UNEP’s Division of Early Warning & Assessment staff member, Sandor Frigyik, participated in the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon held from 19th to 25th October. KAEM is a 242km self-sufficiency foot race held over six legs in seven days with set distances for each day ranging from 26km to 75km. Participants must carry all their supplies, clothing and compulsory safety/survival equipment throughout the duration of the event. Overnight shelter is in open camps, and water, which is strictly controlled and distributed during the race, is supplied. In the Kalahari Desert daytime temperatures can exceed 50 degrees Centigrade and in the evenings drop down to near freezing point.
Training with full weight
Sandor started long distance running when he moved to Nairobi with his family 8 years ago. He found that favourable local conditions allowed him to take up running as a regular sport. Initially he started running 5km around his neighbourhood just to get fit, but his goals then progressed further and he has now completed 18 marathons as well as the 89km Comrades ultra-marathon 5 times. This new goal of running the equivalent of 6 marathons over one week self-supported through the desert moves him into a new realm of testing the limits.
“I have used the 2013 World Environment Day theme, Think Eat Save, as my own guiding theme in preparing for the Kalahari race. In order to compete in the event, runners have to carry all their food requirements for the week, so I cannot afford to take anything that is unnecessary. Every Calorie and gram counts. Estimates are that a third of the world’s food supply could be saved by reducing waste. That’s enough to feed 3 billion people and currently there are about 1 billion malnourished people. Fortunately we don’t normally have to carry all our food around on our backs, but if we did the feedback would be immediate, we wouldn’t waste as much food as we currently do.”
Core strength training with James from the UN Recreation Center
Through his participation in the Kalahari race Sandor hopes to promote greater awareness of the Think Eat Save campaign as well as the specific actions that we can individually take to reduce our food print.