Desert Dash back for 19th edition

SuperSpar Maerua store manager, Otto Alfred; Lema events representative, Leander Borg; Indongo automotive group representative, Willie Verdoes; Nedbank Namibia managing director, Martha Murorua; Minister of sport, youth and national service, Agnes Tjongarero; Hollard Namibia head of communications and transformation, Sam Kauapirura; and Namibian Cycling Federation president, Axel Theissen. Photo: Helge Schütz

The Nedbank Desert Dash, which was launched in Windhoek yesterday will take place for the 19th consecutive year on 8 and 9 December.

The iconic event will see cyclists attempting to traverse the gruelling 397km course from Windhoek, over the Khomas Hochland Mountains and down to Swakopmund at the coast, within the cut-off time of 24 hours.

At yesterday’s launch, the managing director of Nedbank Namibia, Martha Murorua said the event had become a symbol of resilience, endurance and ‘the indomitable spirit of Namibia.’

“The Nedbank Desert Dash is not just another cycling race – it shows the human spirit’s ability to conquer the most challenging terrains and adversities. It’s not just about the distance, the time or the gruelling course; it’s about the unyielding determination and the sense of accomplishment that comes from conquering the unforgiving, yet breathtaking Namib Desert,” she said.

“The trials and tribulations of the Nedbank Desert Dash are a reflection of the challenges we encounter in our daily lives. Just as the rough terrain and daunting distance of this race test the mettle of every cyclist, life often presents us with obstacles that seem insurmountable. It is in these moments that the true strength of the human spirit becomes evident,” she added.

“The Nedbank Desert Dash teaches us that when we set our sights on a goal, when we harness our inner strength, we can overcome even the most formidable of challenges,” she said.

Murorua also had a few words of encouragement for the riders. 

“Your journey through the Namib Desert is a test of endurance, both physical and mental. But with every pedal stroke, with every ounce of effort you put forth, you are not just racing against time – you are racing against your own limits. 

“So embrace the trials, for they are a crucible in which greatness is forged. With every obstacle you overcome, you become stronger, and your story becomes more compelling,” she added. 

Minister of sport, Agnes Tjongarero thanked Nedbank Namibia for their continued support of sport, and specifically cycling in Namibia, and called on other corporates to follow their lead. 

“Let’s work together to nurture our sports sector, investing in our athletes, our facilities and our events. By doing so, we create a brighter future for our youth, and a more vibrant and prosperous Namibia,” she said.

“I am informed that the Desert Dash has attracted cyclists from all over the world, and it has the potential to attract investment to our country as well. When the world sees us host an event of this magnitude, it sparks interest from investors worldwide. They see the potential in our country and they want to be part of our journey,” she added.

Tjongarero congratulated the Brave Warriors on qualifying for the Afcon finals, the rugby team that recently competed at the Rugby World Cup and the u19 cricket team that qualified for the u19 Cricket World Cup, while she also highlighted the recent ‘outpouring of love and support for sport.’

“Lately, we just witnessed the true potential of sport in our country when thousands of Namibians filled the Hage Geingob Stadium to cheer on our local football teams. Let us keep that spirit in all other sport activities,” she said. 

The race, which is dubbed the longest single-stage mountain bike race in the world, will see cyclists starting off at the Grove Mall in Windhoek on Friday, 8 December and finishing at Swakopmund’s Platz Am Meer Mall the following day. 

More than 1 000 cyclists have entered this year’s event, with 160 cyclists participating in two-person teams, 624 in four-person teams and 190 cyclists riding solo. Furthermore, a total of 38 cyclists will participatein the new half-dash category, which will see cyclists over 50 years of age cycling from the Hollard halfway point to the finish line. The event will also include a first-ever E-bike category for four-person teams,where each cyclist will be required to ride on an E-bike.

Nedbank Namibia are the main sponsors of the event, while the co-sponsors are Indongo Toyota, Trek, Hollard and SuperSpar (Maerua Mall and the Grove). 

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