The Coastal Challenge…an epic adventure of two Ultra Endurance titans, Steve black the runner from Underberg, and the paddler Clyde ‘Skinny Cuppucino’ Barnards also from KZN, dueling it out From Cape Town to Durban for a great and personal cause; Lettie Haynes’ fight against cancer. The race, which started on the 17th of May crossed it’s hypothetical third way on the 26th of May, and not without it’s fair share of drama and challenges.
The Skinny Cuppacino got off to the worst start having to wait for increment weather to pass the Cape before wetting his hull. This gave long distance running specialist Steve Black the oppertunity of opening up a lead of more than a 100 kms within the first two days. This bodes extremely badly for Skinny as he needed to gain a fantastic lead before hitting the shores of Port Elizabeth.
It wasn’t all plain running for the runner Steve and his ‘first’ 500 km running buddy Andrew King. Their plan of day-to-day race route speculation was met with plenty boundary fences and specifically the treacherous nature of the cliffs. Consequently the pair have had to make detours inland, extending the already Ultra Distance a little further. Also in accordance to the laws of popular averages Steve picked up a niggling injury and consequently fell off the pace. The lead of a hundred or so clicks (as one refers to a few kilometers when racing an unintelligible distance) proved to be a minor factor as Skinny recorded more than 100 kms of his own on one day. The a further psychological and very emotional blow struck Steve as his Mother passed away on the first Friday. He carried on running up until the time of the funeral, at which stage he left the race to fly to Johannesburg to return a day later and continue the race. In the interim Skinny had made some, but not great ground against the runner, deflating the lead to a mere 50 kms.
At the time of writing this Steve had returned to Sedgefield, ran to Knysna, spent two days there and then resumed his journey approximately 100 kms ahead of Clyde en route to Plettenberg Bay. Beneath is a collection of photos from the first 10 days of the race.