After the final long cycle, we arrived to the Doras Nawas luxury camp where we were warmly welcomed and ate a fabulous meal on the roof top by moonlight. Jim and Gregg concluded the evening with congratulatory speeches; we have achieved something huge this week!

We woke up feeling fresh on Friday morning after a good sleep (not in a roll-out!) despite a number of late night celebratory drinks! Then enjoyed a delicious breakfast while watching the sun rise and set off on a game drive. We saw oryx, springboks, ostrich, baboons and lots of elephant poo – but unfortunately no elephants!

Finally our incredible week in Namibia had come to an end and we had a bumpy flight in a charter plane from the luxury camp to Windhoek. Unexpectedly, upset tummies were not a thing of the past just yet!

Farewell Namibia – we’ve had a blast!


Written by : Grace, Scott, Michael & Mark. 

Day six - Wear your big girl's panties, and bring your tears- we'll shed them.

The team woke at 5am for the final day of the challenge. With tired legs, we set off at 6am on our last half marathon run. The first 7k was through a stoney valley, with very little wind which made it warmer than usual. We all found it difficult to get the machine running with the effects of the marathon still being felt. As the team progressed, we passed by a natural spring surrounded by animal prints. The route then opened up and the sun started to shine brighter. We all found it tough given the wear and tear on the bodies at this stage, but made it through to the 21km mark by 9am.

After a rehydration break and a couple of snacks, it was a quick turnaround to begin the cycle section of the day in the burning desert sun. The team set of on a tricky trail with a lot of ups and downs, and even some misdirection. The African elements again provided another challenge as we had to cycle into a strong headwind. The route took us around the Dorros crater. Eventually we made it through and just before lunch there was an impromptu stop to spot a rare Black Rhino. This was a great reminder of the spectacular environment we were in and provided a much needed morale boost.

The team felt refreshed after seeing such an endangered creature and after a quick break for lunch left for the final leg of the journey. More uphills, stoney paths and sand lay in our path but we battled through. There were further animal sightings of zebras and ostriches running on the horizon. With the end in sight, the team powered through the massive 65km cycle finishing as a group with a great welcome from our hosts for the evening. Emotions were running high and celebratory drinks were had, with plenty of hugs and a shared sense of achievement. WE DID IT!!

After a short and rugged drive we arrived at the Dorro Naas luxury camp, and were greeted with singing, dancing and more celebratory drinks. The team were impressed by the accommodation, particularly the real beds and full working showers! The day was finished off with a spectacular rooftop meal in the moonlight. Speeches and thanks were given and a very good time was had by all.

Written by : Lee, Ana, Thomas and Maarten.

Day Five - Wind, Heat & a lot of Running

Part One – Desert Marathon

Today the group pulled themselves up out of bed after a tough day yesterday and began the next leg of the challenge: the desert marathon.  The run began at 6:30am with a brisk walk for the first 2km to stretch out the weary legs whilst the sun was still rising.

The graduates moved into a run as they met the fork in the road which signified the departure from the Brandberg base camp they had spent so long journeying to the previous day.  The group stayed together, bound as a single unit for 14km, with varying ailments and issues being aired and dealt with.  There was a chance sighting of Springbok and Zebras along the way before the group found the water stop within 2 hours.

It was minutes before the water stop was in sight that the whining of helicopter blades could be heard and the graduates were greeted by Jim Ratcliffe, who congratulated them on their achievements so far.  A well deserved refuelling took place before the group set off led by Jim.  Both the pace and the heat upped from this point with temperatures reaching over 40C (with a cooling breeze gratefully present); three distinct groups began to naturally form.  Everyone in every group was counting down the kilometres to the next water stop.

Soon came 22km, 30km and then 36km where the wind died down some and the heat became more apparent.  There were mixed experiences but most were forcing themselves to eat and drink despite the building exhaustion and heat suppressing their appetites.  Dehydration and energy deficiency was a real battle.

At 40km the trail ran through a quartz mining community which had appeared in what seemed the middle of nowhere.  Finally the finish line was in sight and all of the graduates finished the desert marathon on their feet and were cheered in by those who finished before them.

Team spirits were high (although this may have been due to the fact that lunch was being served).  The lunch was delicious, batteries were recharged the group raced to get changed ready for the next step.

Part Two – Bike Through the Messum Crater & River Bed

The graduates pulled their bikes to their feet, and despite tired muscles threw their legs over the saddle, clipping into peddles that by now were all too familiar.  The group set off into extremely tough cycling conditions, with 8km of sharp and jagged rocks beset by sand banks and traps.  There were a few tumbles but everyone picked themselves up and soldiered on to a steep and foreboding incline, one which proved to be worth the effort expended as the graduates were rewarded with beautiful views of the Messum river bed and a long but technical downhill stretch.  This downhill section lasted for 12km before the welcome sight of a water break.

Watered and refuelled the group headed off down a salt-track highway, making up some ground as the wind was in our favour and the previous decline continued.  One particular graduate was lucky enough to have cycled alongside a group of Ostriches during this section!

A last technical downhill ride was had, including a stint across corrugated roads where the graduates crashed over them like jet skis over waves.  Finally the group was welcomed into the Ugab River Valley Save the Rhino Trust Camp and stories were exchanged.

There will be lots of foam rolling and stretching in preparation for the last push tomorrow (and some “awesome” food was had for dinner). A tough but fantastic day, with spirits very high at camp.

Written by Matt, Kasper, Leo and Kevin

Day four - Going down a mountain. How hard can it be?

The day started with the team split into 3 groups: the first group had reached the summit on the first day, the second group reached the final base camp just before dark and the third group camped at the pools 2/3 of the way up. For two teams the descent began at 6 am, however for one group there was still some climbing to do.

The third group had a real mix of experience and confidence, but stayed together through the difficult parts of the descent with plenty of support from the local guide. Keen to get back to base as soon as possible, the team skipped lunch and powered home in record pace. By 2pm the guys were back at base camp for cold beers and a well earned late lunch.

The next team back to camp was the first group, who set off down the mountain at 6 am. After setting off at a rate of knots, a couple of injuries slowed proceedings down a bit, but the guys all kept chatting to keep each other going – even if the quality of conversation was pretty shocking at times! After a hard slog, the team got back at around 3:30 pm.

The final group back to camp was the second group, who had a rude awakening when it sunk in that they still had to reach the summit before they could begin their descent. The stunning views of sunrise atop the highest peak in Namibia made it more than worth the climb. With that out of the way, the team could head down, and set off at a steady pace, making it back just before sunset to a warm welcome from the rest of the guys.

Although a fantastic experience, the mountain was brutal at times, with the steep drops and stifling temperatures keeping everyone on their toes, and we will all be taking home a few blisters to go with the unforgettable memories!

Written by Danielle, Jens, Adam and Andy 

Day three - The Epic Summit.

Some days are about the journey, others about the destination. Today it was both.

After a brutal day yesterday, where the desert threw its worst weather conditions at us, we still managed to set off at 6am today. The plan was to climb the Brandberg, the tallest mountain in Namibia, at 2600m.

We were carrying almost everything we needed for the next two days: food, clothes, sleeping bag, sleeping-mat, and definitely don’t forget the two essentials: toilet paper, and sunscreen! This collection, pre-packed in a big rucksack, was supplemented with 7.5L of water, which was to last us 1.5 days.

We didn’t know what to expect, we knew it wasn’t going to be a Tarmac path, and indeed it was anything but a flat trail. We scrambled over massive boulders and thorny aggressive plants. The presents of quite so many plants and flowers was a surprise to everyone and indeed unusual, due to the particularly wet summer that they had this year (3x their normal annual rain fall). We saw cactuses (including toxic ones) and Aloe Vera, and many different flowers.

The first two hours of the day were in the shade because the sun was hiding behind the mountain. Later in the day the sun really kicked in and we covered ourselves in sun caps and large quantities of suncream!

There are so many stories to tell about what happened today, it is hard to know where to start.

We were in three groups up to lunch time. We worked as a really good teams, supporting each other as we climbed over the challenging terrain. Sometimes we were pushing each other up rocks and other times we were pulling each other up. Everyone exceeded their expectations in what they were able to achieve on the climb up.

We stopped at the Long Pools for lunch, which were filled with drinking water due to the recent rains. We refilled out water bags and our bellies. We were forced to cluster together and hid in a small cave to hide from the sun – this was not a picnic.

Two groups then set off for the summit with a few making camp for the day at the pools. Unfortunately one of our guides, Justice, had badly hurt his knee and was unable to proceed. So Gregg valiantly led the second group on, with John, the other guide leading the first.

The first group shot up and made the summit just before sunset. The second group took a slight less … direct… path!

Gregg followed the guides directions and took us up. We don’t know if it was the guides directions or Gregg’s memory, but we got lost! Two hours after lunch we found ourselves back at almost the same spot! A few more people decided to camp at the pools and Justice came to our rescue, despite his knee, and set us back in the correct path.


Now it was a race against time to make base camp before sundown. From this point onwards there were no more long rest breaks, we had 3 hours to complete a route that was previously estimated to take 4. Everybody put their best foot forward and we made good progress. After 1.5hours John, the local guide appeared – he had come to look for us with an empty rucksac and relieved us of some of the weight from our bags. The sun was starting to set and head torches were necessary to complete the final ascent.

Both groups one and two were really happy to see each other (though for slightly different reasons!). Gregg and Phill had planned a surprise BBQ for us at the tip of the mountain. While group 1 had collected the wood it was Gregg from group 2 who had the means to light the fire!

We are well, and we are now going to sleep well!

Day 3 written by- Hannah and Bart


Day two - Long sharp shock

Started with a casual half marathon at 6am. Beautiful scenery but not so boutique bodies after the spoon treatment (literally a spoon edge run as had as possible into unsuspecting tight muscles). Very luck with a light breeze and some cloud cover…. This was not to remain.

Strong completion before 9am from all led into the bulk of the day. The clouds parted way soon after the start to be replaced by brilliant sunshine and the light breeze gave way to a blowtorch heat, 35 degrees Celsius. What followed was the most arduous 11km of the day and hopefully the trip.

Given conditions, the pace slowed considerably; however this allowed the group to enjoy some of the most wonderful scenery most any of us had ever seen.  Native desert plants, interesting rock deposits and notably both the Messum Crater and Brandberg mountain formed the bulk of the viewing.  Brandberg mountain was certainly a foreboding background for the tough days today and to come.

Heat and distance also gave way to a myriad of minor injuries and poor body conditions.  Cramping ruled the day!  We also had one pretty good fall but we were all laughing by the end.  Two groups finished the day about 30 minutes apart where we were greeted with hot showers and food!

Overall very tough day but very very proud of everyone’s accomplishments thus far.

Plus a Zebra was spotted!

Day 2 written by- Paul, Mitch, Wes and Nick

Day one - The Desert Landing

Today we arrived.

We all first met at Frankfurt airport, where everyone also met the USA grads for the first time. They started travelling 2 days before us from Houston, Texas- a very long trip! Our first long haul flight all together went smoothly- 10 hours through the night to Windhoek, with most people getting at least a couple of hours sleep! We are all now feeling a little bit sleepy- especially after a couple of sundowner beers…

When we arrived at what seemed the worlds smallest international airport (Windhoek), stranded in the middle of the Namibian desert, there was a gaggle of pilots waiting to take us on 7 small prop planes- the smallest plane only seated 4 people! Some people where slightly apprehensive about getting on the planes (Adelle, Floriane and Kevin!) but all went smoothly. A short hour’s flight to the skeleton coast and we had arrived to start our trip proper.

We picked up our mode of transport for the majority of our 350km journey- our mountain bikes- and a quick 38km cycle along a gravel road and we reached our first camp for the night. A great way to warm up, with a breeze behind us pushing us on. Everyone smashed the first leg of the cycling- there was even a push up contest between the boys when we arrived! This camp is glamping at its finest.. With gin and tonics all round, bucket showers, latrine toilets and even our own chefs! We are all very content, but we all have it in the back of our heads that the worst is yet to come….

Heading off for a little half marathon and about 50+km of cycling tomorrow before camping next to the Messum Crater, inland from the Skeleton Coast- wish us luck!

Day 1 written by- Adelle, Will and Florianne


A Note from John Mayock

Dear All,

It is time to take flight to Namibia and get ready for the ultimate adventure…

It has been a pleasure in supporting you every step of the way. I know you are all ready and excited to get those trainers on in readiness to take on the desert challenge.

Enjoy the trip; make sure you work as a team. Remember……no medals, no chip timing or podiums.

I look forward to tracking your daily adventures on the IN NAM Blog.

Enjoy and see you all soon.


10 days to go- a few words from your guides

Gregg and Phill here, checking in after a 16k jog this morning and a 70k mountain bike ride yesterday…

Countdown to D-day is close and sure there are a few nerves about the adventure ahead… With your cumulative training, team spirit and sense of adventure you are all going to blitz Namibia! Hope you are ready for the heat, so don’t forget the SPF50…. And don’t get injured now….!

Your Guides for In Nam ’17- see you soon!

Now that the first marathon hurdles are over... congratulations from HR!

To the graduate Namibia challenge team,

Congratulations to every one of you  in both the USA and Europe for completing your respective marathons. It is a massive achievement and we are very proud of the journey you have all embarked on. Challenges bring out the best in people as they prove you can do things you may not have thought you could do- and in teams such as the team you are all part of, you will be making friends for life built on a mutual journey of individual and team challenge and achievement, along with the inevitable trials and tribulations along the way. Well done to you all, and good luck with the rest of  this incredible journey.


Jill Dolan

on behalf of the In Nam’17 project team

A word from Jim

To the running Grads,


I hear about your training endeavours on a regular basis. Well done. I know it’s not always easy, particularly on a cold winters day, to get your running shorts on!

I know that you have your first marathon in the next two weeks in the USA and Europe. Good luck.

I think for most of you it’s your first marathon. The objective is to finish, not to break any records. Don’t set off like a rocket! Here are a few thoughts which might help and work for me.

I don’t overhydrate immediately before the marathon but always drink the sports drink at the drink stations. You will need to take in this sports drink sugar as the body doesn’t store enough for a full marathon and needs a little topping up.

It gets tough after 30km or 19miles.  But then there is only a 10k to finish!! And you will always manage that.

I take 5 proplus caffeine pills (equivalent to 5 expressos) at 24/25k. Why then? Because the first half marathon is not too bad if you are well trained and if you take something at 25k it kicks in fully at 30k when you really need it and holds pretty much through the finish. Note if you do this skip coffee and tea for 3 days before.

Don’t drink sports drink immediately before a marathon. This has the opposite affect to what you are looking for. Wait until you are running.

Vaseline!!! You can get really sore over 40000 steps!

Don’t carry too much crap. It weighs you down.


Good luck. And don’t forget to enjoy it. Not many people ever attempt a marathon. You are one of the privileged few!


You’ll be fine!!