WINDHOEK, OCT. 25 – With only 45 days left to go for one of Namibia’s most unique sporting events, the 2018 edition of the Nedbank Desert Dash was officially launched on Tuesday, 23 October at the Grove Mall in Windhoek.
Known as the longest mountain race in the world, the Nedbank Desert Dash covers 369km on a mainly gravel road between Windhoek and Swakopmund, which must be completed within 24 hours. This year the event will kick off on Friday, 7 December at the Grove Mall in Windhoek and end on Saturday, 8 December at the Platz am Meer Shopping Mall in Swakopmund.
This is the fourth year Nedbank Namibia is sponsoring this unique event. Speaking at the launch, Nedbank Namibia Executive for Retail and Business Banking, Richard Meeks emphasized the positive impact the event has to Namibia. “The Desert Dash remains a very special interest for Nedbank Namibia, and it is not only because of our cycling pedigree that stretches back more than thirty years. Instead, we see the Nedbank Desert Dash for what it truly is: a significant contributor to Namibia, not only in terms of the sport of cycling, this event also contributes to our economy through tourism industries, and helps bring awareness to Namibia’s environmental and conservational efforts” Meeks stated.
A record number of just over 1000 people from 14 countries will participate in this year’s Desert Dash. Just over 620 of the Dashers being Namibians, with South Africans just about half that number, totaling 311 participants. Germany accounts for 44 riders, with British cyclists the next largest contingent, with 10 entrants. This year’s race will also see participants coming to our country from as far as Austria, Canada, the USA, Luxemburg and France.
The bucket-list event continues to set records, this year the oldest participant set to tackle the great Namib Desert is 80 years-old Bill Jooste. There will be three participants in their 70s riding shoulder to shoulder with no less than 41 riders, in their 60s. The age group with the highest number of participants is people in their 40s, with 27 of this year’s Dashers still in their teenage years and the overall percentage of female participants just under 20%.
The launch event included a Desert Dash warm up race which took place in the Grove Mall parking area, and gave cycling enthusiasts a chance to warm up their legs in preparation for the main event on Friday, 7 December. – NDN Staffer