Ka­la­ha­ri trek for good cau­se

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - News - S­te­fan Goo­sen P­ho­tos: Sup­p­lied

"I did it. I ma­na­ged to cross the fi­nish li­ne!" Tho­se we­re the ju­bi­lant words from Na­dia Arndt from Mos­sel Bay, who re­cent­ly took on the gru­el­ling 19th Ka­la­ha­ri Augra­bies Ex­tre­me Ma­ra­thon (KAEM) - not on­ly to be a­ble to say she com­ple­ted the self­suf­fi­cient, se­ven-day 250km ra­ce in the de­sert her­self but for a good cau­se to boot.

Arndt don­ned her com­pe­ti­tor's cap for t­his y­e­ar's KAEM - af­ter as­sis­ting with the ra­ce's or­ga­ni­sing o­ver the past 19 y­e­ars - to help a fel­low run­ner who lost his leg y­e­ars ago, to a­gain ta­ke on ra­cing com­for­ta­bly.

Her com­ple­ti­on of the KAEM, held from 20 Oc­to­ber in the Ka­la­ha­ri De­sert in the vi­ci­ni­ty of the Augra­bies Falls on the Oran­ge Ri­ver, has broug­ht Sed­ge­field lo­cal and a­vid Par­krun com­pe­ti­tor, 70-y­e­ar-old Da­ve W­rig­ht, a step clo­ser to ha­ving a run­ning prost­he­sis of his own.

W­rig­ht has com­pe­ted in c­lo­se to 170 Par­kruns to da­te, all with an e­ver­y­day prost­he­sis.

He lost his leg in 2011 in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent.

'I ha­ve two legs, two feet'

Back at her ho­me in Mos­sel Bay, Arndt said that re­a­li­ty is slo­w­ly set­ting in af­ter the ra­ce. "T­hin­king of the the one 78km day which took 26 hours, I re­a­li­se one thing that kept me going and that I re­pe­a­ted o­ver and o­ver a­gain, was 'I ha­ve two legs; I ha­ve two feet.'

"W­hat a pri­vi­le­ge to ha­ve had the op­por­tu­ni­ty of par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the e­vent, e­ven though I wal­ked the w­ho­le way," Arndt ad­ded.

Arndt star­ted a Back-a-Bud­dy cam­paign to as­sist W­rig­ht. At the ti­me of going to print al­most R35 000 had been rai­sed, she said, ad­ding that mo­re spon­sors­hips would be co­ming in with the as­sis­tan­ce of prost­he­tist Al­lan Oa­tes.

"Al­lan has ma­na­ged to se­cu­re so­me spon­sors­hip from his si­de as well so he will start ma­king Da­ve's leg," Arndt said.

A prost­he­sis such as t­his can cost be­t­ween R120 000 and R150 000, de­pen­ding on w­hat is nee­ded. Ac­cor­ding to a KAEM press re­le­a­se, the ra­ce, kno­wn as the "Big Dad­dy" of ul­tra-trail ma­ra­thons, saw 56 run­ners from 12 coun­tries ta­ke on the Ka­la­ha­ri De­sert.

At the end of the week-long batt­le with the e­le­ments it was two South A­fri­cans who ro­se a­bo­ve the rest. Ben­nie Roux fi­nis­hed first in 24 hours 11 mi­nu­tes, w­hi­le E­ri­ca Ter­blan­che, the 2002 win­ner, took first pla­ce in the wo­men's ra­ce with 28 hours 49 mi­nu­tes. Alt­hough the cam­paign is now clo­sed, said Arndt, a­nyo­ne who wants to add to the funds rai­sed can con­tact her (na­[email protected]) and she will for­ward the ne­ces­sa­ry de­tails.

A per­fect pla­ce to ta­ke a bre­at­her. Na­dia Arndt ta­kes in the sce­ne­ry du­ring the ra­ce. INSET: Na­dia Arndt

Af­ter a long day out in the Ka­la­ha­ri, Na­dia Arndt ta­kes a b­re­ak.

Ah, that’s a re­lief. Na­dia Arndt fi­nal­ly re­le­a­ses fi­ve x two litt­le pig­gies af­ter a hard day’s trek.

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