With the premiere of the Brandberg Backyard Ultra just around the corner, the organisers are very excitedly preparing to receive the more than 50 dauntless Namibian runners at the Brandberg Rest Camp in Uis on 23 July.
Although the title “backyard ultra” suggests that this should be an ultra race, the event is not only for runners who aim to be the last person standing. As such, the Brandberg Backyard Ultra pool of entrants does indeed include more than 20 experienced ultra-runners, but many of those who will be lining up next week are mettlesome adventurers who will be challenging their own grit and merit. These include athletes who have never run further than a half-marathon and who will be aiming to complete their first marathon, marathoners who are training for their first ultra and runners just for fun.
Melanie Honiball, who went from couch-to-half-marathoner during Covid-times, is very excited to outrun her own furthest race distance of 21.1 km at the Brandberg Backyard Ultra. She is part of a Swakopmund-based training group, led by experienced ultra-veteran Johan Bronkhorst, and has been clocking training runs far beyond marathon distances in prep for the upcoming race.
One of his biggest challenges might be to take it slow and easy, says Harmen Potgieter, trail runner and mountaineer with a Namibian top ten fastest parkrun (5 km) time of 17:36. In this regard, Keletso Nyathi, one of the favourites for the last-person-standing win advised: “backyard ultra is not about the fastest time, but a true test of endurance and tenacity, so take it slow… When you think you are going slow, go slower”.
The Brandberg Backyard Ultra will also sport a handful of weekend warriors, the fun-runners who will complete a single loop of the 6.706 km course and for the rest will be soaking up the race-weekend vibe while supporting friends and loved ones as they battle it out at “the race with no finish line”.
Another exciting item on the race-weekend-agenda will be an auction in aid of Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT). Accommodation packages from esteemed Namibian lodges, as well as high-end merchandise, will go under the hammer to raise funds for the Trust. Simson Uri-Khob, CEO of SRT, expressed his gratitude for the continued support of Rand Merchant Bank Namibia, the presenting partner of the Brandberg Backyard Ultra, as well as race partners such as Gondwana Collection, Daosa Africa, Journeys Namibia, Sandfontein Lodge and Nature Reserve, Natural Selection, Klein Aus Vista, Namibia Breweries, Habitat Home Decor, Cymot Namibia and NutriTech Namibia.