British teacher Nathan Montague is launching an ambitious bid to win the gruelling Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (KAEM) in South Africa this week. From 24 October to Friday 30 October, the KAEM sees runners covering 250 kilometres in seven days in the Northern Cape’s 'Green Kalahari'.
Teacher Tackling South African Ultra
Nathan explains his motivation for running ultras: “Ultra running makes me a better person. There’s always something to overcome when running an ultra; the first question mark is always whether you will reach the finish line and, in one sense, everyone who achieves that is a winner every time. One of my main philosophies in a big race like this is the cliché 'control the controllables', so looking after myself and making sure I'm racing well and hard but also sensibly. On my day I can be competitive.”
Taking place across six stages, ranging in distance from 28km to 82km, the KAEM is a self-sufficient race, meaning Nathan will have to carry all his supplies, clothes and compulsory safety/survival equipment for the duration of the event. This is on top of coping with the extreme temperatures of the region, which can vary from mid-40 degrees celsius during the day to single figures in the evenings.
Nathan’s commitment to winning the race has seen him training on family holidays, setting up a ‘heat room’ with a treadmill in his house to acclimatise, and doing many of his training runs carrying a heavy pack to strengthen his pelvis.
Neil and Anna Thubron, the people behind Nathan’s sponsor Extreme Energy, said: “This is a great opportunity to raise the profile of multi-day racing for everyone in the UK. We’ve all heard of the Marathon des Sables, but there are loads of fantastic multi-day races out there and we’d love to see more British runners taking part. Nathan is a really talented runner, who has already won most of Extreme Energy’s races (and holds the course record for several!) – but, more than that, he’s a really nice, ordinary guy. We’ll all be cheering for him from the UK next week!”
Nathan is a seasoned multi-day runner, but at seven days and 250k, this will be the longest race he has ever attempted, as well as being his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. Nathan’s progress can be tracked via the KAEM’s Facebook and Twitter accounts on the event website.