31 May (Day 6)

Done, all still alive!

Time went by very fast, hard to believe it’s the last day.
We said our last goodbye to the camp crew and the amazing kitchen team. After our marathon yesterday, we started our half marathon at 6 in the morning with perfect conditions and sore legs. Anyhow, a bit of mist and cold weather made the start easier. We showed our team spirit in finishing together!

After a short breakfast we got ready to start the final long ride through the desert. Following the fresh rhino tracks to start the ride carried us to a great lunch stop to refresh and refuel. Getting back on the bike with tired legs and saddle sore was a challenge but we kept the final destination in mind. We spread out through the rocky rolling hills for the second half of the ride but we came back together for the final few kilometers. The corrugations for the final road was tough terrain to end a long ride but the lodge was nearby so we pushed on. We were warmly welcomed by the crew and hotel staff and rounds of congratulations were exchanged. We headed immediately for drinks and a hop in the pool. Honestly, the best beer of our lives.

Thank you to the crew, we couldn’t have done it without you. You made this incredible journey possible. Thanks to everyone following this blog and commenting, you lifted our spirits on the tough times.

INNAM 2024 Complete ♥️

-Nico, Thomas, Alessandro and Meaghan representing the INNAM 2024 Team


30 May (Day 5)

Preparations for the marathon started the night before with a stretching session and carb loading on spaghetti. Shorts and tank tops were traded for long pants and sweaters as the coastal wind brought cooler air and mist to the desert. A good omen for things to come. After spending the previous night on top of the Brandberg, sleeping at base camp felt like a 5-star hotel.

The early birds got started at 5 am, while the rest of the group took off an hour later. Armed with head torches we walked into the darkness until daylight. During the first portion of the marathon we were shielded from the sun by a thick desert mist. This made the first leg of the marathon more enjoyable than anticipated. Both teams maintained a decent pace. Led by legendary marathoner, Chris, a few of the later group caught up to the early birds. The sun finally broke through as the battered muscles tried to keep pace. The landscape was lined with rocks and sand as far as the eye could see. No bushes, no trees, nowhere to hide. The path through the last 7k was filled with deep sand along a gradual hill. Finally, the sight of the white trucks signaled that the end was near. Everyone finished in time for a tasty lunch.
With full bellies, we cracked on with a 30k (mostly) downhill ride. This was a good break for painful knees and tired muscles. The rough terrain required technical cycling skills and constant focus. To protect us from the gusty headwind, the group formed a peloton and rode into Rhino Camp together. The celebration kicked off with high fives and well deserved drinks to wrap up Day 5.

-Wim, Christophe and Daniela

28 May & 29 May (Day 3 and Day 4)

The Brandberg…
As the last two days were very hot, we “meaning Phill” decided that we would leave 1 hour early at 5 AM. Starting in the dark at a really fast pace, made the first kms really challenging. An early puff adder sighting had us all on our toes. At our first stop we enjoyed refreshments and a beautiful sunrise. The views were stunning as we watched the camp slowly get further away. The climb was hard but the wonderful food and encouragement from our guides kept us going strong. Because the group worked so well together we were able to make very good progress. Since we arrived at our checkpoints so early we decided to change the initial plan and make the first day a bit tougher to try to go further on the first day than any other IN-NAM trip before. Along the way, our amazing guides showed us many cave paintings made over 1,000 years ago. We also were excited and a little nervous to see fresh leopard tracks near one stop point. After a strong push, we made the summit at around 14h30. We enjoyed the amazing views, celebrated together, and then started the journey back. Our new itinerary had us going all the way back to Longi Pools to camp. It was a long day as we didn’t arrive until about 18h00 – 13 hours of hiking under our belt. An important part of our trip was the concept of “Leave no Trace” – an interesting challenge with a lack of restroom facilities – but we worked it out. When we arrived, we all settled in to have dinner and a surprise. Sleeping under the stars next to a blazing fire was a fantastic experience. The group wished upon the falling stars they saw for another amazing day.

The night was short but restful sleeping on the stony riverbed. Coffee and cereal got us up and on our way at 06h00. The descent was hard, but once we saw the camp our spirits were lifted and we picked up our pace. The only thing that slowed us down was a “necessary” coffee break. We happily arrived back to camp at around 11h30 just in time for lunch. After a shower and some cold beverages, everyone celebrated a job well done!
PS: Dans La vie, il y a des cactus, aïe aïe aïe, ouïlle !

27 May (Day 2)

We didn’t have a great nights sleep. We had some snoring (not mentioning any names), trips to the bathroom and other interruptions. We started the day at 4:30AM for our first half marathon. Stopped at 7k to see the sunrise and grab a quick snack (Farbar was a personal favorite). We then ran the next 10k as a group, with the group split into pairs with each pair pacing a kilometer, the final 4k saw the group split up and finish the half marathon individually. To mention the weather again, according to the ever-reassuring Patrick – one of our superb guides – it was 29 degrees by 8:15!

For the next activity of the day we transitioned to the bikes after the half marathon and started the 30k ride to camp at the base of the Brandberg. We faced a stiff headwind most of the ride and endured a mix of gravel and deep sand, which we had hoped we’d seen the last of yesterday – no such luck. Turns out the desert is pretty sandy.

Special mention to Alexis whose birthday is today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Jacob, Reed, Fran and Alexis

25 & 26 May (Day 1)

After a few travel issues, we were treated to a free pizza in Johannesburg hotel which made the day.

Arrived in Walvis Bay the next morning and felt the heat for the first time – melting. Met the team on the ground and set off to the Cape Cross Lodge. The vastness of the surrounding area on the drive was impressive!

The first panic set in when we arrived at the Lodge and tried cycling in the sand for the first time – at least falling in the sand was also practised…

The first challenge was not to drown in the Atlantic – but it was worth the risk. Before dinner, some ventured out to find the seals (unsuccessful) while others enjoyed the Man Utd win!

We tried Oryx for dinner and cheered to some motivational speeches from Phil and Pat.

Day 1 – Hardest IN NAM Day 1 ever according to the guides.
Set off for a 67k ride in the cold morning fog through the lychen fields. The paved road finished quickly but the transition was nice to a hard paved flat path for the first 20k. Things turned quickly after that…. Easterly headwinds brought temperatures of 40 degC with the first uphill and deep sand. After struggling through, everyone arrived at a shockingly impressive camp between 3-4pm to some cold drinks and lunch.

Although tired, we still have a lot of Grit in our shoes, Rigour in our souls and hope you are all laughing at us.

With love and in pain,
Yours faithfully sun-burnt,
Pavel, Angela, Thor, Fernando and Darrin.