JWANENG: Having started with 400 walkers in 2014, four years later The Jwaneng Desert Bush Walk: Winter 2018 has grown to greater heights with more than 2,000 participants taking to the bush last weekend in Jwaneng.
The walk that is a charity event and also used to promote healthy living combined conventional walkers and individuals who never exercise regularly for both the 15km and 30km walk.
It was somehow common belief amongst some first-time participants that the 15km walk would be child’s walk in the garden, especially that they were on the unfamiliar terrain in Jwaneng, which gave them trials and tribulations to go home with.
The walk started at 7am with the 30km walkers taking off first.
The 15km walkers soon followed the same bush trail into the desert and what started as excitement soon turned sour for those who had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
Slowly those nonstop Facebook posts and WhatsApp messages toned down as the walkers could not wait to see the finishing line.
By the time some reached the 5km mark, it was like walking in circles. Several had their walking sticks, but even a stick could not buy endurance when it comes to the terrain.
Many veered off the way unable to maintain a fixed course on the sandy road.
Slow walkers saw an opportunity to make unexpected shortcuts, while a select few fast-paced towards the finishing line, while others faced the desert treks in a low-key, no-fuss mode.
Many created time to talk and make new friends as loquacious individuals tried talking their way out of the tough route.
The sun had its toll on
Experience and instinctive strengths were needed to see this through.
When the 15km and 30km walkers parted ways, it was the start of a bigger challenge for the latter as they pushed their bodies through a gruelling walk in the warming sand.
According to some of the 30km walkers, their mode of trek became goal-driven as the route led them back to where they came from.
Many of these walkers came from as far as Lesotho and South Africa, so they were culturally and emotionally attached to this.
Most of the walkers were wired for schedules and fixed destinations but the 30km route was not something they were geared to.
Mmegi and The Monitor staffers also walked this year and this was no ordinary deadline.
It is no doubt that CSI-Concepts Foundation in conjunction with The Desert Bush Walk Local Organising Committee had hosted yet another successful event.
Even the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng admitted the challenge after finishing the 30km walk.
“It was a hustle and a test. Next time, I will prepare for this,” he vowed.
This was the same route used by the Toyota 1,000km Desert Race participants. In the years to come nature will affect the terrain.
Still, it is important to craft new ways to explore terrains on foot.