4/5 May 2024 Klipspringer 2024 Northern Cape South Africa

2024 Pre-race Briefing #1

race briefing #1

Across the breadth of South Africa’s spectacular remote Northern Cape Province, a timeless struggle plays out. The life-giving Orange River snakes its way through the red sands of the incredible Kalahari Desert on its way to the icy Atlantic Ocean. At the very heart of this forbidding landscape the water squeezes through a narrow granite gap and tumbles 200ft to a thundering pool below. At the bottom of this churning cauldron, some say, lives a giant snake. But this is no ordinary serpent. This is the legendary Augrabies Watersnake. A powerful mythical creature with mesmeric eyes, shimmering scales and a huge flawless diamond on its head for a crown. Ancient local tribes believed that this enormous jewel can bring great wealth, happiness and eternal life – if you could only outwit the snake. But fall under its spell and you’ll be captured in its shimmering scales and pulled underwater into the churning froth, gone forever.

No one has ever outwitted the snake.

Dare The Desert! Live The Legend!

(Thanks to karoospace.co.za for some of the info behind the legend)

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3 weeks and counting!

For those new to the Klipspringer, we found that even before the pandemic turned everything virtual, our electronic Pre-race Briefings were a very popular and useful method of communication before the event. It’s a great way to provide news, updates, race requirements and changes. It is also a convenient place to put out some race tips, which many of you have asked for, and some training tips for those entrants who are relatively new to trail running. All of the important info will also be put up on the race website and Facebook Page. And of course, as usual, please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any specific questions you may have.


Remember only Paid Entries are confirmed. If you have entered but not yet paid we cannot guarantee you a spot as we fill up. As always, in terms of our agreement with SANParks, numbers are limited so don’t dawdle! Similarly if you’ve entered but your friends have not yet, make sure you remind them ASAP to avoid them being disappointed. Subject to capacity entries close midnight Sunday 21 April 2024. Entries can be found here.

Compulsory & Recommended Equipment

Being a desert run in winter, one of the upsides of being virtually guaranteed no rain is that it makes it easy to compile the compulsory equipment list – water, phone, whistle and space blanket! Challenge competitors will be required to carry a minimum of 1.5 litres of water from the Start, and Lite competitors a minimum of 1 litre. Why? The idea is that runners have sufficient water to get them from watering station to watering station. It is properly DRY and often very HOT out there, even at this time of the year. For most of us running in the desert, it is not even a thought that this 1.5 litres could last for the whole race. For you racing snakes used to running with very little water and then hydrating like mad at the Finish, this includes you! Regarding space blankets, remember that much of the precaution around the idea of having a Compulsory Kit requirement is not aimed at your perfect running day but rather that day where things go wrong. A missed step and a broken leg on an inaccessible stretch of trail, shock sets in and your core body temperature plummets – even in +30C that space blanket can literally save your (or somebody else’s) life. Please also note that we said that we are “virtually” guaranteed of a dry run. We are unfortunately suffering the unpredictable effects of climate change, so as we all know, anything could happen. Final kit requirements will thus only be confirmed closer to the time. See full Compulsory and Recommended Equipment List here.

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Carry Your Own

As we have for the past few years, runners will be required to carry their own drinking containers. The idea here is to significantly reduce the Klipspringer footprint on our uniquely pristine environment. Runners will need to carry EITHER their own hydration packs OR portable / collapsible cups OR their own flasks or water bottles. Runners will be allowed to use normal disposable plastic water bottles which although not ideal are definitely recyclable AND by definition they are then no longer “single-use”.


We are proud to tell you that the Klipspringer field of runners ranges from some of the most experienced and accomplished trail runners in the country to road runners who are completely new to the joys and demands of trail running. As such, many of you may know a lot of the training and race tips that we will be sharing from time to time, but hopefully some of you may find them useful. For more comprehensive info check out Training Tips

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Race Tip #1: Footwear and Accessories

This is true Kalahari Desert trail running. It is hot, hard and technical. We do not prescribe specific footwear, and certainly would not want to impose on those hard-core barefoot runners, but we do ask that you take your footwear seriously for this race. Protect your feet! In addition, being the desert, expect to run through a fair amount of soft sand which can get into your shoes. It shouldn’t be a major problem, but it does cause some discomfort as it builds up. It is quite fine sand so it also tends to get into your socks, which wastes time having to stop to take off shoes & socks to get rid of it. Gators might help but we find that sometimes they add some discomfort and extra weight, and often don’t actually cover the parts of the shoe where the sand gets in. Test them before Race Day! If you have a choice of shoes to wear, look for ones that are less likely to let sand in through the actual material.

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Training Tip #1: Train with Weight

Train with your hydration pack. As any trail runner who has run for more than a couple of hours with their pack knows, it really helps to have your back, neck and shoulders conditioned to the extra weight. This is even becoming a thing for road runners as more and more road events go green and require participants to be more self-sufficient and less reliant on those awful plastic sachets. We recommend that you estimate how much weight you will be carrying on race day, and add a couple of kilograms for training runs. It is also important to get comfortable with your pack in terms of sizing, strapping, zips and pockets, and the actual hydration refill system – you don’t want to be finding stuff out on Race Day!

That’s it for now. Good luck with this important training period, and as always feel free to shout with any questions.

Looking forward to seeing you all in the Desert!

Warren & the Klipspringer Team

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