Decades-long storm hits Namib Desert campsite on day one of Sport Relief: The Heat is On
Intrepid celebrity squad take on Sport Relief: the Heat Is On, an exhausting one A 100-mile expedition through the Namib Desert began on day one of its challenge, which will see the team tackle some of the world’s tallest sand dunes, cycling 35 miles in dizzying temperatures.
Before the first part of their four-day challenge, Frankie Bridge, Karim Zeroual, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Louise Minchin, Nick Grimshaw, Rob Rinder and Samantha Womack suffered a “one-time-per-decade” thunderstorm, as described by the Namibia-based local support team, who soaked the camp and filled their tents with sand and water last night.
The shocking weather prompted the team, which woke up at 6 a.m. (GMT + 2) to temperatures already hitting 30 degrees Celsius, to leave later than expected this morning.
Today they will be riding fat bikes for 35 miles. A team update indicated that the group had dispersed, with Rob Rinder accelerating and placing first halfway through the day and Samantha and Krishnan bringing up the rear.
An hour-long documentary will retrace the ups and downs (both physical and emotional) of the team as they tackle the world’s tallest sand dunes for Sport Relief. It will air on BBC One during the week of 9e March.
One in four people will be affected by a mental health issue in their lifetime, and each of these adventurers is passionate about speaking out and facing the elements to crush the stigma surrounding this issue.
In the middle of the day, Frankie Bridge said:
“It was over 30 degrees when we woke up this morning. We are now halfway through a 35 mile cycle and Rob is so far ahead that I can’t even see him! We camp every night and currently I share a tent with Grimmy. We were told it hardly ever rains and all of our tents then filled with sand and water. We arrived in the middle of a thunderstorm.
Nick Grimshaw said:
“In anticipation of the change of venue, I Googled Namibia and then went on the Central Line to help prepare for the heat. It’s so otherworldly that we could have gone to Mars. I didn’t even bring a raincoat because when was it raining in the desert? I am very exhausted. It is the worst I have ever felt. It’s so much harder than anything I’ve ever known. I constantly fall off my bike but know I have to keep going. I have never faced such a challenge before. I follow Louise’s rhythm, she’s my friend on the bike and she’s amazing. Rob is so quick. He’s probably already at Heathrow.
Samantha Womack said:
“We arrived under a thunderstorm. The guide with us had worked in the Namib Desert for seven years and said he had never seen a thunderstorm like this. But as soon as it passed over the heat was vicious. It is a dry heat that stings the skin. I went for a short walk away from the camp and going up a little hill is exhausting. The landscapes are incredible, it feels like a Star Wars movie. It is all quite intimidating and I feel so frustrated. I am scared. I’m emotional and disappointed with myself for having such a hard time. It’s crazy heat. It makes everything so difficult. I don’t want to be upset, but I miss people already.
Rob rinder noted:
“I like to do marathons because it’s the only time I’m really in the moment. But I know it will be a different kind of challenge. What’s the point of being uncomfortable unless you can moan about it! “
Krishnan Guru Murthy said:
“I fell more than 3 times in 1 km and had to have my leg bandaged, I have trouble breathing. The problem is now in my head. I need to move on.
Karim Zeroual added:
“Physically, I’m strong, but this terrain is so difficult. You are making such small progress. It’s so demoralizing.
For four days, from today to Thursday, the team will attempt to cross the Namib Desert in Namibia on foot, by bike and on skis (on sand) to reach the wreck of Eduard Bohlen on the famous Skeleton. Coast. Guided by their own navigational skills, they will face grueling days under a scorching sun as they take on the planet’s tallest sand dunes and encounter deadly desert wildlife as they traverse the world’s oldest desert, all at temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius.
BBC Breakfast, The One Show and BBC Radio 5Live will all follow the team’s progress next week. Every day, from today to Thursday, they will follow the ups and downs of the group as they tackle this 100-mile challenge in the desert, with footage straight from Namibia and daily catch-ups as the The team embarks on this epic adventure.
Sport Relief is back on Friday the 13the March. Find out how you can get involved: sportrelief.com/pr-get-involved.