Trailblazer Manika Gamble Becomes First Black Woman To Conquer Namibia’s 155-Mile Race

by Grace Somes
Manika Gamble || Image credit: @manikaruns

Manika Gamble has no trouble rising to challenges that others might consider excessively demanding or intense. Having been running for 12 years, she is an experienced runner.

She likes to achieve the impossible, such as running 155 miles across Namibia’s desert landscape.

This year, Manika Gamble etched her name in the annals of running history. She became the first Black woman and African-American to complete a grueling 155-mile, 7-day self-supported stage race in Namibia, the world’s oldest desert located in Africa

While she was on their self-supported stage race in the oldest desert in the world, Gamble documented her journey and shared the exciting adventure on her social page, @manikaruns. 

As you can imagine, she has received support on social media from thousands of people all over the world in this endeavor. She’s fantastic at sharing with her fans the specifics of her training regimen, the outfits she intended to wear without laundering them, and, lastly, an Instagram Reels day-in-the-life video that chronicles her experiences living in Africa.

Although many find it hard to believe that someone would sign up for such a difficult race, particularly miles from home in a desert, Gamble undoubtedly passed the test in her first ultra-marathon.

“I was inspired when I saw a video on YouTube that made the Namibia race look so beautiful and challenging. It combined everything I wanted to take on myself, so I decided to go for it,” Gamble revealed to the media outlet.

She also talked about the pain she felt throughout the race.

“The gators I had on my sneakers broke on the first day, so my feet were blistered on the first day, which was very challenging for me to get through. I could not prepare for that pain,” Gamble stated.

Manika Gamble, 34, has lived in Atlanta, Georgia, for the past 12 years. She has been a runner since she was twelve, and as a sprinter, she enjoyed competing on the track team from middle school through college.

“It’s quite the transition in distance from sprinting, but the joy I feel is immeasurable. Ultra-marathons get me out into nature where I can feel the fresh air and instantly feel home while running,” Gmble disclosed to Essence.

 Manika Gamble still pursues her love of running by competing in ultra-marathons in stunning locales worldwide. 

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