • Ahmed Al Katheeri (United Arab Emirates) is not just hoping to be the first competitor from the United Arab Emirates to complete a RacingThePlanet ultramarathon - he's taking on all five races this year in the Grand Slam Plus.
  • Mabassa Mubatapasango (Zimbabwe) is our competitor representing Zimbabwe but a resident in Namibia. He fell in love with the race whilst working on satellite communications at the Namib Race 2017. Since then, he returned as a volunteer and is now realizing his dream of competing.
  • Jonathan Raymond (United Kingdom) will be become a 4 Deserts Club member following his race in Namibia, having previously completed all of the races in the 4 Desert Ultramarathon Series.
  • Alex Flynn (United Kingdom) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2008 at the age of 36. Despite the initial setback, his diagnosis became the catalyst in his life for showing people the possibility of creating positive change in the face of adversity. In 2020, he has taken on the challenge to complete the Grand Slam Plus.

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