Why I will let the Wild Coast challenge me for as long as my legs can carry me
The year is 2015. The year I was going to conquer the running world. After running a qualifying time at the local Buffs Marathon, the scene was set for the Two Oceans Ultra in April and the Ultimate Race, the Comrades the end of May.
Enter the scene…the Dominator, Tiny Don Sims. Outside of Cycle HQ he introduced me to the RB Africa Wild Coast Challenge and convinced me that if I could complte 110 km’s of running over 3 days along the Wild Coast from Mazeppa Bay to Nahoon Beach, I could run anything. So, I accepted the challenge and on the 11th February 2015 the adventure began.
The next 3 days would be life changing as I discovered my love for trail running and formed lifelong friendships along the way.
At the start on the beautiful beach at Mazeppa Bay my mind was flooded with nervous thoughts of ‘don’t get lost’ and ‘always keep the sea on your left.’ Combined with the fact that I’m a diabetic and most of the time find myself isolated whilst running, I had to make sure that I was never alone. And alone I never was. The comradery and togetherness of not only the athletes, (and yes Joss you are an athlete) but everyone involved was an experience to behold.
I learnt some valuable lessons on my first WCC and I guess the most valuable was (contrary to Liam Victors advice) ‘never take your shoes off.’ After experiencing blisters on my first WCC, I have kept my shoes on and have never experienced a blister since.
After spending 3 days and nights, Mazeppa Bay to Seagulls, Seagulls to Haga Haga and Haga Haga to Nahoon with a group of people, a bond was formed, and we became known as “THE HERD”. A name that would stick with us after three and half years and will stick with us for years to come.
The only let down of the whole adventure was finishing in the mass of all the Surfers Challenge participants. This however changed in 2017 as the WCC had its own finish on Nahoon Beach.
So, what happened afterwards? Well I completed the Two Oceans and the Comrades and that cured me from running road ever again. From here on in it was only trails for me. I haven’t looked back and by the end of 2015 I couldn’t wait for WCC 2016. The field had grown and more opportunity to make new friends was upon us. WCC 2016 was once again the highlight of my running year and seeing old friends and welcoming new faces into The Herd is what RBA WCC is all about.
After finishing my second WCC I made a decision that I would let the Wild Coast challenge me for as long as my legs could carry me. It is definitely an experience every athlete should experience, whether you a runner, a walker, a cyclist, a surfer or just want to challenge yourself and experience the majesty of the Wild Coast.
This year I completed my 4th WCC with a field of just over 50 adventure seekers and each year has its own measure of “special beyond words.” 2019 will be my 5th WCC and second in aid of Breath of Life.
I can’t wait with Day 1 from Cwebe to Mazeppa, and then finishing at Crawfords in Chintsa 3 days later after 120 kms along this magnificent coastline. It’s going to be special and definitely worth every cent of the entry fee.
So, to end, I need to warn you. Don’t think that it’s a walk in the park. You will need to train so get included in the know how and train with the core members of The Herd, who will give you valuable tips and advice while getting fit for the experience of a lifetime…the RB AFRICA WILD COAST CHALLENGE.
Catch you out there…
By Andrew Rielly