May 17, 2009

Spaniard leads Namibia ultra-marathon

Salvador Caldo Redondo of Spain won the first stage of the Racing the Planet: Namibia 2009 ultra-marathon Sunday, in which contestants will run 150 miles.

Race officials said Redondo arrived at the race's first camp after 12 hours, 24 minutes of running through Namibia's desert landscape, later joined by other runners around a fire. In second place was South African runner Ryan Sandes, while Lucy Hilton of Britain led the women's field.

The race, which is the equivalent of five consecutive marathons, requires runners to carry all the food they need for the six-day competition in backpacks and to fend for themselves in 120-degree heat, CNN reported, adding that racers are issued whistles to summon help should they encounter wild animals.

It's the worst economy in years, and the world seems like it's falling apart, yet there is this real thirst out there to do this, Mary Gadams, Racing the Planet's director, told the U.S. broadcaster. Maybe when everything that you defined yourself by in the 'normal' world isn't so stable, some people want to rediscover who they are outside of 'normal.' They want an incredible experience.