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From Jennifer Murray

From Jennifer Murray

Jennifer Murrau at the start of the race

"In May 2009, Jennifer Murray, known to the Friends as an intrepid sledger decided on a different challenge ..."

The Namibia 250km ultra marathon is a comfortable memory of four and a half months ago. The pain and exhaustion are now secondary to the camaraderie, the esprit, the glorious scenery and challenge of testing oneself to the limit and beyond. Just being in Namibia, going down into the great Fish River Canyon (second biggest and deepest canyon in the world after Grand Canyon), covering endless miles of the Namib desert, clambering over the dunes that few people have ever visited (diamond country) to finally reach our final campsite on the Skeleton Coast was an incredibly special experience. The downside was carrying a back pack weighing 9 kilos over very tough terrain (I lost eight toenails and three kilos), arriving at the next campsite well after dark, dehydration, nausea, 5.30am wake-ups, no washing facilities, a diet of freeze dried food and very basic loo facilities.

We took off each morning at 8am – first day was in and out of the Canyon – a mere 39 kms. The trouble was you needed to be a mountain goat. We were firmly told, 'no overtaking.' It was a single track and steep but OK, the canyon floor was beautiful, even wet feet as we went in and out of the river was good, but getting out of the canyon took forever with some scary ascents – my little group were some of the last to stumble into camp - at 11.15pm. So not much sleep that night.Cliff face

The next day was a little less tough but we still didn't make camp until 9.30pm and in May in Namibia, night falls at 5.30pm, so lots of scrambling over rocky ground with head torches bobbing looking for the next 'glo stick marker that the team organizers place at 100 meter intervals. Namibia seems to be comprised of sharp rocks and soft sand.

It was tough, really tough and I regret to say that I collapsed under a scorching midday sun (43°C) on the fourth day, just 20kms into the '100 kms' leg.

Looking back on it now it's hard to believe that I couldn't have pulled in a little more something from somewhere and stumbled on through the day and endless night. At the time I kept on reminding myself that this is all mental, when you think your body has given up you find a new reserve and then another, but it just never happened. I did however manage to complete the final two days.Jennifer Murray on the Skeleton Coast

But as I failed to finish all stages and with the passage of time lulling the senses I've gone and signed up for the Sahara marathon on 25th October. I must be mad! If you would like to follow the race, log on to there are constant updates and daily results on all competitors.

I would once again like to thank all those who supported me by giving so generously to The Scott Polar Research Institute.

The winner, Salvador Redondo completed the 250kms in 25.47.32 hours. The last person to complete all Stages, Kyong Tae Song took 78.21.40 hours. Only 167 contestants out of 215 completed all Stages. Racing the Planets donated all remaining medical equipment to the hospital in Luderitz. They also make a very generous donation to a charity chosen by the Namibian Government.