Adventure racing, often in the form of extreme running, is extremely popular in Namibia. Races vary in length, challenge and region but are generally for adventurous residents and tourists looking to push physical limits.
Below is a list of the top adventure races:
The Rock Spitzkoppe Community Run and Mountain Bike Challenge is a very popular event on the Namibian sporting calendar. It is held in September every year, and there are various running, walking and cycling races.
There is a 5 km, 10 km and 21 km run/walk whilst mountain bikers can participate in the 35 km or 70 km mountain bike race. The event celebrates the natural beauty of the Spitzkoppe and surroundings, and proceeds go to the local community.
100km of Namib Desert
The Namib Desert 100 km marathon takes place in the Namib Desert in Southern Namibia. There are four stages to this race. The first stage takes place during the evening and covers a distance of 15 km’s. The second stage is a half marathon (21 km’s). The third stage covers the distance of a full marathon (42 km’s). The fourth and final stage covers a distance of 26 km’s and runners run over some of the highest dunes in the world. This event exposes runners to extreme conditions such as sandstorms, strong winds, blistering heat during the day and freezing temperatures at night. It takes place during December in the Sossusvlei area.
Namib Desert Race Challenge
Regarded as one of the toughest footraces on earth, this race covers 250 km of inhospitable desert terrain. This ultra-marathon takes place over seven days and six stages. Competitors are expected to carry their survival kit and food. The race takes place in the Namib Desert in the Erongo region and within the Namib-Naukluft National Park and finishes on the shoreline close to Swakopmund, the host town for the event. Up to 150 competitors from more than 140 countries participate. Walkers can also participate.
Namibian 24-hour Ultra Marathon
The race is over 126 km, starting at the foot of the Brandberg and finishing at Jakkalsputz at the coast, crossing large areas of the most hostile desert coastline in the world, the Skeleton Coast. The race usually takes place in April.
Lucky Star Marathon
The marathon takes place every year in October between the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. It has evolved to now cater for cyclists as well. The distance for runners is 105 km’s, and for mountain bikers, there is a 21 km race and a 5 km kiddies fun ride. Through this race, the organisers aim to promote community involvement and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle among Namibia’s youth. Consequently, significant focus is placed on involving schools across the country.
Old Mutual Victory Race Series
This race takes place in Windhoek and the surrounding area. There are three categories: 5 km’s, 10 km’s and 21 km’s. It is held in August every year.
Aussenkehr Desert Extreme Trail Run
This three-day 100 km desert run takes runners along the banks of the Orange River, into the mountain country of Namibia, across the harsh plateaus and through ancient and enchanting canyons. It is usually held from the end of June to the beginning of July.
Fish River Ultra
The route of this marathon provides runners with two options. There is a 65 km and a 100 km option. Both versions of this marathon are unsupported, and competitors are expected to cover the distance in the designated 24-hour period.