For participants of the 1 mile (1.6 km) RedBull Quicksand Challenge at the Kongo River beach in Diani, 12th December, 2021 will always linger in their minds. At a glance, the course looked easy, just four medium sand towers and trenches, but as most participants confessed, the challenge was much harder than it looked.
This was the first time the RedBull Quicksand Challenge came to Kenya, the second in Africa, after Egypt, attracting over 350 participants. The event was organized collaboratively by RedBull Kenya, TurnUp Travel and Bucketlist Adventures.
The race begun with the men’s and women’s heats, with the top 10 in each qualifying for the semi-finals. As the day would have its, the men’s third heat was interrupted by rains, but that did not stop the party from going on. As soon as the rain calmed down, the men’s and women’s final heats were concluded, followed by the semifinal and final races.
Ali Matano won the men’s final race after clocking 7 minutes, closely followed by Jeremiah Ambani at 7.08 minutes and James Mwaura closing the podium at 7.50 minutes.
For the women’s category, Sofia Nekesa clocked an impressive 9.05 to emerge top, followed by Dutchwoman Dominic Kremer and Eunice Atati at 10.05 and 10.26 minutes respectively.
Commenting on the event, RedBull Kenya Sports Marketing Manager, Steven Maikweki stated, “The championship has come to Kenya to join five other countries in the series this year including Japan, South Africa, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. On top of the obvious challenges that come with running on sand – runners expend 1.6 times more energy on sand than running on a road surface.”
“The man-made ‘sandcastle’ obstacles tower over the competitors, forcing them to climb vertically over the loose terrain, creating a challenge to even the most hardened of athletes,” he added.
Following the success of the first event, the organizers are hopeful that subsequent Quicksand challenges will be bigger and better, urging more people to participate.
The top 5 participants in the men’s category
- Ali.Matano – 7.00
2. Jeremiah Ambani – 7.08
3. James Mwaura – 7.50
4. Suleiman Said – 8.01
5. Ismail Premji – 8.20
Top 5 in the women’s category
- Sofia Nekesa – 9.05
2. Dominic Kremer – 10.05
3. Eunice Atati – 10.26
4. Lucy Wamalwa – 10.46
5. Vivian W. Hillier – 11.14