Event Detail


Members' Evening: Namibia: Survival of the Fittest

Joanna Eades, Michael Wellstead & Keith Futcher
Monday, 20 Jul 2009
Pacific Place Conference Centre, 5/F One Pacific Place, Admiralty

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a Members’ Evening

Namibia 2009: Survival of the Fittest"

Monday, 20 July 2009

Pacific Place Conference Centre, 5/F One Pacific Place, Admiralty

Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm

The Royal Geographical Society is delighted to present another Members’ Evening, with three of its members speaking about Namibia 2009: Survival of the Fittest". In May 2009, competitors from all over the world converged in Namibia for a seven day foot race over some of the most harsh yet beautiful terrain in the world. The largest entry from any country or territory was from Hong Kong. In this exciting Members Evening, three RGS Hong Kong members, Joanna Eades, Michael Wellstead and Keith Futcher tell the story of their personal struggles with fatigue, hunger, thrills and spills, set in the hauntingly beautiful scenery of Namibia.

Namibia 2009 was a onceonly 250 km endurance race set in Namibia's great natural wonder, the Fish River Canyon, the second largest and deepest canyon in the world and the largest in Africa. The route also crossed pristine African Bush, skirted the Huns Mountain range, through some of the oldest and tallest sand dunes in the World, to the stunning but harsh Namib Desert, travelling along the way through areas where no humans had been before.

As a prelude, the team explains why they were “crazy" enough to want to do the race in the first place. They then explain the rigorous personal preparation required for the expedition. The team describes how they geared up for the event, the anticipation of the terrain, the personal fitness required, and the logistics, gear, nutrition, electrolytes, hydration and preparation to keep body and soul together over a week of unrelenting physical demands.

The team then discusses the grueling seven stages of the event, including the stunning scenery they saw, what they felt and the incredible personal effort of the various stages. The team gives a day by day account of the event, including the highlights and mishaps, the other competitors and the thrills and spills of the race. Ultimately, they tell how they overcame the physical and mental challenges of running for a week across tough, rocky, unrelentless terrain in 40 degree heat, but still enjoying nearly every step.

Dr Keith Futcher is a 59 year old Engineer turned business man with no prior experience of marathons or endurance events who nonetheless completed the event.

Michael Wellstead is an engineer turned insurance broker. He is a director of Jardine Lloyd Thompson specialising in advising his clients on risk transfer strategies and major corporate insurance placements. Michael has taken part and completed two previous endurance events, in the Sahara and Gobi.

Joanna Eades is a solicitor, specialising in tax law. She is the International Tax Director for PepsiCo, responsible for tax planning for the Asia Region. She ran her first marathon in 1995 for a bet. Since then she has completed five marathons, seven Trailwalkers and numerous other trail races. However, Namibia was her first multiday endurance race. She finished 21st overall as and the fifth woman.

Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for guests and others.

See other events in 2009