Tough Martin tames the impossible

Rudi Bowe

Leonard Martin successfully tamed the ultra marathon monster The Munga, a non-stop single stage, semi-supported mountain bike race through the remote Karoo from 2 to 7 December 2020.

The race started in Bloemfontein, cut through the Rolfontein Nature Reserve 16km north of Petrusville and end in Wellington in the Western Cape and provided five race villages where riders can sleep, eat and shower, plus ten water-points where they can fill up on snacks and water. The race takes place in the middle of the South African summer, so temps are smoking and riders have 120 hours or five days to ride 1100km and make the cut-off.
Martin who participated in his fourth Munga race said that it was his toughest, hardest and best race so far, as his preparation for The Munga was spot on with again hot during the day, cold and windy in the evenings with the same bad jeep tracks, mountains, corrugation roads he cover the 1124km in 99 hours and 58 minutes.
Martin said “I went through about 51 farms where I had to open and close all the farm gates with each gate worked differently than the previous one. At night it got cold, 4 degrees, and during the day very hot up to 52 degrees Celsius.”
Martin said “The Munga is a unique race and is very unpredictable so you cannot do the race with any predictions that you will do or be the winner, as the elements that you go against is deferent everyday.”
“The reason that I am doing this is not to be first or to be the champion but is all about the challenges in life and because life is full of boundaries and I like to see what’s behind it and after-all I do this for myself, wife and children and family as well as to show the younger generation that you are never too old to take on a challenge and that nothing is impossible” Martin said.
According to Martin there is no deference between the Desert Dash and The Munga. The only difference is that the Dash is hard as it is a single stage that is been done in the night also with deferent elements and terrine.
Martin added that both competition are unique and hard and tough but The Munga is tougher as it is over 5 days and longer that the Desert Dash.
Part of his preparation for The Munga, Martin participated in the 207km race from Windhoek to Solitaire and also his own race of 235km from Solitaire to Walvis Bay.
“The best feeling of my life was to see my son Brandon-Lee Martin waiting for at the finish line, who has supported me with backups on my long training rides and during The Munga was the cherry on the cake” Martin said.
Martin thanked his wife, children, specially his son who was his support system from day one up to the last day, my family and everyone for your support message it really helped me through the night with the hauling winds.
Martin will compete in The Munga Cape Grit in April this year and in October he will team up with Deputy Commissioner Tobi Gerber for the Cape Epic and than in December he and his son Brandon-Lee will take on the Desert Dash after he competed in The Munga.

Martin who is also the Shihan of the Namibia Gojukai karate Walvis Bay dojo said that they resume their training classes and the registration for new beginners is still open. Venue is at the Atlantis sport club.
Training times are Monday and Wednesday 17h30 – 18:15 junior 18:15 – 19:00 cadets’ 19:00 – 20:00 seniors. Tuesday and Thursday 17:30 – 18:30 for all beginners any further inquiries can contact Shihan Leonard or Sensei Llewellyn.

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