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Namib Race Blogs 2019

View All Posts 2019 From : Dan Parr

Last Night in the Desert

03 May 2019 06:23 pm (GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria

Hi there sports fans!

 

As a wise man once said ‘the fat lady isn’t singing, but she’s waiting in the wings gargling Listerine’ – or words to that effect.  The last full day is done and tomorrow its 10km downhill to a cold beer and a pizza.  Hurrah!

 

Today was magnificent.  We had 20 easy kms to start with and then hit the dunes in a big way.  Section 3 was 9km through the most magnificent sand dunes with epic views out to the Atlantic.  It really was spectacular.  Florian and I kept each other company for the first 2 sections but once we got to the dunes he ‘opened his legs and showed his class’, to quote the great David Coleman. On that topic, there’s a great Russian lad in the race and he’s had some serious chafing issues ‘downstairs’.  His solution today was to cut his shorts open at the crotch and let the sea breeze soothe his nether regions.  This clearly worked as he finished strongly but I think the volunteers manning the check points got a bit of shock each time he sat down and they got a full views of his tackle.  Might have helped keep the lions at bay as well…

 

Anyway, I digress.  Florian was incredible in the dunes.  He quickly put 10-15 mins into me, running the entire section as I staggered around in the sand.  He’s a proper athlete and it’s been a pleasure to watch him at work.  As we made polite chitchat this morning (my GCSE French has been fully tested this week n’est pas?) he mentioned that he’s doing a 100km race in 6 weeks.  When I asked what sort of time he is aiming for he casually said ‘sept heures’.  7 f****ing hours for 100km!!!! that’s about 14km per hour!  I challenge you all to get on a treadmill, crank it up to 14km/hr and imagine doing that for 7 hours.  Good luck.

 

So as Florian disappeared into the sandy distance I thought I had a relaxed run to the finish for 2nd place.  Not to be.  Salvador from Spain appeared behind me just after the final checkpoint and it quickly became apparent that he was gunning for my 2nd position on the stage.  He’s way back in the overall standings so it actually made  no difference if he’d finished ahead of me but pride (and ego) is a powerful motivator.  Net result is that the final 10km was basically a road race between me Salvador, neither of us prepared to concede, or suggest we run in together (he’s also 57 years old and there’s no bloody way I was going to be beaten by a pensioner!) So Spanish matador and English bull went thrust for thrust until I eventually dropped him (terrible metaphor, apologies).  It certainly kept the last section competitive.

 

And so we are at the final camp on the beach.  It’s at a weird fishermen’s camp – imagine a cross between a post-apocalyptic Butlins, and the hotel from the Shining.  Amanpullo it is not, but it does have fully-functional, Thomas Crapper- designed lavatories which after shitting in a Portaloo/sauna for a week, is the height of luxury. 

 

One more night in a tent, one more freeze-dried dinner, one more plastic bag of porridge, and 10km, and then it’s back to civilization. Consequently this is my last in-race blog.  Thanks for all the messages and comments of support, all greatly appreciated.  And let’s not forget that we’re raising funds for the fantastic charity that is SPARKS so if any of you tight buggers haven’t donated on my Justgiving page, then get on with it!!

 

Katy, Milo, Tid, Clem – can’t wait to see you all for a big hug (watch out for my toes though!!)

 

Until next time sports fans (erm…, there is no next time)

 

Dan

 

PS - Zoological note for today and a correction; the amazing walvitcha plant can live up to 1000 years, not 100. Amazing, don’t you think?

Comments: Total (4) comments

Ben Phillips

Posted On: 04 May 2019 11:39 pm

Great post mate. Loved reading it and sounds like you’ve had a great time, which is weird considering what you’ve been up to. Enjoy the final 10k and then celebrate in style - I have no doubt you will. Slightly in awe of what you’ve done but will never say that to your face, obviously. 😉

Kirsty Hulme

Posted On: 04 May 2019 03:12 pm

Our favourite blog so far. Fantastic commentary Dan. I think by now you’ve probably finished. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

Todd Handcock

Posted On: 04 May 2019 01:52 am

Loving the posts Dan. That “tackle” commentary was hilarious! Enjoy the final downhill.

All at Mitchels

Posted On: 03 May 2019 05:24 pm

Will miss the addiction to the Racing the Planet website, but very relieved that you’ve managed to dodge the lions and end the race in one piece...fantastic result DP. So proud. Will raise a glass to you tomorrow! Maybe the 4th be with you!! XXX
84km of slightly uphill, baking hot, blister-enducing terrain.

02 May 2019 12:30 pm (GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria

Hi there sports fans!

 

Thank Christ that is over.  84km of slightly uphill, baking hot, blister-enducing terrain.  Finished in slightly under 9 hrs which I am pretty happy about. 

 

Florian was a true gent today.  He ran well within himself for the entire stage and basically towed me around the course.  I tucked in right behind him and he kept up a great pace to get me around.  He waited at a few checkpoints for me and helped me out with a gel when I had a serious wobble.  At any stage he could have put the hammer down and put another couple of hours into me but he was generous enough to trot along with me.  Top man.

 

The stage was through the arid red Namib Desert, a truly remarkable environment.  It’s a miracle anything can live here as it’s so desolate but apparently there is lots about.  We spotted a couple of springbok bounding across the plain looking a lot more sprightly than I was feeling, and the jackals were sneaking about.  No lions yet.  There are also these extraordinary plants called walvitcha which look like something out of Day of the Triffids.  We were told to keep an eye out for these ancient plants (some over a hundred years old) and I was expecting something pretty scrawny but the walvitcha are huge sprawling things which are quite sinister, especially when you come across one in the middle of a totally arid desert.  Very odd.

 

Today is a rest day so we’re in camp in the desert.  Most of the field finished during the night and the final finisher, Mr Fung from HKG with one leg (that’s not a gag by the way, he really does have a prosthetic leg – bloody incredible bloke), came in this morning, taking well over twice what it took Florian and I.  The camp looks like a cross between Auschwitz and the Ministry of Funny Walks; lots of very skinny people hobbling around with wooden legs and fvcked toes. Along with the atrocious outfits doing the rounds, it’s a fairly horrific combo.  If you were enjoying your honeymoon safari in Namibia and happened upon our camp, you’d be terrified!

 

Anyway, we just have to last today and then we have a casual 40km through the sand dunes tomorrow.  Hooray! You know your world has got a bit weird when a marathon through the sand dunes is considered a fairly easy day.

 

Thanks to everyone for the messages and comments, it’s great to hear from the rest of civilisation.

 

Love to all and I’ll check in again tomorrow

 

Dan

Comments: Total (10) comments

Matt Pocock

Posted On: 03 May 2019 12:29 am

Well done Dan, brilliant effort and now the long day is over, the end is in sight. Although an encounter with some lions would make your last blog post a lot more entertaining. Maybe you should try and hung them out? Keep going buddy and enjoy that ice cold beer at the end.

The Wainwrights

Posted On: 03 May 2019 12:20 am

Epic work Dan. Your blogs are worthy of a wider readership - the story developing with you and the Swiss bloke would definitely knock Mo Farah and company off the back page! (And good to see that the organisers agree - they used your entire blog as their last newsletter!) Those guys at Sparks are very lucky to have you flying the flag for them. All your Sports Fans are look forward to hearing about the Dash Through The Dunes, including the by-now-mandatory wildlife update....

Ant Davies

Posted On: 02 May 2019 11:01 pm

Mr Parr - your running is almost as good as your blog.. 84k in those conditions in under 9 hrs without being chased by lions? impressive. Full respect, that is an awesome performance. Cold beer awaits. AD

christele fleury

Posted On: 02 May 2019 07:17 pm

Dan, I don't know you but you've made my last 4 days! I follow the race and Christophe Santini, as I ran with him the New Zealand race in March 2019...or, to be more accurate, we were on the same race and he ran ahead. I guess you're happy to be almost done but that makes me really sad: I'm gonna miss your blog, it is just brilliant, it makes me laugh so hard and reminds me all good (and bad) memories from New Zealand and the craziness of these races Thank you for sharing, wish you the very best til the finish line. Congrats already for your amazing performance!

Bunty, Ratty and Mole

Posted On: 02 May 2019 05:32 pm

Wait for us......

Kirsty Hulme

Posted On: 02 May 2019 03:44 pm

Amazing Dan. Great to hear you and Florian supporting each other. He probably needed you as much as you him. I found myself Googling the Walvitcha tree. Freakish! Enjoy some downtime. Pull on some compression tights to help with some muscle recovery in the break. Love the blog.

Emily Addison

Posted On: 02 May 2019 02:43 pm

I mean I am literally in awe of your brilliance, sheer guts, bravery and determination. You are doing amazingly! Well done you. Keep going my lovely friend............... AMAZING xxxx

Stevie Moore

Posted On: 02 May 2019 02:42 pm

Well done Danny Boy...very impressive. I must say I was a little disappointed to read you finished 'the long march' together. Good on him for helping you out, but how about tomorrow you trip him over, rub sand in his eyes, nick his water, and try and make up that hour deficit...given you new found friendship, he'll never expect it? Loving following you through this, not sure how many times i have hit 'refresh' on the page to wait for the blog and updates etc. Cant imagine just how tough it really is. I get exhausted just getting out of a bunker... V proud of you Danny Boy, cant wait to hear more tomorrow. Stevie

David Beckett

Posted On: 02 May 2019 12:17 pm

Absolutely phenomenal! Have no idea how you do it, especially with those ridiculous times. Love the blog. As usual far too humble. Keep going buddy.

The Elsons

Posted On: 02 May 2019 11:33 am

Go Dan! You've made us all very emotional crossing the line together. So impressed you are smashing it yet again in true Parr style. Just one more day to go and as you say - just a piddly marathon in the desert. Go go! Loving the updates and the wildlife chat. Enjoy, stay safe and see you back in HK soon!
Stage 3 - A Cracking Day

30 April 2019 05:48 pm (GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria

Hi there sport fans!

 

A cracking stage today and I felt like we got into ‘Namibia proper’. The 1st section took us onto the famous Skeleton Coast and we had to run along the beach which was bloody hard work but was worth it to be in such a stunning environment. 

 

The coast is completely wild and desolate – amazing to run in – and plenty to look at and keep your mind off the running.  One of the check points was at an old wreck site and we also ran through a huge seal colony which for a geeky zoologist like me was wonderful.  They are cape fur seals and it was quite an experience to see them all, “fousands of ‘em”, as Michael Caine would say.  They weren’t too fussed about us so you could get quite close, that’s if you could bear the smell.  Turns out that the cape fur seal is the only thing in Namibia which smells worse than my race t-shirt, and that honks!

 

My main achievement of today was to actually keep Florian in sight for most of the stage.  That’s primarily down to 2 factors:

1-      Visibility along the beach and across the final section was about 10km so I could see miles ahead!

2-      On the last section I was really struggling to see the marker flags (as the wind was blowing them directly towards to me) so I had to keep him in sight otherwise I was buggered!  Amazing what the fear of being lost in the desert does for your motivation!

 

I did have an early chance to steal a march on the leader but my Britishness got in the way.  Early in the first section Florian wasn’t too far ahead and I saw him heading off in the wrong direction.  Before I could help myself, I politely called out and suggested he went the correct way.  Opportunty gone.  Being honest, he could get lost for hours and still win it!

 

The last section into camp was tough today.  As we came off the beach we turned directly into a vicious headwind and were instructed to run 11kms straight into it across a barren, featureless plain.  It was horrible and the wind was like cross between a very hot hairdryer and a pebble-dashing machine as the sand and grit was whipped into your face.  Misery.

 

So tomorrow is the Long March – 80kms through the Namib Desert in the interior of Namibia.  Its going to be a scorcher!

 

Thanks to everyone for the messages and emails – lovely to hear from you all – and I’ll check in some time tomorrow I hope!

 

Love to all

Dan

Comments: Total (14) comments

Victoria Parr

Posted On: 02 May 2019 07:12 am

Absolutely fantastic DP! It brought a tear to my eye to see the pic of you crossing the line together - we’re ridiculously proud of you! Can’t wait to read the next blog!

Kirsty Hulme

Posted On: 02 May 2019 03:37 am

What an amazing day Dan. Just sounds incredible. Keep up that phenominal pace and looks as though your hot on Florians heels. Can't imagine he's enjoying the heat. Thinking of you every day and had a lovely day out on a junk with Katy and kids yesterday. Everyone on great form and lots of chat about Daddy. Big hugs from all of us.

Nick Metson

Posted On: 01 May 2019 11:59 pm

Great blog Dan. Long day now done. Now you can start to think about the ice cold Windhoek lager that must surely be waiting at the finish... Best wishes for the remaining stages. Nick Metson

Dani and Tim Flower

Posted On: 01 May 2019 08:03 pm

We are following you every step of the way, this is getting incredibly exciting! Did you run across the finish line of the last stage holding hands with the Swiss youngster? Looks like you're getting stronger every day and will leave him in your wake in the final days :) . We are willing you on and sending you some extra spring in that mighty step of yours. Love Dani, Tim, Mia, Lucas, Xander and Rocky xxx

Nick Parr

Posted On: 01 May 2019 02:46 pm

Keep going Bruv - we’re all willing you on as best we can with our thoughts. Long March out of the way by the time you read this - all down hill from here. Xx

William Fairclough

Posted On: 01 May 2019 10:43 am

Danny Boy, Keep up the amazing work. The Cluff team are following your every step and are right behind you. You're doing an incredible job and as someone who knows a thing or two about getting lost in deserts, you know full well just how easy it is to, well, get lost in the desert. Whilst I have complete confidence in your ability to navigate (picking up tips from the local wildlife if need be), I'm not so sure about this Swiss chap... You're right in this! By the time you read this you'll have finished the big stage. I hope you're feeling strong for the final push. The boys all say hi. W

Rob Aarvold

Posted On: 01 May 2019 07:44 am

Amazing effort Starsky! Loving the updates, although slightly in awe / concerned about the 85km schlepp today. Head down and tempo up; but don’t forget to enjoy some of the scenery as you sneak up on the Swiss whippet. Cheering you on over a cold beer back in SG.

Victoria Parr

Posted On: 01 May 2019 06:42 am

All the family are rooting for you, DP! We’re all so proud - you’re doing fantastically well! Take great care and keep your eye on the flags! XXXX

James & Emma Redmayne

Posted On: 01 May 2019 02:12 am

Well done you geeky zoologist - incredible effort though slightly disappointed by your British sense of fair play. Sending that rather rapid Swiss bloke on a 20km detour might have made it interesting. Good luck in the long march tomorrow - Team Redmayne cheering you on in awe. All the best, Readers, Emma, Bella, Leo, Eloise, Boris and Doris

Ant Davies

Posted On: 01 May 2019 01:10 am

Dan - your britishness will win the day. Plenty of time to reel in Florian on the long day. Awesome effort, keep it going. Love the blog - BBC have been looking for a successor to David Attenborough for a while - AD

Alfie Nicholson (aged 6)

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 11:35 pm

Dan - you are quite good at this race. It is a long time for you so you are one of the best. If you see a lion please run faster and get your best time. If you overtake him run straight to the flags. Then you can build a sandcastle at the end! Alfie (ps. Love your daily blog!)

Ben Phillips

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 07:14 pm

A jackal yesterday, seal colony today - plenty to keep a budding (or ageing) zoologist like you happy. Sounds like an amazing day today. Well done mate. And good luck for the long one tomorrow.... dig deep and keep going.

Dani and Tim Flower

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 07:01 pm

This is so incredible and inspiring to read... we are willing you on Danny Boy - keep going!!!

Dani and Tim Flower

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 07:01 pm

This is so incredible and inspiring to read... we are willing you on Danny Boy - keep going!!!
Stage 2 - Def feel better today than I did yesterday

29 April 2019 07:09 pm (GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria

Hi there sports fans!

 

Thanks to everyone for the messages, great to hear from you all.

 

Good news is that I haven’t seen a lion – yet.  Tomorrow we are due to run through the seal colony – aka the lions’ smorgasboard – so there is still a chance. 

 

Today was a relatively short day – 34km – and I got through it okay.  Def feel better today than I did yesterday which given that we ran 10km less than yesterday, is just as well. We ran through some mars-like landscapes today which was very cool but is all runnable which is great in some respects but I have a new-found respect for road marathon runners; it’s just a case of head down and trying to get into a rhythm – not easy with soft sand, salt flats, and funny crusty mud, but no hills to give some respite from churning away.  Anyway, it’s not supposed to be easy is it?!

 

Camp is an amazing spot on the Skeleton Coast, behind some massive dunes. It’s also warm, which is a result.  The last couple of camps have been cold – not what I had in mind.  Thank god for the mandatory kit list; having scoffed at the requirement to bring woolly hat, I’ve worn it every night; I look like Benny Hill in  pair of tights.  Maybe I should consider panto?

 

For the zoologists amongst you (admittedly that’s mainly Rapid) there’s a jackal hanging around camp which is pretty cool.  I haven’t actually seen any other living creature on the course – including the leader as he is facking miles ahead!

 

Tomorrow is a  marathon up the coastline which will be hard graft but hopefully lots to see to take one’s mind off the pain!  Wish me luck.

 

Sending lots of love to 6A2 and speak to you all tomorrow (lions notwithstanding)

 

Dan

Comments: Total (10) comments

Mungo Mccosker

Posted On: 01 May 2019 07:15 am

Keep your piss clear

Dom Perret

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 01:42 pm

Great first 3 days DP. Strong work - very impressive. Enjoying the blogs and following your progress. Every day getting slightly closer to the Swiss machine - I reckon the second half is yours. Keep going champ. Dom

Katy, Milo, Tiddle, Clemmie Parr

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 12:23 pm

Dannyboy, 6A2 sending masses of love and cheering you on!! You are brilliantly, we are all so proud. Loving the nature updates, hilarious Jackal is there in person. We saw a bamboo viper today. Hoping the long day is really hot so your superpowers will be out in force melting the Swiss guy! Know you can do it! Love from us all xxxx

Rafe and Izzy Archer-Perkins

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 10:56 am

Try not to be eaten by lions (if you do see some please take a photo). And good luck tomorrow. From Rafe You are doing really well. I do not think my daddy could run that far. Please try and come first. From Izzy Dan, Izzy and Rafe and Tom running altogether. From Tom (2).

Peter Lee

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 09:52 am

Good going chief. Getting a nice little cushion over 3rd place. Although not as good a cushion as the one I'm sat on right now. Glad to hear that my hat is getting some use. Have you managed to use the ponytail hole in it? Awaiting more posts from you Benny Hill.

Stephen Moore

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 08:59 am

Well done Danny Boy!! glad to hear you're feeling better, now suck it up and go catch the Swiss dude...he's got nothing on you mate.

Kirsty Hulme

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 08:30 am

Brilliant Dan! Sounds like your coherent enough to take in the surroundings and scenery at least enough to know there's no carnivores chasing you. Photos are stunning. Love the updates. The Hulmes

Family Wainwright

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 08:26 am

Should be a belter of a day up the beach today Danny Boy, so enjoy, don't stop to cuddle the seals, and see if you can start reeling in the Swiss version of Mo Farah up ahead. Well done so far champ, great to follow your progress, hoping the wind is at your back today, and sending lots of love from all the Wainwrights.

Samantha Fanshawe

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 08:06 am

Dan you are kicking arse out there. If I only read your blog and didn't know the results I would think you are somewhere towards the tail end of the field. Turns out you are 2nd - and only 30 minutes behind the Swiss which means nothing when it comes to the Long March. Glad you got to meet Dr. Philip - he comes to Hong Kong to talk most years look out for him when you're back in your comfortable bed.

vatche mundigian

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 06:49 am

Well done Danny boy, I think you are safe as houses from the Lions, you might make a decent toothpick at best. Shorter race but you are a lot closer to number 1 spot. Keep going an well done!
Stage 1, The Symphony of Life

28 April 2019 08:00 pm (GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria

Hi there sports fans!

 

So day 1 in the Namib Desert is complete! And it was pretty tough. We did a cheeky 43kms through some of the most desolate and inhospitable terrain I have ever run through, but also very beautiful. I have also learnt a few things today:

 

1 – Eight years is a long time between desert ultras.  Although I got through okay, the last 10kms were horrible.  The chap leading is a machine and I foolishly tried to keep up early on.  The first section was quick and I paid for it big time in the last section, shuffling along praying the finish to come (the finish line, not the end of my days – although that also crossed my mind)

 

2 – There are lions in the Namib Desert. I got chatting to a wonderful old boy called Philip who is driving around in a safari truck with an aerial poking out of the top.  On further discussion it turns out he is tracking the Namib lions to make sure for they don’t get too close. Good news is that they kill and eat the seals on the beach rather than chasing other prey, which is a bit like learning someone has left the tuck shop unlocked.  Hopefully a fat, stationary seal, is more appealing than a skinny 42 year old.  We’ll soon find out.

 

We’re now on the legendary Skeleton Coast which is magnificent.  We’ve already seen a couple of wrecks (not just the back markers) and hopefully we will see a few more as we head up the beach tomorrow (and no lions).  Keep your fingers crossed.

 

Sending 6A2 much love and speak to you tomorrow sports fans!

 

Dan

Comments: Total (13) comments

CHARLES DUMAS

Posted On: 01 May 2019 06:14 am

Well done mate... keep going and good luck today, sounds like it could be a tough one!!!

Olly Stratton

Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 01:55 am

Great job so far Dan! Not far to go so you can up the pace a bit now.... All the best and look forward to seeing you back in Hong Kong

The Elsons

Posted On: 29 Apr 2019 01:56 pm

Go on my son Keep eating and injury free You’ve got this

Kirsty Hulme

Posted On: 29 Apr 2019 01:02 pm

Sounds brutal, beautiful and sandy all at the same time. Thinking of you Dan. Love the updates

CHARLES DUMAS

Posted On: 29 Apr 2019 12:30 pm

Amazing work Daniel.... very impressive stuff! The last time I was there it involved a bit more beer and fishing for sharks from the beach so i'd advise against swimming too if it gets a bit hot!! Keep going and good luck!

Nick Wainwright

Posted On: 29 Apr 2019 12:15 pm

Rock solid first two days DP - right up there and good to see you’ve still got the wheels after nearly a decade out! Keen following from all at East Sussex Lane, and kids particularly keen to get any wildlife updates.... Great to read about it and we will be following every update so keep the blogs going if you’ve got the energy!

Ben Phillips

Posted On: 29 Apr 2019 11:27 am

Keep it up mate. Thinking of you. Keep us posted with any further zoological reports.

Stevie Moore

Posted On: 29 Apr 2019 08:51 am

Solid start Dan, dont worry about Florian, he'll fade. He also looks like a better meal for the Lions, so leave him up ahead. Wont miss a footstep.... Stevie

Hamish Miers

Posted On: 29 Apr 2019 08:05 am

Wonderful effort mate. Keep on going and i think your smell alone after two days of running ought to keep the lions away!

Sara Calvert

Posted On: 29 Apr 2019 07:40 am

Amazing Stage 1 Mr P! Very proud of you. I popped in to 6A2 and kept the boss company so all good on that front. Much love from VG & HK and stay away from the lions. Good luck today Xxx

vatche mundigian

Posted On: 28 Apr 2019 11:29 pm

well done Dan! what an amazing start and i am sure you have the measure of the pack now as well.......just dont get lost this time.

Will Orgee

Posted On: 28 Apr 2019 08:00 pm

You are a machine Parr. Keep flying the flag for us old timers..

Holly Millward

Posted On: 28 Apr 2019 06:57 pm

Incredible work! Philip sounds like a jolly chap.... seal of approval etc. Good luck tomorrow! X