Counting Down – 44 Days to the Start of the Last Desert Race in Antarctica

Talking Antarctica with Braam Malherbe…

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Braam Malherbe is an extreme adventurer, conservationist, author of the best seller, “The Great Run”, and most importantly, he has been to Antarctica…

I had the opportunity this morning to discuss with him my upcoming race in Antarctica and learn from his wealth of experience gained during many extraordinary adventures around the world.

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In 2006, he and David Grier achieved a world first by running the entire length of the Great Wall of China (4218km) at a pace of a marathon a day for 98 days. Following this, they then completed another world first in 2008 by running a ‘Smile around South Africa’, following the entire coastline from Namibia to Mozambique (3278km). They raised more than R2.5 million for Operation Smile linked to these two extreme activities.

In early 2012, Braam and fellow adventurer, Peter van Kets, completed the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole, an unassisted race over 768km which required them to man-haul sleds weighing around 85kg in temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius.

I have read both Braam and Peter’s books about their various adventures, and find their stories very inspirational. Furthermore, not many South Africans have done sporting activities in Antarctica (the best known are Braam, Peter and Ryan Sandes, the winner of the 2010 Last Desert Race).

Although the Last Desert Race in Antarctica will not expose competitors to the extreme conditions and challenges which Braam and Peter encountered on their way to the South Pole, there are much to learn from their experiences in Antarctica. Amongst other things, we discussed training and preparations, running gear and equipment, acclimatization, nutrition and various practical tips which will no doubt assist me before and during the race.

Braam’s next extreme adventure with Peter van Kets will be “The DOT Earth Challenge” – circumnavigating the globe over 18 months using only non-motorised means on the Tropic of Capricorn. It is a global expedition intended to raise awareness about the environmental challenges facing our planet. Moreover, Braam and Peter aim to rally a critical mass of a billion children around the world to hold adults accountable for the wholesale destruction of our natural resources.

Both the adventure and the cause they are supporting resonate with me, and hopefully there will be an opportunity to work together at some point in future.

Braam’s passion for the environment, and his commitment to making a positive change, is best described by the following quote on his website:

“I learned that ordinary people can do extraordinary things if they can dream big and passionately and systematically move towards their dream. I learned that one individual can change the world,” “Earth is in my heart, my heart is in the earth!”

I hope to draw on this inspiration during my run in Antarctica and as part of my efforts to raise R250 000 for a Greenpeace Africa solar energy project.

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I’m excited about the race in Antarctica and the challenge of raising R250 000 for Greenpeace Africa, and encourage you to support my efforts and the work of Greenpeace Africa!

Please make a donation and encourage others to do the same.

“Together we can make a difference!”

Follow updates about my preparations for The Last Desert Race, and work with Greenpeace Africa, on Facebook and Twitter, my daily blog, and via Greenpeace Africa’s  various online platforms.

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About David Barnard

This blog site covers my runs through the deserts of the world in support of social causes and campaigns dedicated to development issues in Africa. My next run is the 250km Big Red Run in Australia from 24-29 June 2017 in support of the Hippo Water Roller.
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