Day 1 – Pietermaritzburg City Hall to Allendale

  • 35°C

    Temperature

  • 81 KM

    Daily Run

  • 81 KM

    Total Distance

  • 2521 M

    Ascent

  • 2500 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

We have arrived in a piece of heaven called Allendale in the middle of nowhere.

In love with South Africa even more after today. It wasn’t an easy day on the legs but we pushed on for an additional 20kms from the schedule. The temperature reached around 35 degrees. We had ab it of everything today – dirt rocky roads, 6ft tall grass, long climbs & descents and best of all continual epic views. I am not sure if I’ve already developed a nice tan or I’m simply very dirty (think it’s the later). Mimi Anderson was a gem & shouted ‘marvelous’ all over the place – we are a good team!!

Our crew rocked & got into the groove quickly. Star of the day was our security officer Ignatious ‘iggy’. He ran around 15kms with us in jeans & opened every gate for us – what a gentleman. He put the safe in security by being super vigilant – we are lucky to have him with us for the month.

Day 2 – Allendale to Centocow Mission

  • 35°C

    Temperature

  • 51 KM

    Daily Run

  • 131 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1275 M

    Ascent

  • 1288 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Day 2 is done. 51km – now 17.5km ahead of schedule.

Our goal is to reduce the mileage for our Day 4 to a 90km+ day. The first section of today was pretty easy but on a harsh tar road that had plenty of cars zooming by quite close. Our crew was fab in driving behind us with their hazards on.

The second half of the day was spectacular with constant ups & downs with knock out views. We had a group of school boys run with us for a bit. Our bodies are feeling good & spirits are high. Tom did 10k with us today – working hard on getting a tan on his legs by wearing his short shorts.

We are heading back to our night 1 accommodation in Allendale for a late lunch & relax time before an early sleep. Rising around 3:45am tomorrow morning.

Thanks to everyone for your lovely support, means so much to us.

Love Sam & Mimi

Day 3 – Centocow Mission to Ntsikeni (May Lodge)

  • 33°C

    Temperature

  • 62 KM

    Daily Run

  • 194 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1707 M

    Ascent

  • 1191 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

What a day! I almost don’t know how to describe it.

I think I cried in joy three times with happiness for our surroundings. We were away from the car for 51kms and that meant endless mountains, incredible scenery, river crossings & wildlife. We entered a game reserve and saw an insanely giant Herron and so many antelope & wilderbeasts. Mimi initially told me the wilderbeast was a buffalo so I had a nice freak out and hid behind Mat. Thanks Mimi for increasing my heart rate.

At times there was no trail so we went in circles trying to find which way to go. I had a pretty low patch with 17kms to go – stomach issues and struggling to keep fluids down. Mimi and Mat were really good. I had to grab my iPod to go into my own world in this magical scenery & pushed on with a decent pace.

We now have an hour drive to our accommodation as we ran an additional 30kms past it. We are staying in a lodge in the game reserve – the owner said he’s never seen people run to the front door. This place is incredible.

Day 4 – Ntsikeni (May Lodge) to Glen Edward (Banchory)

  • 33°C

    Temperature

  • 67 KM

    Daily Run

  • 261 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1289 M

    Ascent

  • 1463 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Nice and steady first 12kms with mild temperature and terrain. Both of our bodies have been feeling good but we made a promise to each other to consume more calories from the start.

Our crew is more of a delight with each passing day. So lovely to pass the vehicle to their silly cheers and dances. The downside of today was the rocks that covered the trail for what seemed like endless kilometres. Rock jumping turns to awkward running in an attempt to minimise pain to the body and ankles.

We are happy today is over. Legs in the air, protein shake at our side and a couple of S&V chippies. I won’t think of running until Mat gives us the briefing on tomorrow’s trail tonight. That’s at least 60 minutes away.

Love Sam & Mimi

Day 5a – Glen Edward (Banchory) to Masakala

  • 33°C

    Temperature

  • 57 KM

    Daily Run

  • 318 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

A chilly day with several drizzly moments.

We spent a lot of the day running through villages. There are pros & cons with this. Being Sunday, we passed churches with beautiful music being sung, men who had yet gone to sleep from Saturday night festivities and the rock surface was a constant feature.

We had a 13km section away from the car which Tom joined us on. We passed several men watching after sheep, goats & horses.

Tonight we are staying in a nature reserve and the view is epic. My body feels good and I kept up the mantra ‘strong mind, healthy body’ today.

Day 5b – Masakala to Mparane

  • 33°C

    Temperature

  • 67 KM

    Daily Run

  • 318 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1289 M

    Ascent

  • 1463 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Nice and steady first 12kms with mild temperature and terrain. Both of our bodies have been feeling good but we made a promise to each other to consume more calories from the start.

Our crew is more of a delight with each passing day. So lovely to pass the vehicle to their silly cheers and dances. The downside of today was the rocks that covered the trail for what seemed like endless kilometres. Rock jumping turns to awkward running in an attempt to minimise pain to the body and ankles.

We are happy today is over. Legs in the air, protein shake at our side and a couple of S&V chippies. I won’t think of running until Mat gives us the briefing on tomorrow’s trail tonight. That’s at least 60 minutes away.

Love Sam & Mimi

Day 6a – Mparane to Malekgalonyane

  • 33°C

    Temperature

  • 65 KM

    Daily Run

  • 382 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1697 M

    Ascent

  • 1599 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Loooonnnngg day for the distance but our most technical day so far.

We started in the dark with rain, thunder and lightening. My tummy was a real mess – think I had too much lentil bean soup last night. Rather unfortunate that the water in our accommodation wasn’t working.

The rain subsided as the sun came up and we peeled off the layers. Most of today was off the district roads and we were away from our support car. With every hill we climbed, we were rewarded with spectacular views. Mimi is getting so much better with the rocks – she calls herself the nana goat, which I guess makes me the Kid. Some of our descents from the mountains were pretty wild – lots of clambering, bum sliding and assisting each other down..

In the last 10km, Mimi took a fall (on non technical ground) and landed right on her nose. There was blood involved but she took it on the nose.  My belly is on the swollen side – which Mimi refuses to rub.

Another technical day tomorrow. Thanks for the support and messages from Vanessa and Hedge - they put me in the right frame of mind when I woke this morning.

Love Sam & Mimi

Gallery

Day 6b – Malekgalonyane to Tinana Mission

  • 33°C

    Temperature

  • 65 KM

    Daily Run

  • 383 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1697 M

    Ascent

  • 1599 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Loooonnnngg day for the distance but our most technical day so far.

We started in the dark with rain, thunder and lightening. My tummy was a real mess – think I had too much lentil bean soup last night. Rather unfortunate that the water in our accommodation wasn’t working.

The rain subsided as the sun came up and we peeled off the layers. Most of today was off the district roads and we were away from our support car. With every hill we climbed, we were rewarded with spectacular views. Mimi is getting so much better with the rocks – she calls herself the nana goat, which I guess makes me the Kid. Some of our descents from the mountains were pretty wild – lots of clambering, bum sliding and assisting each other down..

In the last 10km, Mimi took a fall (on non technical ground) and landed right on her nose. There was blood involved but she took it on the nose.  My belly is on the swollen side – which Mimi refuses to rub.

Another technical day tomorrow. Thanks for the support and messages from Vanessa and Hedge - they put me in the right frame of mind when I woke this morning.

Love Sam & Mimi

Day 6c – Tinana Mission to Vuvu

  • 33°C

    Temperature

  • 65 KM

    Daily Run

  • 383 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1697 M

    Ascent

  • 1599 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Loooonnnngg day for the distance but our most technical day so far.

We started in the dark with rain, thunder and lightening. My tummy was a real mess – think I had too much lentil bean soup last night. Rather unfortunate that the water in our accommodation wasn’t working.

The rain subsided as the sun came up and we peeled off the layers. Most of today was off the district roads and we were away from our support car. With every hill we climbed, we were rewarded with spectacular views. Mimi is getting so much better with the rocks – she calls herself the nana goat, which I guess makes me the Kid. Some of our descents from the mountains were pretty wild – lots of clambering, bum sliding and assisting each other down..

In the last 10km, Mimi took a fall (on non technical ground) and landed right on her nose. There was blood involved but she took it on the nose.  My belly is on the swollen side – which Mimi refuses to rub.

Another technical day tomorrow. Thanks for the support and messages from Vanessa and Hedge - they put me in the right frame of mind when I woke this morning.

Love Sam & Mimi

Day 7 – Vuvu to Rhodes

  • 18°C

    Temperature

  • 53 KM

    Daily Run

  • 437 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1710 M

    Ascent

  • 1602 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Feeling quite shaky as I write today’s update.

It was a tough day for me from the get go. We were all scattered out last night in separate home stays. It was a nice idea but it made for a super disjointed morning. I didn’t sleep much during the night because my tummy had some awful cramps. I’ve been managing this problem since Day 2 but today the front of my right foot was also tender and swollen. We forced ourselves to eat something and we were off. My foot pain increased so Mat strapped it and we slowly continued.

8kms later and we began our climb up the highest point of the Freedom Trail  - roughly 2,700m. Tom joined Mimi and me for this leg. The views were spectacular & I like this type of terrain but I was hurting. It got super windy up top and we were moving on a narrow ridge – Mimi felt quite nervous so I gave her one of my poles.

The boys had a 3 hour driving detour to meet us and we intercepted 5 mins after they arrived. The descent was windy, wet and painful. Both of us were frozen and silent over the last 18kms – the first time of this trip. We didn’t stop once as we were in big need of a shower and warm bed – such luxuries.

Today was a reminder that this is going to be tough but for now let’s celebrate the end of our first week.

Day 8 – Rhodes to Chesneywold

  • 32°C

    Temperature

  • 59 KM

    Daily Run

  • 496 KM

    Total Distance

  • 2123 M

    Ascent

  • 2130 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

After an amazing physio treatment by Sunelle, a phone call with my coach Ray Zahab and dosing my body with loads of good stuff – my tummy felt loads better and my mind was more accepting that pain is normal.

Mimi and I were joined for the first 15kms by Hylton Dunn – such a treat for us to have his company. The terrain was undulating and we went up to 2000m but it was far easier than our past 2 days.

Our crew spoilt me with mashed potatoes, flax seed oil and Himalayan sea salt at the 40k point (la di da and very delightful). Mimi had a banana & a coffee – she was in heaven.

Tyler finally put the camera down and ran 8kms with us. Max did the final 5kms and Tom ate a lot of cookies and didn’t run. Mathieu had three naps and ran 12kms.

Want to thank everyone for your messages last night. They really hit the spot.

Love Sam & Mimi

Day 9 – Chesneywold to Slaapkranz (Rust de Winter)

  • 32°C

    Temperature

  • 49 KM

    Daily Run

  • 544 KM

    Total Distance

  • 804 M

    Ascent

  • 829 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

The first 10kms was on the road which was pretty blah. Particularly for the boys in the car who had to drive behind us. Mimi Anderson and I decided to spice up their morning so we mooned them (yes my influence). This activity increased Mimi’s heart-rate more than the entire run.

The rest of the run was on beautiful district road surrounded by mountains. We saw a herd of impala & loads of sheep again.

Tyler backed up his efforts from yesterday and did another 9kms, he’s pins are getting massive! Tom wanted to keep his running average up so he ran the last 11kms. The question is who will run more by the end – Tom or Tyler? Mathieu Doré may lose his 8 pack if he keeps eating pudding & custard. Max is still our favourite knowing where everything in the car is and preparing our drinks to perfection.

Last night we slept in an old style house owned by the captain of the police station Minky. Today we are sleeping in a farm house. Love how we are seeing the true South Africa in all of it’s colours.

Love Sam & Mimi

Day 10 – Slaapkranz (Rust de Winter) to Moordernaarspoort

  • 31°C

    Temperature

  • 54 KM

    Daily Run

  • 602 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1547 M

    Ascent

  • 1810 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Another shorter day and we also celebrated entering into the 600′s.

Last night we stayed with a farming family – who own a 3,000 hectare sheep and cattle farm. They welcomed the seven of us into their home and family with warm beds (with electric blankets), hearty food (for the first time I was given an actual veggie meal as opposed to just sides) and lovely conversation. By the end of the night, Max was playing piano with the kids.

This morning was a chilly 2 degrees. Dressed in many layers, we left the farm and were greeted to purple coloured clouds over the mountains. It was an incredible scene.

Mimi’s asthma played up with the dry cold air and we had to regulate our pace to assist her breathing (roughly doing 9kms an hour on the rocky ground).

My tummy started to do back flips again and I had two occasions were I was on all fours heaving and vomiting. Mimi was super great and let me have my moment to compose myself before we ran off again.

What I’ve learnt so far on this trip is that no matter how bad it gets it tends to improve – so you just need to calmly ride out those tough moments. I felt on top of the world in the final 18kms  and felt so happy that the back flips subsided.

Mind and spirit feeling strong for both Mimi and me. Physically, we’ve both lost a little weight, which is to be expected.

Tom and Mathieu ran 13kms and Max did 4. We’ve finished for the day and I’ve challenged the boys to do push ups to see if they are real men. I did 10 to kick off the challenge – they all passed.

Gallery

Day 11a – Moordernaarspoort to Vaalbank (Kranskop)

  • 24°C

    Temperature

  • 62 KM

    Daily Run

  • 664 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1555 M

    Ascent

  • 1712 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Last night’s stay was amazing. Great set up for us and we were treated to a beautiful feed. We wound down our running legs with a viewing of Hunger Games before an 8 hour sleep.

It was 1.5 degrees when we started but it warmed up to a beautiful 24 degrees. Today can be described by wide open spaces with lovely hills all around us.

We did 12k through private land where we saw antelope and a newborn calf. Plenty of fences to squeeze our bodies into.

We are loving how the scenery is changing and the different families we have been staying with each night. The last few kms before we reach our destination we all wonder what it will look like. We have another beauty tonight and currently having cups of tea and chats with the owners.

Tom Bell & Mathieu Doré ran 12kms with us, Tyler Young 5kms.

Tom and Steve treated Mimi and me to a rather ‘interesting’ dance to celebrate the countdown to our last 10kms. They are trying very hard to get their upper thigh tan.

Tummy was very good today.

Gallery

Day 11b – Vaalbank (Kranskop) to Brosterlea

  • 24°C

    Temperature

  • 62 KM

    Daily Run

  • 664 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1555 M

    Ascent

  • 1712 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Last night’s stay was amazing. Great set up for us and we were treated to a beautiful feed. We wound down our running legs with a viewing of Hunger Games before an 8 hour sleep.

It was 1.5 degrees when we started but it warmed up to a beautiful 24 degrees. Today can be described by wide open spaces with lovely hills all around us.

We did 12k through private land where we saw antelope and a newborn calf. Plenty of fences to squeeze our bodies into.

We are loving how the scenery is changing and the different families we have been staying with each night. The last few kms before we reach our destination we all wonder what it will look like. We have another beauty tonight and currently having cups of tea and chats with the owners.

Tom Bell and Mathieu Doré ran 12kms with us, Tyler Young 5kms.

Tom and Steve treated Mimi and me to a rather ‘interesting’ dance to celebrate the countdown to our last 10kms. They are trying very hard to get their upper thigh tan.

Tummy was very good today.

Gallery

Day 12 – Brosterlea to Wegkoppies

  • 24°C

    Temperature

  • 51 KM

    Daily Run

  • 715 KM

    Total Distance

  • 663 M

    Ascent

  • 880 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

We made our distance but we had intentions of doing another 14k to reduce tomorrow’s more technical and long day.

First 30k went down a treat & then my VMO started to feel tighter. I stopped to roll it out and progressively over the next couple of kilometres it got more painful. We called our physio, Jane Cable, who guided Mathieu to do some acupuncture and apply some strapping to it. It was a tad of an ordeal but Mat was amazing. We walked the final 10ish kms and opted not to do the additional kilometres to get it sorted.

I’m feeling a bit nervous about this but, under Mat’s stern words, I’m keeling my energy for positive heeling thoughts. My 29 year old body is a lot weaker than Mimi’s 52 year old bod.

Gallery

Day 13 – Wegkoppies to Romansfontein

  • 30°C

    Temperature

  • 73 KM

    Daily Run

  • 788 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • 3 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

A good day had by runners and crew. With the advice of Jane and Ross Kinsella and treatment by Mat/crew, I felt worlds better this morning. I felt tentative for the first couple of kilometres but, after feeling strong on the 20km technical section, I regained some confidence.

That technical section was beautiful. We went through a private property and literally went up a mountain and down the other side. The crew made friends with a farmer on the other side of the mountain pass and chatted to him about South African farming practices while waiting for us. The descent was steady and steep at times but with fab views.

We drank ALOT of fluids with the temperature reaching 36 degrees.

Mathieu Doré ran 25kms
Tom Bell did his PB at 21kms
Tyler Young ran 11kms

Today I need to shout out to Mathieu. Not only my boyfriend but our head crew for the Freedom Runners expedition. He’s had his head all over the maps, the navigation and both the runners and crews safety. Yesterday he became my physio, nutritionist and looked after me in a big way. I really couldn’t do this without him. I owe you lots of chocolate cookies. I know what it means to me to have him here, so I can’t wait till Tim Anderson gets here for Mimi.

Thanks to my best Melbourne mates for their call the other morning. Love you all!

Day 13 – Romansfontein to Hofmeyr

  • 30°C

    Temperature

  • 73 KM

    Daily Run

  • 788 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

A good day had by runners and crew. With the advice of Jane and Ross Kinsella and treatment by Mat/crew, I felt worlds better this morning. I felt tentative for the first couple of kilometres but, after feeling strong on the 20km technical section, I regained some confidence.

That technical section was beautiful. We went through a private property and literally went up a mountain and down the other side. The crew made friends with a farmer on the other side of the mountain pass and chatted to him about South African farming practices while waiting for us. The descent was steady and steep at times but with fab views.

We drank ALOT of fluids with the temperature reaching 36 degrees.

Mathieu Doré ran 25kms
Tom Bell did his PB at 21kms
Tyler Young ran 11kms

Today I need to shout out to Mathieu. Not only my boyfriend but our head crew for the Freedom Runners expedition. He’s had his head all over the maps, the navigation and both the runners and crews safety. Yesterday he became my physio, nutritionist and looked after me in a big way. I really couldn’t do this without him. I owe you lots of chocolate cookies. I know what it means to me to have him here, so I can’t wait till Tim Anderson gets here for Mimi.

Thanks to my best Melbourne mates for their call the other morning. Love you all!

Day 14 – Hofmeyr to Elandsberg

  • 36°C

    Temperature

  • 62 KM

    Daily Run

  • 850 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

It was a hot one!! 36 degrees but we ran on a tar road so the heat was reflecting off the road. Felt so odd to be moving towards civilization and now Mimi and I are having a bowl of fruit & ice cream.

We saw some baboons who were stalking us out so Mimi decided to hide her camera.

Not much to report today – we were given jam and grated cheese sandwiches today on stale bread for lunch. Opted not to eat them …

The boys are doing workouts in between crewing us. They are very proud to report to us they have done 200 push-ups, squats, lunges in the past two days.

Gallery

Day 15 – Elandsberg to Stuttgart

  • 31°C

    Temperature

  • 56 KM

    Daily Run

  • 906 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

We are over half way!!! After a pretty rough start for me, I’m feeling loads stronger and healthier. We were told it would take around two weeks to feel adapted and whilst ‘adapted’ is an interesting way to look at it, I’m getting used to waking at 4am, running for up to 13 hours and going to bed by 8pm.

We ran into a game reserve yesterday and stayed with a lovely man called Neil. His home was something else and he treated the boys to beers whilst Mimi and I chilled on the porch with our legs up. We saw a sable antelope which was pretty cool.

Today was one of my favourite days. Lots of technical kilometres away from the support vehicle. After climbing for two hours, it looked as if the map had us going off the cliff. And that was kind of right – we scrambled down 500 metres over 1.2kms. So many rocks and stunning views everywhere we looked.

Tom Bell ran 33kms today – his furthest distance ever, very proud of him!!!

Our longest day in time out and we are sleeping in fab farm house tonight. I think chocolate cake is for desert tonight – pretty excited for that.

Even more excited that we are over half way. So grateful for all of the love and support..Sending big hugs from South Africa.

Gallery

Day 16 – Stuttgart to Grootdam

  • 32°C

    Temperature

  • 76 KM

    Daily Run

  • 982 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

We are over half way!!! After a pretty rough start for me, I’m feeling loads stronger and healthier. We were told it would take around two weeks to feel adapted and whilst ‘adapted’ is an interesting way to look at it, I’m getting used to waking at 4am, running for up to 13 hours and going to bed by 8pm.

We ran into a game reserve yesterday and stayed with a lovely man called Neil. His home was something else and he treated the boys to beers whilst Mimi and I chilled on the porch with our legs up. We saw a sable antelope which was pretty cool.

Today was one of my favourite days. Lots of technical kilometres away from the support vehicle. After climbing for two hours, it looked as if the map had us going off the cliff. And that was kind of right – we scrambled down 500 metres over 1.2kms. So many rocks and stunning views everywhere we looked.

Tom Bell ran 33kms today – his furthest distance ever, very proud of him!!!

Our longest day in time out and we are sleeping in fab farm house tonight. I think chocolate cake is for desert tonight – pretty excited for that.

Even more excited that we are over half way. So grateful for all of the love and support..Sending big hugs from South Africa.

Day 17 – Grootdam to Gegun

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 54 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1036 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

There are a couple of moments before I get out of bed – when I don’t know if my body will function once I stand up. Part of me wants to quickly get out of bed to find out and the other part of me wants to stay under the covers. After a challenging day terrain wise, I thought I would be sore but both feet, ankles, calves and quads all felt good. Hoorah and endless gratitude to my body for holding up.

We had a relatively easy 20km before a rocky and steep 4km. Mimi isn’t a fan of the rocks but has been getting better and better as we go on. I keep saying to her ‘light feet’ as we pass across the rocks and she responds ‘I will die if I’m light footed’.

Running side by side for over two weeks and we still chat constantly and are enjoying each other’s company – in the silent & chatty times.

When we reached our car, the boys were all beside the front tyre – to be expected with all these rocks & thorns, they got a puncture. Whilst they were sorting out what to do, we grabbed some food and drinks and headed off for a 16km section that would have us enter another game reserve. This was an AMAZING one – as soon as we entered through the gate a warthog ran right in front of us. So many antelope crossed the hills either side of us. I LOVE South Africa!!

The rest of the day went pretty smoothly. We are now sleeping in chalet tents and have a couple of hours left of the afternoon. I really have to pinch myself sometime to realise this is not a dream.

We are just under 1,000kms. Our route has been changed slightly on a couple of the days for safety, so our total mileage will be closer to 2,000kms.

Gallery

Day 18 – Gegun to Toekomst

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 74 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1110 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Getting into a car today and driving around Addo National Park (because we were prohibited from running through) felt so foreign. I got sleepy and hungry being in the car and realised our crew must feel like that often. Perhaps our diversion was forced on us to reinforce how lucky we are to have our always positive and cheery crew.

Prior to our roadblock, we did 17kms along a smooth surface around a dam. This was after a hilarious 27 minute 1st km when Mimi took us through a concentrated section of overgrown thorn bushes. These were the thorns that punctured our tyre yesterday. Once we finally made our way out, we saw the jeep track we should have been on. Winning start and I love that our overwhelming sense was of amusement rather than frustration.

Tyler Young ran this 17km with us. Such a trooper as this was the longest run he has ever done & he did it with a camera. Tom Bell can’t run with us as he’s hurt his ankle doing push ups … wtf!

Post detour we climbed up to a mountain ridge. The foliage was so lush and green. We haven’t seen that type of scenery this entire trip. Right after that we went down the valley to come back up again.

Mimi had two lambs come right up to her for a cuddle – I now call her the nanny goat who is the lamb whisperer.

Gallery

Day 19 – Toekomst to Kleinpoort

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 50 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1158 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Getting into a car today and driving around Addo National Park (because we were prohibited from running through) felt so foreign. I got sleepy and hungry being in the car and realised our crew must feel like that often. Perhaps our diversion was forced on us to reinforce how lucky we are to have our always positive and cheery crew.

Prior to our roadblock, we did 17kms along a smooth surface around a dam. This was after a hilarious 27 minute 1st km when Mimi took us through a concentrated section of overgrown thorn bushes. These were the thorns that punctured our tyre yesterday. Once we finally made our way out, we saw the jeep track we should have been on. Winning start and I love that our overwhelming sense was of amusement rather than frustration.

Tyler Young ran this 17km with us. Such a trooper as this was the longest run he has ever done & he did it with a camera. Tom Bell can’t run with us as he’s hurt his ankle doing push ups … wtf!

Post detour we climbed up to a mountain ridge. The foliage was so lush and green. We haven’t seen that type of scenery this entire trip. Right after that we went down the valley to come back up again.

Mimi had two lambs come right up to her for a cuddle – I now call her the nanny goat who is the lamb whisperer.

Gallery

Day 20 – Kleinpoort to Bucklands

  • 32°C

    Temperature

  • 58 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1216 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

A very Lord of the Rings-esque morning. We were running along the ridge line of mountains surrounded by lush green forest, rocky cliff faces, clouds, rainbows and sunshine. Yes it was that beautiful – then it rained, which perhaps made it even more epic.

23kms of very undulating terrain before we went away from the car on what would be our most technical section so far.

All of our bearings and points of references were inaccurate. We went through 11 river crossings – some which were waist high. Then we had to navigate through thick and dense six foot bamboo. It was slow and we tried to not let our minds wander to what may lie beneath the bamboo. It took over six hours to do 27kms. My legs are nicely shredded from all of the thorns, sticks and bamboo.

Our final stretch may have been challenging but we had a slight spring in our step because Mimi’s husband, my Mumsie, sister and best mate Callum were waiting for us at the Kudu Kaya chalets where we all spent the night together. Best moment ever.

Had a very girly evening with my Mum moisturizing my legs and my sister cutting my toenails. Must sound a little odd but it was just lovely.

Day 20 – Bucklands to Doornrivier

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 58 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1216 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

A very Lord of the Rings-esque morning. We were running along the ridge line of mountains surrounded by lush green forest, rocky cliff faces, clouds, rainbows and sunshine. Yes it was that beautiful – then it rained, which perhaps made it even more epic.

23kms of very undulating terrain before we went away from the car on what would be our most technical section so far.

All of our bearings and points of references were inaccurate. We went through 11 river crossings – some which were waist high. Then we had to navigate through thick and dense six foot bamboo. It was slow and we tried to not let our minds wander to what may lie beneath the bamboo. It took over six hours to do 27kms. My legs are nicely shredded from all of the thorns, sticks and bamboo.

Our final stretch may have been challenging but we had a slight spring in our step because Mimi’s husband, my Mumsie, sister and best mate Callum were waiting for us at the Kudu Kaya chalets where we all spent the night together. Best moment ever.

Had a very girly evening with my Mum moisturizing my legs and my sister cutting my toenails. Must sound a little odd but it was just lovely.

Very lord of the rings esque morning. We were running along the ridge line of mountains surrounded by lush green forest, rocky cliff faces, clouds, rainbows & sunshine. Yes it was that beautiful – then it rained, which perhaps made it even more epic.

23kms of very undulating terrain before we went away from the car on what would be our most technical section so far.

All of our bearings & points of references were inaccurate. We went through 11 river crossings – some which were waist high. Then we had to navigate through thick & dense 6 foot bamboo. It was slow & we tried to not let our minds wander to what may lie beneath the bamboo. It took over 6 hours to do 27kms. My legs are nicely shredded from all of the thorns, sticks & bamboo.

Our final stretch may have been challenging but we had a slight spring in our step because Mimi’s husband, my Mumsie, sister & best mate Callum were waiting for us at the Kudu Kaya chalets where we all spent the night together. Best moment ever.

Had a very girly evening with my Mum moisturizing my legs & my sister cutting my toenails. Must sound a little odd but it was just lovely..

Day 21 – Doornrivier to Kudu Khaya

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 78 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1294 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Big day and just sitting to eat now at 7:30pm – and that’s normally our bedtime. Beaut views and it reached 40 degrees today.

Thank you for all the birthday love. I haven’t had reception for days and seeing all of your messages, I’m more overwhelmed than I can express. Thank you, thank you.

I couldn’t ask to be in a more special place, doing what I love with people I adore. Grateful beyond belief.

It would be fantastic if you could support our initiative with Save the Children by donating $30. Would mean a lot. #sams30for30

Day 22 – Kudu Khaya to Damsedrif

  • 31°C

    Temperature

  • 83 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1377 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

I don’t know how this works after how much we’ve run but my running legs enjoyed the distance today & cooperated nicely. We finished just over 12 hours which includes our 30 minute lunch break.

I think having my Mum and sister here is very comforting; although I just farewelled my Mumsie as she heads home. Going to miss her smiley face and cuddles.

I can tell my emotions are a little more tender, although the body is holding up surprisingly well.

Forgot to shout out to great friends Max Beauchamp & Monique Woodward who had their bday yesterday.

It’s a 5am run start tomorrow so dinner, leg rub and zzzzz. Thank you for all of your support. I don’t get reception often but when I do and see your messages I just smile from ear to ear.

Big love from beautiful South Africa

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Day 23 – Damsedrif to Willowmore

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 58 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1435 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

After three days of close to 13 hour days, we opted for a shorter one today before another 82k day tomorrow. Although my body felt ok, I didn’t feel right this morning. Before the 20km mark, my vision was significantly limited. I ran behind Mimj to follow her footsteps and she would call out when there was an obstacle to be aware of. When we reached the car, I took a five minute break to get some more glucose in the body. Feeling a tad emotional, I continued on and my vision improved within the next 5km.

Contending with the harsh head wind and rain took a toll but we pushed on. When we got in the car, we had a 60 minute drive to our accommodation (which we have to run to tomorrow) and I fell asleep for the entire trip.

I keep thinking in amazement how my coach Ray Zahab ran for 115 days across the Sahara – I respect you even more after this and I didn’t think that was possible.

Mindset still positive. Just in need of a longer sleep tonight. Constantly keeping in my mind why I’m doing this – please head to freedomrunners.org for more info!

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Day 24 – Willowmore to Rondawel

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 85 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1520 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

With a big feed of fish, chips and salad for dinner I felt as if I woke up a different person from yesterday. Half of the crew had a sleep in and the rest of us woke at 3:40am to be at a start point by 5:30am. Knowing it was a big day ahead of us, we had to keep reigning in our speed so we wouldn’t burn out by the afternoon.

20k flew by and the chill in the air passed. The hills surrounding our path looked amazing and I felt much more calm and in a happy place. Crazy how things can change from day to day.

The body played no tricks on either of us today and there was lots of chatter – the music didn’t go on once.

We are into the single figures with eight days of running to go. Almost feels like a life time ago when we ran through Rhodes and Vuvu. This is one hell of a way to see a country. The people have been amazing wherever we have been.

Mimi is looking forward to sun baking on Louise’s porch whilst sipping down wine. I think it will take me two summers to get rid of my tshirt tan – forgive me for looking appalling at your wedding Vanessa Haywood & Hedge Hog.

Big hugs to Kimberly Dods for lending us her car – you are the best. xx

Thanks to David Jones for his fundraising initiative in Coogee! We still have some funds to raise before reaching our $50,000 – we would love your support in any sum https://donate.savethechildren.org.au/FreedomRunners.

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Day 24 – Rondawel to Prince Albert

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 85 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1520 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

With a big feed of fish, chips and salad for dinner I felt as if I woke up a different person from yesterday. Half of the crew had a sleep in and the rest of us woke at 3:40am to be at a start point by 5:30am. Knowing it was a big day ahead of us, we had to keep reigning in our speed so we wouldn’t burn out by the afternoon.

20k flew by and the chill in the air passed. The hills surrounding our path looked amazing and I felt much more calm and in a happy place. Crazy how things can change from day to day.

The body played no tricks on either of us today and there was lots of chatter – the music didn’t go on once.

We are into the single figures with eight days of running to go. Almost feels like a life time ago when we ran through Rhodes and Vuvu. This is one hell of a way to see a country. The people have been amazing wherever we have been.

Mimi is looking forward to sun baking on Louise’s porch whilst sipping down wine. I think it will take me two summers to get rid of my tshirt tan – forgive me for looking appalling at your wedding Vanessa Haywood & Hedge Hog.

Big hugs to Kimberly Dods for lending us her car – you are the best. xx

Thanks to David Jones for his fundraising initiative in Coogee! We still have some funds to raise before reaching our $50,000 – we would love your support in any sum https://donate.savethechildren.org.au/FreedomRunners.

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Day 25 – Prince Albert to Gamkaskloof

  • 32°C

    Temperature

  • 65 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1585 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1559 M

    Ascent

  • 1950 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Prins Albert to Gamkaskloof today. From our accommodation, we drove out to where we finished running the day before. It was darker at 5:30 and we did our usual 2km rugged up warm up. After 5km, we entered the Swartberg Pass road – freaking unbelievable. We were running through a red coloured canyon. It was so different from anything we have ever seen before. There were plenty of oohs and aaahs and potentially a tear of happiness between Mimi and I.

Then came the long ascent to the top of Swartberg Pass. I felt as if we were climbing to a castle and in my excitement I got carried away with a speedy powerhike – must be all my Donna Buang training with Nikki Wynd.

There were so many switchbacks and we could see the ridge that overlooked the Gamkasloof Valley for kilometres in advance. Both of us felt good – better than we should after our 84km run and for being on day 25.

It really was one of the most beautiful days – I’ve said this a lot and will probably say it again. Our path ultimately turned into a dead end for cars so it was crazy to see so many vehicles drive past us. I kept wondering what was ahead of us to have the interest of so many people.

As with every long ascent comes a long or steep descent. After we did this we had a 10km run through a lush and sandy valley.

Lots of confusion during this section on how far we had left. Mimi and I got a little frustrated as we could tell something was up and our first thought is that we had to run even longer. Once we finished, the boys let us know our accommodation wasn’t properly booked. Mathieu worked his magic & they were amazingly helpful.

The 9 of us slept in one room – like a mass sleepover. Love this place & our FreedomRunners family.

Day 26 – Gamkaskloof to Rouxpos

  • 32°C

    Temperature

  • 58 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1641 KM

    Total Distance

  • 1608 M

    Ascent

  • 1299 M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

We ran along a historical route today, with records of it’s use going back to the Anglo Boer War. After an undulating couple of kilometres along a valley, we began our big climb for the day. The climb was called The Ladder and we were clambering up rocks for 1.5km. The sun was beating down early and both Mimi and I felt our energy zapped and general energy levels low.
We stopped half way up to admire the views and eat some lollies. Callum Stowell & Tom Bell came with us on this 26km stretch and they went ahead so Mimi and I could manage our fatigue together. We passed loads of crops today, we occupied a couple of kilometres discussing what they may be.
It was a relief to see the vehicle 5.5 hours into our day. We had lunch and took off slowly. Finally our legs became lighter and our pace quickened. Although the mind was ways willing, the body enjoyed the last 40km. The wind picked up in the final few kilometres and I must be a tad weaker as I felt as if I was being thrown all over the place.
The relationship you develop whilst running this much with someone is just something else. Mimi and I really have become quite close. Of course, we’ve had the occasional challenge learning how to run together after only meeting once before, but I couldn’t do this without her. She’s been my rock and we know how to work together through the highs and lows. Today was another reminder of that through our mutual energy drain.
Ps. We saw our first sign to Cape Town…. Yeow!!!

Day 27 – Rouxpos to Anysberg

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 54 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1696 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Slight drive to our finish/start point as our accommodation was in town.

Things worked like clockwork – anyone would think we’ve packed cars with gear and nine people’s bags for 26 days now. Everyone has their own tasks and it just happens whilst Mimi and I eat our breakfast, dress and stretch. Sometimes I feel like I’m so lazy as I haven’t carried my big bag to the car for the entire trip. I’m sure Mat will remind me of this when one of us needs to get dessert when we are back home.

We ran to the farm Damfontein and turned left through a small valley. We had Callum Stowell, Mathieu Doré & Tyler Young with us for 20km whilst the car took the detour around. I spent most of that 20km chatting to Steve and time passed quickly. For someone who wasn’t able to run one kilometre because of shinsplints prior to this expedition, he’s been amazing when he comes running with us (and with the camera too).

Mimi and I did the final 27km alone and we couldn’t help but talk about our plans in Cape Town. They don’t include any running. Our approach this entire time has been one day at a time and then throw it away to start again. I received a great message from my friend Michael Chiovitti that worded it perfectly how we feel about our final few days - ’Your body will be stronger forever because of the last few weeks. Six days to go but anything can happen so don’t lose focus. It only takes one lapse in concentration for something to go wrong so take nothing for granted!’

Day 28 – Anysberg to Montagu

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 54 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1750 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Sleeping at a nature reserve last night where we woke to an incredible sunrise.

We are getting into a routine where Mimi andI start moderate each morning, have a zapped energy feeling six hours in and then we are rejuvenated after our lunch for the final hours. Mimi wasn’t a fan of the 30 minute lunch breaks early into the expedition (as she’s so used to minimal breaks from her world records) but I have converted her into loving them. It’s crazy how helpful it is to have that midway goal each day.

The weather was beaming down hard from 8am and there were lots of little climbs. To be honest, everything looks like a hill now. My left shin was a little tender this morning as was Mimi’s ITB. After a little trigger point work from Mat we were both as good as gold – well that is if gold looked like two weathered women. Seeing Linda Doke tomorrow, so excited!!!

Four days to go..

Love to all

Day 29 – Montagu to McGregor

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 67 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1817 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Our final longer day (in mileage – not necessarily time). It was made all the more special as we were joined by SA trail running extraordinaire Linda Doke. A touch of tar running which was exhausting on the mind as we are not used to contending with traffic. And then we hit vineyard country. Yummy!

I am saving my wine intake till Sat night but taking in the colourful roses was bliss.

Just had a phenomenal feed & now off to zzzz

Day 30 – McGregor to Kasra

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 51 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1868 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

An overcast morning as we went off road and ran through the clouds. We had Rory Stein join us on his mountain bike for the day. Rory has coordinated our safety and has been a huge part of our expedition. So lovely to have his company and hear about his time as Nelson Mandela’s head of security. I felt as if we were running with a man who has played a significant part of history.

Even though our bodies move slower at this stage, this distance is very manageable for us and we’ve finished with the afternoon to spare. Lots of big rocks to navigate through – thank you ankles for being kind to us.

We met a farmer whose property we were going through and he couldn’t get over the fact we’ve run from PMB.

Cass, Tom & Tyler all joined for different parts today. Everyone wants to soak in this amazing trail and country.

The near feels so close – it’s quite emotional thinking about it. I’ve really loved this. It’s been so hard but so simple at the same time.

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Day 31 – Kasra to Trouthaven

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • 54 KM

    Daily Run

  • 1922 KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

Oh my, oh my … one day of running to go.

The first half of today had a few hiccups – Mimi’s knee was catching and causing her discomfort so we stopped to get Mathieu to work his magic. He’s been such a gem on this trip – MASTER of all trades. Once that was sorted and warmed up we found ourselves on a tar road which is my idea of discomfort. We had a left turn approaching but a huge electrical fence was erected for kilometres – that meant we had to get the maps out and find another way.

Back on course and we were circumventing a mountain and somehow found ourselves running alongside Brandvlei Prison. We got stopped by the security guards on the other side who wanted to check that we didn’t take any footage of the prison.

With lunch always comes fresher legs and minds. The weather was in the mid 30′s with no wind – so plenty of sweating.

Then the best part of the day – a group of school girls ran behind us. One of them grabbed my hand and then the rest of them made a chain. It was so sweet running with them and really made my day. The bougainvillea flowers were in abundance and all different colours. We ran an additional 5km, which makes tomorrow a touch shorter.

Last day tomorrow. I don’t know where to begin on how I feel about it. I’m nearly ready to stop running but will not take a second for granted.

Thank you all for your love and support.

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Day 32 – Trouthaven to Diemersfontein

  • –°C

    Temperature

  • KM

    Daily Run

  • KM

    Total Distance

  • M

    Ascent

  • M

    Descent

Daily Highlights

We did it!!!

Speechless. It was the most technical day so we really had to work for that finish line.

Thanks to Eric for joining us through the thorns, water and mountain climbs.

So grateful for this experience and the people who made it possible. Love you all.

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