UK runners Dr Andrew Murray and Donnie Campbell have successfully completed a first – running across the Namib desert from Luderitz to Walvis Bay, Namibia. The challenge was set three months ago by Scottish Expedition organiser David Scott, and supported by Lyprinol UK. The record breaking run crossed the highest sand dunes in the world including the formidable ‘Devil’s Workshop’, in punishing conditions with the pair running over 50km every single day, completing 504.1km in total almost entirely on punishing heavy sand, and crossing the finish line on day 9 of the expedition, at 1430 on 10th February 2015. The pair are no strangers to racing in extreme conditions, with Murray having completed an epic 4295 km run from north Scotland to the Sahara desert, and won races at the North Pole, Antartica and Outer Mongolia amongst others, while Campbell, a former Royal Marine Commando completed a 184 mile run from Glasgow to Skye without sleeping.
Speaking from Walvis Bay, Aberdonian Dr Murray 34, of Merrell UK said
“The Namib desert is, hands down both the most spectacular and gruelling place I’ve run in. Every step through the sand was energy sapping, and my feet are destroyed with blisters. We were in hefty trouble even after 2 days, but our support team and the incredible views got us to the finish. There were times every day I felt like stopping, but taking on many 300 metre dunes, passing shipwrecks miles inland, and seeing the suprising plethora of wildlife were particular highlights. We don’t advise everyone to run through the Namib, but would like to promote the value of exercise. Even 30 minutes of walking 5 times a week helps you live on average 7 years longer.”
Edinburgh resident Donnie Campbell, 30, added
Running 500 odd km though the Namib desert was extremely tough and we could not have done it without the expertise of our expedition leaders David Scott, Bert Jukes and the support and superb local knowledge from the team in Namibia. Their route selection was incredible considering no one has ever driven parts of the route never mind ran it, so this was a huge them effort to deliver Andrew and myself to Walvis Bay a bit battered, bruised and tired but still in one piece. We even ran through abandoned diamond mines, although my fiancee Rachael will be disappointed to learn I couldn’t find a big one ahead of our wedding next month!”
David Scott, from Glasgow added
“Three months ago I challenged Donnie and Andrew to deliver a World first – to run from Luderitz to Walvis Bay across the mighty Namib Desert, supported by a joint Scottish, South African and Namibian safety team. As expedition organiser I was faced with huge logistical and safety concerns which we tackled as team and overcame to a successful and, more importantly safe conclusion. The physical demands we placed on the guys were immense and throughout the challenge we were never certain we would emerge successful. Apart from seeing the guys cross over the finish line my lasting memory will surely be having the privilege of tackling terrain through special concession areas which had never been driven (or run) over before. We are indebted to Bert Jukes and Lyprinol for believing in this expedition, and supporting it from the outset. I am also indebted to our excellent African partners Live the Journey
and the Topnaar tribe for allowing us to pass through their stunning desert.’
Following the run, the team are now engaged in some community work and the sharing of medical and athletic equipment, and education in the Kuiseb river region with Chief Kooitjie and the local Topnaar Tribe, the custodians of the Namib desert work supported by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Lyprinol, and Merrell UK.