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CHOOSE TO FUNDRAISE FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK AND EARN UP TO A £2500 REFUND ON YOUR ENTRY FEE. FIND OUT MORE.

A JOURNEY ACROSS THE NAMIB DESERT TO THE SKELETON COAST BY FOOT AND FAT-BIKE TO REACH THE MOST FAMOUS SHIPWRECK ON EARTH…

In the ancient expanse of the Namib Naukluft desert, endless skies merge with towering dunes for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Nothing else. Just sand and sky. And then at the coast, the Atlantic breakers come crashing onto the shore amid colonies of 1000s of seals, rolling in on the cold seas of the Benguela Current all the way from Antarctica.

$164.46

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*price per month, depending on departure date, click here for more info on pricing

3 - 10 NOV / 2024
1 - 8 NOV/ 2026

EVENT DATES:

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DISTANCE: 

124 MILES (200 KM) ON FOOT OR 186 MILES (300KM) ON FOOT & BIKE
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SLEEP STYLE: 

HOTEL AND CAMPING
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LOCATION: 

NAMIBIA, AFRICA
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DURATION: 

8 DAYS /
7 NIGHTS

DIFFICULTY RATING: CAN I DO THIS?

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Absolutely. This adventure is perfect for hikers looking for a new challenge!

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

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ACCOMMODATION

7 nights accommodation (hotel and camping)

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ALL MEALS

All meals included as standard, at hotels and in camp, cooked up by our expert catering crew

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GUIDES AND SUPPORT

Professional 4x4 support vehicles, bike mechanic, desert guides, safety staff, medical and welfare

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EXTRAS

High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.

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TRANSFERS

Airport transfers from Windhoek on arrival.

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TRANSFER POLICY

Flexible transfer policy up to 12 weeks before departure date.

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EQUIPMENT

Fat bike hire and associated equipment included.

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SAFETY

Professional local and UK safety  staff, medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.

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YOUR TRIP LEADER:
Jim

Jim is our Managing Director and founder, with over 25 years of service and 500 events under his belt. Click below to find out more.

RAISE £5000 AND GET UP TO £2500 REFUNDED

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MORE INFORMATION:

An utterly stunning, unique desert adventure in one of the most remote places on earth. Namibia means Vast Place.

The sand dunes of the Namib Desert and the famous Skeleton Coast are perhaps 2 of the most photographed landscapes in the World – in equal part alluring, evocative, mysterious and foreboding. In the ancient expanse of the Namib Naukluft desert, endless skies merge with towering dunes for hundreds and hundreds of miles. It is here our journey unfolds, 200km on foot or 300km by fat bike and foot in our fully supported crossing of the Namib to the eerie Eduard Bohlen shipwreck

DAY ONE: SUNDAY

Arrive in Windhoek airport. Transfer from airport to our luxury desert camp accommodation.

DAY TWO: MONDAY

Enjoy the surroundings of your stunning desert camp setting. Today’s schedule will also include briefings, a kit check plus opportunities to be sized for and trial your fat bikes. Another night accommodated in the camp and then it’s off into the desert.

DAY THREE: TUESDAY / RACE TO THE WRECK BEGINS!

MULTISPORT: Cover 90km on fat bikes over gravel roads through the Khomas Hochland region, roughly paralleling the course of the Kuiseb River through rough, mountainous desert country to our overnight tented camp. Enjoy hot showers, braai, beers and vast starry skies.

RUN/HIKE: Cover 50km on foot over gravel plains, rusty red dunes and rolling sand until you near the Kuiseb River and our overnight tented camp. Enjoy hot showers, braai, beers and vast starry skies.

DAY FOUR: WEDNESDAY

MULTISPORT: Day 2 sees an early start to cover a massive 110km on the fat bikes, now descending into the sandy dry river bed of the Kuiseb itself and its towering gorges and really feeling the rhythm of that fat bike in the sand. Today we will reach the home of the Top’naa people at Homeb. From here you can literally touch the massive dunes of the Namib Naukluft, which tower above your overnight camp in the cool river bed.

 

RUN/HIKE: As the dunes get bigger you’ll rack up another 50km as you run towards the jawdropping canyon of the Kuiseb River before descending into it via an adrenaline filled dune drop off. Surrounded by towering gorges you’ll work your way to our canyon camp which are shouldered by the massive dunes of the Namib Naukluft which will tower above you.

DAY FIVE: THURSDAY

Day 3 sees the transition to foot for the Multisport participants as we merge onto the same course for a massive 40km day (approx) as you get a taste of the dunes this area is so famous for before reaching our stunning overnight desert camp.

DAY SIX: FRIDAY

Be ready for Day 4, with over 9000ft of ascent packed into this 43km section it’s an exhilarating and exhaustingly long day on foot over another marathon’s worth of sandy terrain. Taking on over 21 dune formations will test you to the limit but the views are well worth it. The Day 4 camp will sit amongst these sand mountains in a truly spectacular setting.

DAY SEVEN: SATURDAY

The final 20km and the exit from the dune awaits you on Saturday morning, as you hit the coast you will also take in some of the abandoned mining settlements around Conception Bay. By lunch time Rat Racers will reach their incredible destination – the Eduard Bohlen where a celebratory lunch and a cold beer will be waiting in its shadow. Once everyone is in we’ll be extracting you via our brilliant 4×4 excursion down the coast and over the dunes back to the afterparty in Walvis bay.

DAY EIGHT: SUNDAY

Transfer for those who want it back to Windhoek or to Walvis Bay Airport. OR hang around and enjoy Walvis Bay.

*NOTE THAT TIMINGS AND ITINERARIES ARE APPROX AND MAY CHANGE

ACCOMMODATION

DESERT CAMPS

Upon arrival and transfer from the airport at Windhoek or Walvis Bay, you will spend your first 2 nights at a luxury desert camp. Accommodation will be based on 2 sharing (doubles and twins available). Limited singles (with supplement fee) are available on request.

This is the essence of the Namib experience and we will pride ourselves on the quality and ambience of these campsites. Ride or run into camp and enjoy a night under a desert sky filled with stars, a good hot plate of food, a roaring fire and (at some, a hot shower too). The latter certainly is a real luxury that no other outfitter of such events provides. We will provide tents, roll mats, toilets, showers (at 2 of the 4 camps) full catering service. There will also be the “Wrecked” on-site bar, limited WiFi facility and satcomms for those who wish to call home. Medical facilities, bike mechanics and other event services will also feature.

HOTEL

The final night of your adventure, we will be laying on 4-star hotel accommodation in Walvis Bay, full slap-up buffet, drinks and presentation of medals, mementos and awards.

MEALS

All meals included during our itinerary. Including hot and cold options for breakfast, hot dinner and pit stop provision when out on the course. Soft drinks, squash and water are provided with all meals (or similar). Hot drinks are provided at breakfast also. Meat will feature heavily but a vegetarian option will always be provided.

There are no participant cooking facilities provided at the camps so if you do wish to cook your own food, you may do so with a small private stove, which we will transport for you with the rest of your gear.

PIT STOPS

We will offer savoury and sweet snacks and water will be provided at the designated pit stops.

 

Please note that the provision whilst on the route does not consist of ‘full meals’ and will be more snack-based grab n’ go options, to reflect the journey being undertaken. We would also advise that if you have sports nutrition products that you know work for you, please bring them with you. See below for information on gluten-free and vegan provision.

Gluten-free, Vegan or other dietary requirements: Gluten-free and Vegan provision will be made at the pit stops and desert camps; although if you have food intolerances please do ensure you check with us on our provision as you may need to augment with your own supplies in the desert camps. Please contact us in advance with any specific dietary requirement questions well in advance – on booking you will be asked to list dietary requirements.

CAMPLIFE

WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

 

Quite simply, you can expect a campsite experience that will blow your mind. All of these sites are in stunning desert locations. The locations are remote but the level of facility is high. Calling these campsite moments life-affirming or life-changing experiences, alongside the clear epic nature of the challenge itself, is no cliché. The camps are extremely well appointed, but are of course still camp sites. You will supply your own sleeping bags and we supply the rest – tents, toilets, showers (not all sites) and food and drinks. It is all laid on. We even have a bar!

WHAT ARE THE FACILITIES?

 

The camps will be laid out with your pre-pitched tents, with your overnight bags in your designated tent. You will sleep 2 per tent. There will be a central cooking point and food will be served in the evening and the morning from here, together with hot and cold drinks. Our bar will be open for the purchase of alcoholic drinks each night also, for a few sun-downers in the desert. You’ll find medical services, admin services, toilets cubicles and tents (long-drops or thunder boxes) and showers at some of the locations.

The nature of an adventure is that sometimes, the uncertain becomes certain! That is all part of the adventure. Whilst we will always strive to pull off ‘Plan A,’ it may well be that for any one of a number of reasons, we cannot do so and we ned to wheel put Plan B, C or D. We do line up contingencies for many eventualities of course. But it is worth knowing that the course may change if we deem it prudent for your safety or for other operational or weather-based reasons and we must always reserve the right to do so. Ultimately our skill and judgement in organising such events is part of why you are entering, so we must be able to exercise this on your behalf where we deem it necessary. If we do have to make a route change, we will strive to inform you in good time (if that is possible). Usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end!

Click ‘Buy Event Voucher’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.

Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration for this adventure. If you wish to participate as a family group or with a responsible adult and you are 16+, we will consider applications on an individual basis. Please contact us if this is the case.

Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.

You can view the full kit list below this FAQ tab. The final kit list will also be sent to you alongside the full Essential Event Information document around 3 months prior to the event date. 

Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer UK and raise the target amount for this event per person, we will refund your entry fee up to the amount of £2500. You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart.

Yes, you can. We welcome support on almost all of our events and if you do decide you want to come and work with us, we will make sure we look after you. Click here to find out more about volunteering for Rat Race.

We’ve put together a fantastic new instalment plan that allows you to choose how many months you want to spread the cost of this brilliant adventure over. You can pay it off all in one go or spread it over as many months as you like, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.

Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.

To check the full list of qualifying unforeseen circumstances that are protected please click here to view Refund Protect terms and conditions.

To add Refund Protect (administered by a 3rd party) to your Rat Race booking simply select this option when presented during the entry process. Refund Protect cannot be added retrospectively. Rat Race will then send you name and booking details to Refund Protect in order to protect your transaction with them. If you opt to pay in instalments and transfer your entry before the entry cost is full paid you will be liable to ensure the cost of Refund Protect has been fully covered. This total amount will be deducted from any Rat Race credit due through the transfer process or you will be invoiced by Rat Race for the outstanding amount as Rat Race have paid this on your behalf to Refund Protect at point of entry. 

Yes. You need a decent travel policy covering you for general travel and which covers participation in outdoor sports. You will also need what is called an Evacuation Insurance Policy, which is for if we need to send you back to the closest city for urgent medical attention via a helicopter or similar. We also recommend you have this in place as soon as you enter this event and that if you book flights, we highly recommend booking a flexible option for any last-minute changes you might need to make or to ensure you have maximum flexibility if you cannot attend for any reason.

Travel insurance is compulsory for our events, so please make sure your insurance policy covers the activities you will be participating in. There are a number of specialist providers available including Mann Broadbent.

Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead. 

 

If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also get in touch with you if any of your payments have been missed.

Rat Race have been audited and accredited to the prestigious BS8848 expedition safety standard.

We have firm emergency protocols and response systems in place whilst out on our adventures. Our main priority above all else is to keep you and our staff safe. Before we leave for each trip a comprehensive in-country risk and threat assessment has been conducted by the Head of Expeditions. All protocols are put in place relating to those assessments. We make sure that the staff involved have the highest level of first aid training; a higher level of medical cover is also put in place if needed; all instructors have qualifications and/ or competencies to match the adventure we will undertake. In the event of an emergency, Rat Race staff and appointed contractors have comprehensive knowledge of procedures which will rapidly be put in place. If needed, our staff will provide first aid and then further medical assistance and evacuation if needed in line with a published Medical Procedures Plan. We have medical back-up and Clinical Directorship provided by a specialist events medical company and we have further emergency response support services provided by competent contracted partner. All our cover is available 24/7 while operations are underway. We use our knowledge and emergency procedures to provide the best possible care in our often remote and austere environments. Before leaving on a trip, we will advise on the insurance cover you are required to have in place for the trip; we will ask for a copy of these insurance details before the departure date.

Race entry includes a glorious finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tee. We will request your t-shirt size and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.

The short answer is no. The price for this event is for everything outlined on the website and it is very difficult for us to split this out. Our accommodation is based on group rates and is on a shared basis. All of our event logistics, support and organisation has been designed to have all the participants in the same locations to allow transfers, briefings etc to run smoothly and to let you bond with your fellow #ratracers! You are welcome to arrange your own accommodation if you wish but this will not result in a reduction in the event fee from us, you will also then be responsible for ensuring you are at our meeting points at the arranged time and we will not be able to transport you to and from your own accommodation, you will need to be able to do this independently.

No problem. Where we use hotels, rooms are offered on a twin / shared basis. If you wish to share with a fellow participant, you will be asked to add this information to your event participation from which we will issue you with approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event.

Unfortunately for this style of event, we cannot accommodate any supporters.

You can use it if you wish but no, you do not need one. We will provide fat bikes for participants. If you do decide you use your own, it is important to note that Day 1 does not require a fatbike (can be done on a regular mountain bike) but Day 2 definitely DOES need a fatbike. So unless you intend on using 2 different bikes (we cannot transport these, so it is not practicable) then a fatbike is the weapon of choice here.

The 2 days of biking in this format both have different characters. Day 1 is on gravel trails and roads. A mountain bike would cover this ground fine. BUT on Day 2, we are into the soft sand of the Kuiseb Riverbed system and here, a fatbike is 100% required, owing to that soft sandy terrain. A normal mountain bike would just sink into the sand and be difficult to ride. A fat bike floats over it. It’s a fantastic ride. You’ll love it.

No. This is a supported format, which means that we transport gear for you. You will need to carry a daypack, which will have food, water, emergency gear and spare clothing in it, so you will have to carry something. But not all of your kit. We will do the hard yards on your overnight supplies by carrying a bag for you from camp to camp, plus all of the camping gear. This is a large logistical operation and is part of the value offered in this very special trip.

 

Yes. But that’s kind of the point. It’s 200km from the nearest human beings. We will finish at the Wreck before making a spectacular 4×4 convoy return north to Walvis bay up the Skeleton Coast and across the dunes. On the way back we will pass landmarks such as the wreck of the Shawnee and Sandwich Harbour, with its enormous dunes and its flocks of pink Flamingos.

About the area

The Namib desert stretches for hundreds of miles along the coast of Namibia, reaching the swirling South Atlantic abruptly at the forbiddingly-named Skeleton Coast. We will be following the ancient Kuiseb River (which only flows about once every 5 years due to the lack of water in these parts) from its source near the Namibian capital Windhoek, to the edge of the famous Sand Dune Sea of the Namib Naukluft National Park, containing the highest sand dunes on Earth. The Naukluft is the jewel of the Namib Desert and special permission must be obtained to access it, which is only possible with rugged 4×4 vehicles. The highest sand dunes on Earth can be found here and we will be going over those dunes to reach our objective at the coast, the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen. This multi-sport crossing is a true World-first in many respects and the permissions granted for this event are truly unique. All up, a very special journey awaits into the heart of a very special piece of Africa.

Weather

It can be very hot during the say and actually quite cold at night. The desert is a land of extremes of all descriptions, weather included. It is not overbearingly hot however and the heat is very dry, making it far more manageable than humid climates with lower temperatures. One phenomenon which is unique to the coastal Namib is the fog that rolls in off the sea every morning. Aside from supporting all life-forms in this desert area, it has a cooling effect. One thing the weather is here is predictable: The fog burns off every day by mid-morning and the day heats up, before cooling down after dark.

Wildlife

The cold Benguela current brings a fog that shrouds the dunes of the Namib, supporting a surprising array of lifeforms. You will come across Welwitschia plants, nourished by the fog to live for over 2000 years; These truly are some of the oldest living things on Earth. Then there are the animals – oryx, jackal, seal, springbok have all adapted to this environment and especially at the coast, there is an abundance of these critters.

THE KIT LIST


Here’s a rundown with some additional advise from Test Pilot Darren. We may revise this nearer the time but this should give you a good idea at this stage.

Note: All items are mandatory, unless it says recommended, where they are, well, recommended!

To wear

  • Cap/hat with neck protection: Protecting your head and neck from the sun is a must. There are several variations but something like either this from My Race Kit or this from Raidlight will do the trick. The removeable neck protection function is useful, although it does not need to be removeable. You’ll want all the shade you can get on this event and this starts with your head.
    Sunglasses: We advise wrap-around sports sunglasses to give you maximum field of vision and maximum sun protection. These can vary massively in price, but anything with good UV protection will be fine as long as they’re comfortable on your hot sweaty face. Cat 3 protection minimum spec. 
    Darren: I steer away from spending too much on glasses on these trips as you have a good chance of getting them ruined at some point.

  • Buff – Or neck gaiter, neckerchief or bandana. 
    Darren: A buff keeps the sun off your neck and is especially cooler if under the shade of your hat, and you can wet it at water stops too, which is heavenly when you’re part-baked!

  • Suncream/block
    Darren: You’re in a desert and it’s hot. Of course. Plus that sun is out all day from early on and it is fierce on the skin. Another from My Race Kit, specially made to cope with extra sweaty desert runners, Tingerlaat has a good reputation amongst racers. P20 is also a fantastic choice, available widely at pharmacies. Also pack some sun blocking lip cream like this too

  •  T-shirt: Generally a loose-fitting lightweight t-shirt (not cotton) is advised. Short or long-sleeved are permitted but our strong advice is long-sleeved and with some element of SPF UV sun protection built in if you can find it. Raidlight do a good range of such garments including this one.
    Darren: Even the right cheap and simple shirt from the local sports store can do the trick, but in contrast to this, during the recce of the Namib, I tried the DNAmic Ultimate Cooling top and bottoms which proved to be fantastic in extreme heat and I can definitely recommend these garments. Anything from Raidlight is usually good, lightweight and well-made and our firm recommendation is to go LONG-SLEEVED. Anything with SPF in the fabric will also stand you in good stead. It’s one less part of the body to worry about sun-damage from if you have garments with SPF built-in.

  • Shorts: Whatever you’re most comfortable in to be honest. You can wear compression shorts/tights underneath for extra support if you choose.

  • Tights: (Not mandatory) You can wear shorts if you prefer; but if you want to keep the sun off your legs and avoid heat rash, cooling tights are well worth packing, plus the compression also helps with recovery.

  • Lightweight waterproof jacket: however unlikely it is that it may rain, a lightweight waterproof is recommended.

  • Socks and at least 1 spare set: Your final sock choice is up to you and can be quite personal. Our strong advice would be a double sock system with a toe sock and a good wicking lightweight running sock over the top. Ininji liner socks are fantastic. Coupled with something lightweight and breathable and ‘friction-free’ such as the Hilly Monoskin anklet or the Rat Race merino sock for outer layer – with excellent moisture wicking properties.
    Darren: Toe Socks like Ininji, can prevent blistering between toes. These have been fantastic for me and I wouldn’t go to a desert without them now. If toe socks aren’t your thing, then Hilly are a great brand and will sort you out.

  • Running shoes: In deep dry sand, trail shoes aren’t going to get you much more traction than road shoes. So we are not saying you MUST use trail shoes. Road or trail are OK. The important thing here is to have plenty of support and comfort and to ensure your sizing has enough space for some foot swelling in the heat and to accommodate a double sock system, if that is what you choose.
    Darren: Hokas are growing more popular for long distances so would be well worth checking out. The bossman Jim swears by his pair. My desert-pal Allie had zero problems with her trusty Altras and would strongly recommend these.  Personally I’ve found both Brooks GTS and Saucony Exodus to work great for me over deserts and have been the envy of camp with little to no blistering or rubbing throughout.

  • Sand gaiters: These are a must for the desert to keep the sand from going in your shoes. A good pair that is well attached will spare you the horrors that a tiny amount of sand could do inside your shoes – even a few grains can be enough to ruin your feet before you even finish day one.
    Darren: The Raidlights have been great for me across two deserts, and whilst others are available, I’ll stick with these, “if it ain’t broke…”. You’ll need to get a local cobbler to stitch/glue velcro around the edges of your shoes for the gaiters to attach to as they use a Velcro attachment system typically. This will pretty much guarantee keeping all the sand outside of your shoes and save your feet from misery.  If you live in the UK and if you choose gaiters from MyRaceKit.com they offer in-house stitching although you might get a better price locally, I paid about £25. The absolute go-to guy in the UK, who does this for many desert runners is a chap called Alex who runs Alex Shoe Repairs in Wandworth, London.  It’s not a cheap service, but nearly 8 months after the recce trip, with pretty much weekly use since then and a few Ultras under his belt too, bossman Jim’s Velcro is still fully intact with a completely unbroken ring of Velcro around the shoes, glued firmly on them still. Not very fetching, but you absolutely NEED the Velcro to be bombproof to make this system work. Alex is available on +44 (0) 207 223 4931.

  • Nightwear: You’ll want to change into some non-running gear at the end of each day, and it cools down a fair bit at night, in Namibia (especially towards the coast when the fog forms at night with the cool sea air hitting the hot desert sand), so pack a few base layers for top and bottom halves, maybe some favourite PJ’s. A lightweight down jacket like the Rat Race Challenger jacket or fleece is also recommended for evenings as they do get cool. For your feet, some comfy slippers/sliders or crocs will air your feet and give you something to wear around camp. It is very important to give your feet a break each evening.

 

Equipment

  • Poles: These are mandatory for this event. It is our strong view that without poles, you will struggle on this event. Even if you don’t use poles normally, you WILL use them on this one. Lightweight is good and if you want to splash the cash, carbon poles like the Black Diamond Carbon Z range is the gold-standard. Carbon is by no means required though; just a good, robust trekking or ultra-running pole.
    Darren: When used properly, poles are a huge benefit on sand, and definitely on the dune climbs, oh the climbs! Even if you don’t normally use them for running, I highly recommend them for desert crossings. There will be many sections where you’ll resort to a steady march or a long difficult climb and poles will really help to propel you forwards, you’ll be glad you have them. Go for the larger baskets to reduce how much they sink into the sand.

  • Daypack or Ultra Vest: You only need a handy day pack as the crew will carry your full load of gear from camp to camp.  15 – 20l is recommended. Although it is up to you – you will need to fit the mandatory kit inside, plus 2l of water, food (min 400 kcal) and spare clothing. It’s entirely up to you. Check out the Rat Race Great Glen running pack here.

  • Waterproof liner or drybag for daybag: This may sound strange in a place which has pretty much zero rainfall. The simple answer is that, if it’s waterproof, it’s sandproof. A waterproof liner or drybag will prevent sand getting all over your items inside your bag, which it will. It gets everywhere.
    Darren: Personally, I’ve been really pleased with the Salomon 12 set (I also have the 5L) both of which have been amazing for several years. These are the top end of the price range and cheaper packs are available, however, you usually get what you pay for when it comes to cheaper day packs, and I’m more than happy I got my money’s worth with these. So be smart about where and when to save money. There’s space for a bladder in the back as well as two 500ml soft bottles at the front on both the Salomon and the Rat Race one, plus so many pockets for all the things you never realised you’d need or want.

  • Water carrying system: We will ask that you have a MINIMUM carrying capacity of 2 litres on you at any one time. You may carry bladders, plastic ‘hard’ bottles or flex bottles. Soft flex bottles or something like this raidlight (with a straw for easy access and continual sipping) work well. A combo of both systems (flex flasks and bottles) will also work. Bladders are also fine. Anything combination is fine. Provided you can carry 2 litres.
    Darren: I’d recommend going with the soft flexi-bottles that come with the Salomon set (or similar, such as the Rat Race ScRUNch), it’s great that they squish away as they empty, instead of large empty rigid bottles with the last of the liquid swishing around. The current scientific thinking is to DRINK TO THIRST.  We’ll have no shortage of water although there will be a personal allowance. You should therefore not concern yourself with running out. Mores-o think about how and when you are going to drink. Regularity is key here – set up a regime and sip to it.  whether it’s three minutes, five or ten it doesn’t matter as long as it’s regular and you sip to thirst.  This regularity will prevent slipping into heat injury and just as important it’ll avoid hyponatremia   (see attached).  This is such a simple thing to get right but regularly claims victims in all desert events.  So keep it simple, drink to thirst within a regime and focus on the run without worrying about hydration.

  • Head torch: waterproof to IPX7 standard, minimum 150 lumens + spare batteries or second headtorch.
    Darren: You need to find your way around camp at night, and just in case you get caught out on the trail after sunset, you’ll want to find your way to back. The Black Diamond 325 is neat and effective, offering red and green light too, which saves blinding your campmates when chatting at night. Petzl also do fantastic head torches such as the ubiquitous Tikka. Don’t forget spare batteries! 

  • Portable charger: for that phone for selfies! But also for the charging of your GPS device – see below.
    Darren: I’ve been using the Anker Powercore 20100 for a few years and it’s been flawless, offering almost 7 full phone charges for an iPhone and five for my Galaxy S8, and two USB ports so you can help out a mate at the same time!

  • GPS device: We require that you have a GPS device that is capable if having a GPX file downloaded to it. This can be a watch (See below) or a handheld device. This is an important piece of equipment that will assist you with following the GPS-generated route line on the ground. If you are not familiar with such devices don’t worry – they are easy to use and just like a satnav for people (vs cars). You should practise with your device prior to arrival at the event but we will also assist you on arrival with these GPX files and ensure you know to download them to your device. The key is that is MUST have enough battery life to last a full 15 hr day and you must have the ability to re-charge it (portable charger, see above). You absolutely must have enough power to ensure your PGS device can be powered on each day for all 5 days on the trail.

  • GPS watch: (Not mandatory). Your GPS device CAN be a watch or it CAN be a handheld. So a watch per-se is not mandatory.
    Darren: Imagine sharing 130 desert miles to Strava when you get home! For multi-stage ultras with some days up to 15 hours long, there are only a few real contenders to keep recording and to also join up the days.  The Garmin Fenix 5 is unquestionably one of the best on the market, the price tag is pretty beefy though, so you could look for an older 2nd hand model if you wanted to save a few bucks. I’ve been more than happy with my older Fenix 3HR since about 2014 and it’s not a great deal different to the latest model.

  • Compass: Ideally you won’t need this or you might have a compass built into your watch, but an old-skool physical compass a must have ‘just in case’ your GPS device fails and you need to take a bearing. One like this will do the trick

  • Mirror: Not for checking your make-up, but for reflecting the sun to flash for attention/help if you get into trouble. You can get these within expedition first aid kits or buy here.

  • Whistle: As long as it makes a loud toot, then you can pick one up very cheap. Some backpacks have them built in. That is fine. So it’s an integrated backpack whistle; or a stand-alone one.

  • Pen knife or multitool: any type of leatherman is great. Or a swiss army knife. You do not need to spend megabucks on this gadget. It is very useful however for kit repairs and for general camplife.

  • Gaffer tape or electrical tape for unexpected kit repairs. Top Tip: to prevent you having to carry a full roll of duct tape, use a hotel key card or credit card-sized item and wrap the tape around it.

Food

We will provide you with Pit Stop support along the route. We ask that you maintain some emergency rations on you at all times. As a minimum, 400kcal. This equates to 4 gels or similar energy bars products.

You may also want to take your own foodstuffs and/ or sports nutrition as you know what works best for you and you may have a system you are comfortable with, or simply want some of your own preferred scooby snacks. Given we are transporting an overnight bag for you, there is the facility for this to be carried for you camp-to-camp and you top up with what you need prior to each stage. Darren: You’ll need to keep your energy up for hours on end so whatever works best for you, snack bars with oats and seeds provide good carb energy, I can honestly say the Rat Race Pit Stop Bars are great, and pack a lot of energy into a few easy bites. Include electrolytes in the mix as you’ll lose a lot of salts through sweating, I personally like to add powders to one of my water bottles so I get a constant top-up to prevent hitting a wall, SIS powders are always very good. Stash your favourite salty/savoury items, peanuts, gels and some sweets for a nice sugary hit when you need it. 

  • Electrolyte tablets, salt tablets or Sticks – To be clear, these are mandatory kit.
    Darren: We lose a lot of essential salts through sweat and sweating is something we do a lot in the desert. As well as the powders, gels and snacks, it’s handy to have an extra dose of salts to avoid burning out and dehydrating. These salt capsules are a sure way to keep topped up and moving forwards. NOTE on SALT and ELECTROLYTE intake: Folks sometimes do not believe us that you may find yourself literally swallowing sodium tablets whole and regularly. It feels like an alien concept to be taking on board that much salt. But constant electrolyte intake is absolutely key on this event. If you have not used salt tablets before (i.e. the tablets that are linked above, which are just sodium), then be advised that some people do find them to induce some nausea. That is the case for some folk; yet others swear by them.

Blister care

Ok this is a biggie. We have now laid out a ‘mandatory’ kit which is the minimum mandatory blister and foot care kit you should bring. Having said which, decisions such as whether you want to tape toes and ‘hot spots’ to prevent blisters in advance; or whether you treat blisters if/when they occur is personal and entirely up to you. Each school of thought has its merit. We have also therefore laid out some guidance and advice below, which we hope you find useful. Again, this is all from personal experience of this particular environment. So what you have here is the mandatory kit required as a minimum; and some further advice upon which you can build a good footcare strategy.

 

  • Footcare Kit – Mandatory:

    • Zinc Oxide tape (Recommended brands: Rock tape or Tiger Tan tape)

    • 4 x sterile needles

    • 4 x scalpel blades

    • Small pair of scissors or penknife with scissors

    • Gauze swabs (2 x packs of 5 swabs – used for drying/cleaning before applying tape)

 

  • Footcare Kit – Recommended:

    • Compeed blister plasters

    • Haplaband tape (if you are prone to getting blisters in-between toes this is recommended)

    • Disinfectant solution

    • Foot lube (silicon based)

    • Rubbing alcohol (used for drying feet and help prevent fungal infections)

    • All footcare  kit should be stored in a dry bag.

General footcare advice – taping:   For those wanting to do this, it’s worth knowing how to tape up well; and to have the right kit for it. Our recommendation is Rory Coleman’s method here. For this, you will need:

  • Hapla Band

  • Pen knife with scissors

  • Benzoin Tincture – this hardens the skin so helps prevent and dry out blisters

  • Iodine wipes and sterile blades/needles: if you want to lance your blisters. (You might get these in your first aid kit, although you can also use the tiny scissors on a swiss army knife after a quick wipe with some alcohol.)
    Darren: If you have known problem areas, I’d strongly recommend preventative measures and covering them before you start. Compeed blister plasters are brilliant, and whilst you can find similar from other brands like Scholl and Boots own, I find that these lead the way in my experience. 

     

General footcare advice – other products:

  • Silicon lube: For the ultimate anti-blister regimen, some people lubricate feet with this in the morning prior to putting on their socks. This product is silicon based so won’t wear off.

  • Rubbing alcohol: Take this to dry feet and blisters out at the end of the day. It is better than popping the blisters, which can lead to infection. There is no better way to dry feet that using rubbing alcohol.

  • Another tape recommendation is Hypafix self-adhesive dressing; to tape problem toes and to tape over blisters to keep them sterile and prevent infection. Top tip: Put a plaster on underneath.

Medical

  • Medical kit– Mandatory:

    • Pad and bandage style dressing (large)

    • Adhesive dressing – 1x medium and 1 x large

    • 1 x conforming bandage

    • Dioralyte sachets x 5

    • Basic pain relief (Paracetomol)

    • Any personal medications

    • Over the counter antihistamine tablets

    • Savlon tube (or other brand of antiseptic cream)

    • Hand sanitiser

    • Insect repellent

    • After-bite cream

    • Also a minimum of 2 x lateral flow tests

  • Medical kit – Recommended:

    • Triangular bandage

    • Plasters

    • Sudocrem/Vaseline for chaffing

All medical kit should be stored in a dry bag.

  • Sudocrem – to prevent or treat chaffing in the most inconvenient areas and promote healing of cuts and scrapes

  • Personal First Aid kit to include adhesive dressing, steristrips and triangular bandage as a minimum. Find a decent small personal med kit and squeeze in some of the other things on this list to keep it all together in one bag

  • Hand sanitiser – We all know is worth these days; but you won’t find many washrooms on the dunes and personal hygiene is of paramount importance when you’ve gone remote. A simple bug can bring everyone down, do keep the handy, handy!

  • Alcohol rub for your feet from a bottle or as wipes, this can be a life saver and really sort your feet out at the end of each day. As mentioned in blister care section, above

  • Insect repellents for skin and spray for clothing is worth having too. The rumours are true about Avon Skin So Soft, proving to be a great repellent too, and it leaves your skin silky smooth as a bonus!

  • Personal medication as required – make sure you have it all on you. You will be asked to disclose medical history to our medics nearer the time so they understand any requirements you have in this respect.
    Top tip: Keep your medical kit separate from your footcare kit. It is likely you will be accessing your footcare kit each evening so ensuring your kits are separate will help you keep your personal admin in check with all of that gear lying about the tent!

Sleeping gear

  • Lightweight sleeping bag

  •   Sleeping bag liner 

  •   Sleeping mat

Other mandatory kit

  •   Toothpaste & brush – all those gels and sugary snacks will leave your teeth feeling grim

  •   Personal toiletries

  •   Holdall or duffel for us to transport your gear between camps

  •   Casual clothing for transit and overnights

  •   Towel – travel micro towel or full-size

  •   Spork or other eating utensil

  •   Small drybag/s – for electronics. Sand WILL get everywhere and can compromise the effectiveness of your equipment and/ or scratch and damage items easily

Other recommended kit

  • Phone/Camera: Who wouldn’t want a selfie or two at the top of some of the biggest sand dunes in the world?!  You’ll be repeatedly amazed by the views and wildlife, so it’s likely your phone won’t stay in your pocket for long

  • General trekking or travel trousers

  • Robust outdoor footwear are recommended just given the type of destination (your running footwear are fine if you do not wish to bring another pair of shoes)

  • Reading material

  • International plug adaptor

Bike Only Kit list – for those doing bike/run ONLY

  • Your bike will be provided unless you wish to use your own

  • Helmet – you may provide your own or rent one from us for $10 US

  • Bikes will be supplied with flat pedals. Cleated pedals (SPD) may be attached if you wish to bring your own cleats. If doing so, please also bring a pedal spanner

  • Please bring a basic tool kit to include puncture repair patch, bike multitool and tyre levers

  • Please bring a small portable pump (shrader valve) to carry with you on the bike. Track pumps will be available in camps

Cycling clothing:

  • Padded cycling shorts

  • Cycling jersey – lightweight. As with the run kit above, the recommendation is to equip yourself where possible with SPF UV protective clothing

  • Cycling gloves

  • Socks for cycling

  • Footwear appropriate for flat pedals (running trainers/ sneakers are fine) or SPD footwear if using cleats, Please bring your own pedals if you wish to use them

  • Chamois cream

  • You are welcome to bring your own saddle if you wish

Pricing
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PAY MONTHLY INTEREST FREE!
ENTER NOW AND SPREAD THE COST INTEREST FREE WITH OUR INSTALMENT PLAN

We’ve put together a fantastic new instalment plan that allows you to choose how many months you want to spread the cost of this brilliant adventure over. You can pay it off all in one go or spread it over as many months as you like, totally interest free*. The payments will be split equally allowing you to budget and plan for this stunning journey. All payments to be made before August, the year of the event.

*When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.

Please see here for full terms and conditions and our cancellation policy.

PROTECT YOUR NON-REFUNDABLE BOOKING WITH REFUND PROTECT

 

Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.

To check the full list of qualifying unforeseen circumstances that are protected please click here to view Refund Protect terms and conditions.

To add Refund Protect (administered by a 3rd party) to your Rat Race booking simply select this option when presented during the entry process. Refund Protect cannot be added retrospectively. Rat Race will then send you name and booking details to Refund Protect in order to protect your transaction with them. If you opt to pay in instalments and transfer your entry before the entry cost is full paid you will be liable to ensure the cost of Refund Protect has been fully covered. This total amount will be deducted from any Rat Race credit due through the transfer process or you will be invoiced by Rat Race for the outstanding amount as Rat Race have paid this on your behalf to Refund Protect at point of entry. 

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Cath Wallis

November 2019

"The kind of challenge everyone should try."

I think this is the kind of challenge everyone should try. It's not something you're going to experience anywhere else in the World. It's not something to be taken lightly, it's definitely something to train for, but something that is achieveable by anyone.

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Jo Little

November 2022

"This was my first Rat Race event and my first epic adventure. It won't be my last!."

I have just taken part in Race To The Wreck in Namibia - what can I say, the most epic and incredible adventure. This is probably not for you if you don’t like extreme heat and sand - but your reward for tackling these annoyances will be crossing and experiencing one of the remotest, stunning places on the planet! The organisation was top rate, from arrival, to briefings and course safety and support. The team both UK and local Namibian were first rate - food, camps, medical support, pit stop support, motivation, snacks - all fantastic. This was my first Rat Race event and my first epic adventure. It won’t be my last! RTTW definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me more than I have ever been challenged before. But the support from the crew, fellow participants, the highs and lows made it an experience I will never ever forget.

CHECK OUT WHAT OUR FIRST EVER RACE TO THE WRECK PARTICIPANTS HAD TO SAY ABOUT THEIR ADVENTURE IN THIS 5 MINUTE VIDEO...

Charity
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RAISE AT LEAST £5000 (EXCLUDING GIFT AID) FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK AND GET £2500 OF YOUR ENTRY FEE REFUNDED!

Our longstanding partnership with Children with Cancer UK gives #ratracers the opportunity to raise much needed funds for this great cause in exchange for a refund of their entry fee. So far our #ratracers have raised over £1.6million for Children with Cancer UK and we would love for you to join the team to help us chase down that £2million target!

The funds you raise will be invested into vital specialist research to improve survival rates in children and young people and help more of them ring the end of treatment bell.
 

All you need to do is set up a Just Giving page and start your fundraising! You will have until 1 month after the event date to hit your target and then send us the link to your page which will allow us to process your refund. Refunds will be made 2 – 3 months after the even