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 their physical limits. Below is a list of the top adventure races:
The Rock: Spitzkoppe Run and Bike Challenge is a foot-and-cycle race around the Spitzkoppe in the Namib held each year in September. There are various categories including half-marathon running, walking events and 25 and 70km cycle races. The event celebrates the natural beauty of the Spitzkoppe and surroundings and proceeds go to the local community.
100km of Namib Desert: Is a century race (100 km) that can subject 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 Challenge: Regarded as one of the toughest footraces on earth, this race covers 228 km of inhospitable, desert terrain. It is held in the Sossusvlei area, and includes five stages of high-endurance ultra-running, with competitors carrying their own survival kit and food. The competition takes place in March and can only host 80 participants.
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. Through this race, the organizers 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 is run in four different legs in categories of either 5km or 21 km, in Oshakati, Swakopmund, Keetmanshoop and Windhoek.
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 Marathon and Cycle: Participants can choose between a 104 km cycle, 54 km cycle, 42.2 km marathon, half marathon, 10 km fun walk, 30 km fun horse ride, or a 3 km kiddies and parent fun walk. Through the marathon, runners can qualify for the Two Oceans and Comrades marathons in South Africa. It commences from the Keetmanshoop 1Stop Petrol Station and is usually held in October.
Fish River Challenge: Runners are expected to support themselves throughout a 100 km run in 24 hours. The race begins at the top of the Fish River Canyon and finishes at the Ai-Ais hot springs. It usually takes place in August.