Emma Timmis runs 3974KM across Africa

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*In 2014, Emma Timmis ran 3974km, coast to coast across
Africa. From Namibia to Mozambique passing through
Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
*

Running from one side of a continent to the
other sounds like a tough task alone, before
adding in 48-degree heat,
scorpions and snakes,
sandy deserts with head
winds and shorts burning
your legs like branding
irons! 

I began with my
bare feet in the Atlantic
Ocean with miles of
desert spread out before
me. Running on sand all
day is demanding on your
whole body, especially
when running directly
into a head wind the
entire time. Far from
being an expert on
weather systems, I seemed
to seriously misjudge the
wind direction of the whole trip!

After pushing my way
through the windy desert,
the next section was a
runner’s nightmare. A 200
mile plus, straight road!
Digging deep to overcome
this stretch wasn’t my
only challenge as this
area is also known for
still having lions living
in the wild. Luckily or
not there were no lion
sightings.

With the estimated length
of the run being 4,000km
the biggest struggle
for me came reaching
halfway in the middle of Zimbabwe. Feeling the pain in your legs,
blisters on your feet and the mental exhaustion
was pretty tough, but knowing you have the same
distance to complete
again is hard to get your
head around. Thankfully
the environment began to
change. Leaving behind
the dry, bare, flat
landscape, the roads
undulated through jungle
that got thicker as the
miles passed.

As I crossed the border
into Mozambique, high on
a hill, trees and lush
forests stretched out as far as the eye can
see. With this change in scenery came a change
in temperature too. There
was no escape from the
heat. In the middle of
the day we would set up a
tarpaulin to create some
shade but this made next
to no difference. The
heat was so intense sweat
would pool around my body
as I lay still on the
ground trying to relax.

As I approached the east coast I started to
increase my daily mileage
to around 70km a day. I
was looking ahead and
counting down the days to finish. I knew there
was about three days left
and I was desperate to
complete the expedition
and rest my legs.
Unfortunately, my body
decided to give in. After
spending a whole day
squatting behind a tree
every kilometre, I had to
rest for a day. Mentally
this was pretty tough
with the end so close.

Recovery was quick and
the next day I was back
to running. I covered
213km in three days and finally ran into
the Indian ocean after
leaving the Namibian coast 89 days before.
This was the toughest
thing I had ever done,
it inspired me to see
what else I was capable
of and made me believe
that truly anything is
possible.

Check out more of Emma Timmis’s adventures at: http://www.emmatimmis.com/