Team Men’s Fitness join us on Namibia Ultra Training Weekend

We are delighted that Men’s Fitness are joining us on the Namibia Ultra Marathon coming up in April.  Team Men’s Fitness, as they are known, came down to Somerset last weekend to take part in our training weekend.  We had previous runners of the race come along, lots of lengthy runs and the event Doctor on hand to give advice on dehydration. It was a great weekend and you can find out more how the team got on on their blog.


NEW Spanish Ultra Trail Launched

We have just launched the new Al Andalus Ultra Trail in the stunning region of Andalucia, Spain.

250km | 5 stages | fully supported

A beautiful mountain trail through stunning villages. ‘Al Andalus’ is the Arabic name for the Iberian peninsula.

For further details visit our Adventure Race website.

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon Iceland 2008 – Race Report

Race Report Iceland Ultra – 2008 

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon - Iceland 2008

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon - Iceland 2008

We arrived in Iceland with 7 runners from a variety of different backgrounds and running experience. Some were experienced ultra runners, but for some the task ahead was very daunting with two runners never having run further than 16 miles.

We gave a detailed race brief, including hydration, nutrition advice and medical briefing, which left everyone fully aware of the challenge ahead and exactly what they had let themselves up for! Although short for an ultra (53km) the course is punishing and much harder than the distance suggests. The first 17km involves 600m of climbing along difficult mountain trails, over ice, mud and sand, although the amazing scenery certainly distracts from the burn in the legs. What goes up must come down, and there follows a steep and difficult descent on uneven ground for 2km before the first major river crossing through glacial fed waters. The later stages of the course are slightly easier underfoot and undulating, but still involve some steep descents with one assisted by ropes, before the final ice cold river crossing and the 4km run through the woods to the finish.

The weather this year was terrible, with everyone shivering at the starting line before the off. 250 runners started – more than doubling last year’s numbers – yet the race still retained its friendly local feel, with people chatting and swapping race stories. Up in the mountains the clouds closed in taking visibility to just 30m at times. Ice cold rain lashed in from the left but it only seemed to spur people on in the face of adversity. Snow cover was heavy making running difficult and slippy at times. Over the latter stages the rain continued to pour and runners didn’t hang around at the checkpoints, going through as quick as possible to avoid the cold and keep their body temperature up. There is a cut-off time of 6hours at the 37km point and many runners had to push hard to get there on time. Once through they still had a 16km slog to the finish, and this is often the hardest stretch mentally, with runners pushing themselves onwards whilst their bodies are telling them to stop with every footfall.

Our small group did incredibly well, and all were shocked at how hard this race is, much harder than they ever imagined. Sam was the first of the group to arrive home around the 6hour 20 mark having never run a marathon before – in fact he said that he hates running! Dan, a veteran of the Gobi desert stage race was next in at 6hours 50, followed by Terry and Christopher in 7hours 30. Richard finished just under 8hours having and raised an incredible $95000 for charity to take part in the race, followed by Will and Maria past the 8hour mark. It was a huge achievement and they all should be very proud of their efforts as this race is definitely not for the faint hearted.

We are all now taking it all in, whilst we wait for our legs to stop aching and the day that walking downstairs or steep inclines becomes pain free.

Roll on 2009!

Steve Clark
Race Director, Adventure Racing

Our Namibian Guide, Kobus Alberts give his view of the recent Namibia Ultra Marathon

Adventure racing in Namibia

Namibia Ultra Marathon Race

Following is an account as seen from the eyes of a guide/marshal, during this epic event in Namibia organised by Across the Divide Expeditions to find out more about the race visit here.

About the author.  Kobus Alberts is a former park ranger and guide, a director of Wild at Heart Safaris an instructor of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine’s Desert Medicine training course and an acknowledged expert on desert travel. 

Saw the men for the first time at the Airport when they were collected.  Ordinary men of different walks of life.

The campsite was just South of the Brandberg Mountain, and the perfect setting for the starting point. The “rest” day, 1 day before the race, me and the participants went for a walk-about in the area. Climbed an inselbergs to get a bird’s eye view of the area. “Uncle Spikes” a.k.a. the sun were out and burning down for everyone to feel. Near the end of the walk some guys were out of water already, just showing how easy it is to misjudge the intense heat and all of this only in the morning part of the day.

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Laugavegur Ultra Marathon

Is a 55km footrace along the most popular hiking trail in Iceland, a route that normally takes 4 days to complete.  Now 55km doesn’t actually sound that far, as really it is just a bit more than a marathon.  Looking on the course records the warning bells started to sound as the fastest 10 finishers in 2006 took between 5:26 and 6:06 hours to complete the course.  I didn’t know quite what to expect, although I imagined it had to be tough for such slow times.  Little did I know but I was in for quite a challenge.

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Adventure Races and Wilderness Running | fundraising for charity with every mile run

Adventure racing

fundraise for charity with every mile run!

The series of extreme running events is designed to offer a different experience for those wishing to take the challenge of a marathon to the next level. All marathons will be run in difficult environments to push participants just that little bit further. As well as signing up for the marathons on, people can gain hints on fund-raising and training and share their experiences with other users of the site.

Steve Clark, sales manager at Across the Divide and an experienced marathon runner, explains how Adventure Racing came about. He says: “After completing the London and Edinburgh Marathons, I needed a new challenge. In April 2005, I completed the ‘Marathon des Sables’ in Morocco and have been well and truly bitten by the ultra distance race bug. This has inspired me to develop the extreme series for Across the Divide which throws all sorts of terrains and conditions at the participants.”

The opportunities offered on Adventure Racing include the ‘Costa Rica 24 Hour Adventure Race’, taking place in the shadows of the active Arenal volcano.Teams will navigate, trek, mountain bike, sea kayak, and traverse the rainforest canopy along a course of between 75 and 150 km in 24 hours for a potentially explosive marathon experience.

The ‘Namibia 24 Hour Desert Ultra Race’, on 4-11 April, 2008, takes place over 120km and 24 hours through the most hostile desert coastline on the planet – the Namibian Skeleton Coast. Traversing gravel plains framed by distant ridges and mountains, and running past dramatic upheavals of granite inselbergs, participants must remain self sufficient over the 24 hour period, carrying their own food and equipment – although water will be provided every 20km.

A shorter marathon route can also be run for those who prefer an easier challenge!The ‘Laugavegur Ultra Marathon 2008 Iceland’, on 9-13 July, 2008, is an unrivalled endurance test in spectacular surroundings. The course route runs from the natural springs at Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk, a valley nestled between two glaciers about 55 km away. The course is normally hiked in four days, and is one of the most beautiful in Iceland. The race is multi-terrain,covering sand, gravel, grass, snow, ice, rivers and streams.

Heading to warmer climes, the ‘Taj Mahal Marathon’, on 18-23 September, 2008, starts in the sleepy village of Niyamat Pur and the route follows a good tarmac road through beautiful rural countryside and villages, before joining the main highway to Agra. The highway runs through fertile fields dotted with eucalyptus trees and mango groves, and past small bazaars and hamlets lining the side of the road.

Across the Divide is confirming further dates for 2008, including a 65 mile foot race from Flagstaff along trails to the edge of the Grand Canyon. This event is still in the planning stages and more details will be released soon.

Steve Clark adds: “Designed to attract the attention of experienced marathon runners, charity fundraisers and charitable organisations, our adventure series can help gain the interest of sponsors by being out of the ordinary. Some of the events are exclusive to Across the Divide, such as the Taj Mahal and Namibia challenges. They are certainly more challenging than participating in marathons run in UK cities on tarmac roads.” 

Find out more about Adventure Races and Wilderness Running