Sometimes dreams do come true.
The inaugural Addo2Fish Marathon was hosted on Amakhala Game Reserve over the weekend of 21st May, four years after this idea came to life.
We had 40 much-needed millimetres of rain on Thursday night, and more on Friday. This gave the runners a crisp, fresh landscape, and lots of mud puddles to run through! It also meant route changes had to be made as safety vehicles would not be able to reach their original points.
A second route change was dictated by two female lions, so a flatter run than planned was the order of the day. The lion excitement continued with a male moving parallel to the route for the first 5km. Additional resources were allocated to monitor his movement, which meant the runners had the thrill of knowing a lion was nearby, but comfort in the presence of rangers and the anti-poaching team.
The excitement didn’t end there, as two elephant bulls moved right onto the route while the runners were on the reserve, and were joined by a small herd of buffalo. Another neat route adjustment was efficiently effected mid-race, and the last 5 runners were driven for a short section which was the only way to bypass the situation and adhere to the race safety protocols.
Hartebeest, Zebra and Giraffe also played made an appearance, and a lot of the other animals dutifully appeared for the evening game drive so the runners could see there had been more on-route support than they were aware of.
The lodges manned the aid stations and what a treat they were – with freshly baked banana bread, oat cookies and fudge, steak tortillas and butter melting over roesterkoek braaied right at the aid station. There was a 1920s safari-themed aid station, and even a luxurious safari picnic at another with warm towels! The marathon also went through Hlosi Lodge camp as their second aid station and all runners were treated at “The Oasis” at Woodbury Tented Camp with all manner of liquid nourishment on offer to see them through their final 5km.
The final section before the lamb spit braai at Sidbury Club was running in the river bed under the N2. This is where the Bushman’s River Wildlife Underpass will be built, allowing animals to move freely between the two sections of Amakhala, tangible evidence of an effective solution to significant infrastructure’s impact on the vision to open the area for free movement of wildlife.
The day ended with a game drive on the reserve and a night of celebrations around the fire and in Tick’s Pub. Addo2Fish 2022 was brought to a close with the Sunday morning game drive before we enjoyed another 30-degree day. What a time to be in the Eastern Cape and what an amazing event and vision to be part of. Learn more about this and be part of it all at https://bemovedcollective.org/rhinos-and-restoration/.