Frequently asked questions
Registration & entrance fees
How do I make payments to the Blue Cross?
We hope that all our valuable supporters, be you participants or sponsors will appreciate that the only sensible way for us to manage our fundraising which takes place over an extended period is to use the US$ or Rand. That option would apply across the board including Registration fees, Blue Cross shirts, Sponsorship, The Spirit Lunch and all other incidental participant costs in the Event.
What is the entry fee used for?
The entry fee of US$50 covers some of the administration and logistical costs of the event including recce expenses, venue hire, National Park entry fees, campsite facilities, medals, goody bags, printing etc. See the FAQs for details of how to pay.
Is the cost of the lunch covered by the entry fee?
What is the Registration fee?
US$50.00 in cash (See Payment options above.)
Is the Registration fee payable in local currency at the exchange rate of the day?
Unfortunately, as with all other payments, the volatility of the exchange rate and the mismatch between real and interbank rates will seriously erode values by the time the event takes place and thereafter as funds are disbursed/expended. Using US$ cash or ZAR is the only reasonably sure way of locking in value.
Is there an easy way to pay the Registration fee?
Yes, a collection point has been set up in the Harare offices of Microman which are situated at 15 Arden Road, Newlands, GPS Coordinates: S17deg 48'16.33"; E031deg 04'34.18". Receipts will be issued for all monies received. The offices may be reached via a panhandle, the turnoff to which is at a small low level bridge a few metres NW of the junction of Arden and Kenilworth Rds.
What are the disciplines?
Participants may opt for any of the following disciplines:
What is meant by the Relay Discipline?
What is the sensible number for a walking relay team?
The optimum number is 6 walkers.
Are relay runners/walkers allowed to run/walk more than the recommended distance?
Most definitely! The easiest way to stretch yourself as a relay participant is to run or walk the first and third split of each of the sub-team's daily legs. That would effectively double the total distance run/walked.
Is there a competitive option available in any of the disciplines?
The primary objective of the Blue Cross is to raise funds for animal welfare. If, in so doing, a solo participant wishes to test his or her capabilities, it is acceptable for the daily timings to be recorded using the Strava (or equivalent) app and then aggregated to arrive at a total time for the event. There are no timekeepers or race marshalls, and solo participants choosing the competitive option must understand that their timekeeping must be self-administered. Please see the question re Disciplines above.
What are the rules for the Light Infantry Discipline?
Participants walk the full distance on their own and benefit from the services of their back up crew to set up overnight camps and provide food and water.
What are the rules for the Heavy Infantry Discipline?
For the duration of the Event, participants must carry ALL their basic needs except water which may be supplied by the back up crew. Without purchasing provisions along the way, Heavy Infantry participants must provide all their requirements, pitch and strike their own tents and cook their own meals.
Awards & Luncheon
Are there winners?
Yes. The SPCA's of Zimbabwe are the winners, thanks to the kind efforts of the participants in raising sponsorship.
Are there any special awards for participants?
When are the awards presented?
After all participants have summitted Mt Nyangani, the Awards Lunch, known as the Spirit of the Blue Cross Lunch, is held at a suitable venue in the Nyanga area. This is the culmination of the event and the awards are presented during a fun-filled luncheon replete with good food, much banter and new-found friendships. It is an occasion not to be missed.
Where and when is the Awards ceremony and luncheon held?
Date: SUMMIT DAY, CHECK CALENDAR ON HOME PAGE
Are there any special requirements for those attending the Spirit of the Blue Cross Lunch?
Whilst there will be a beer and wine bar in operation, it is strongly recommended that participants bring along their own cooler boxes to guarantee that their needs are fully catered for.
What are the entry requirements?
THIS IS S FUNDRAISER:
Is it necessary to have a 4x4 vehicle?
It is highly desirable particularly over the first 100kms of the route, but at the very least, a robust, high clearance 2WD is essential.
What clothing is required?
That is largely a personal choice and depends on the discipline. Cyclists tend to use a double pair of cycling pants, long or short sleeved cycling shirts, and cycling headgear (which is mandatory). Walkers will need stout, worn-in, walking shoes/boots, a wide-brimmed hat and a longsleeved shirt. Lightweight and soft, long pants are best. Ankle high socks are better than low ones, which tend to creep under the heel after long spells of walking. Sunscreen is important. Some walkers find it reassuring to walk with a phone, water and a few snacks, and a belt bag or very small, lightweight rucsac can be useful. Test your choice before the walk. It is wise to take a spare pair of shoes in case of blisters developing or shoes falling apart.
How many on-the-go GPS units do I need?
Solo Cyclists and Endurance Bike Riders should each have one mounted on their handlebars in case they find themselves on their own. Each group of back-up vehicles also requires at least one GPS. Walking relay teams of two vehicles require a minimum of 2 units but more units for individual walkers is desirable. Remember to pack one set of spare GPS batteries for each 1.5 days on the trail.
What is an on-the-go GPS?
This is normally a small hand-held GPS with a mini USB connection port which can interface with a PC and accept route data sometimes referred to as a snail trail.
Can I use my vehicle mounted GPS (such as a Garmin NUVI)?
Many such GPS units are unable to accept route data and are, therefore, unsuitable for navigation on backroads. Vehicle mounted GPS units can, however, be used in limited fashion to record way points such as change-over points along the route.
Are participants covered in terms of Insurance?
NO. It is up to indivduals to insure themselves if they feel they would like to be covered. Participants must be self-sufficient in every respect, including insurance and medical cover. The Blue Cross Committee cannot be held responsible for any loss, damage, injury or other misadventure during the event.
What happens if I cannot source enough GPS units?
Most Smart phones are GPS enabled and are capable of accepting and displaying route data. The Gaia app (free download) is recommended as a basic navaid, although the Strava app is indicated for competitive participants. Routes and waypoints can be downloaded onto mobile phones and IPads/Tablets which make excellent vehicle mounted GPS units when plugged into power via cigarette lighter adaptors. Google offers tutorials on how to download route data onto IOS and Android devices.
Sponsorship & pledges
What is the cut-off date for sponsorship?
For the purposes of quantifying and confirming your sponsorships for the Medal Awards at the Spirit of the Blue Cross Luncheon, we are obliged to have a cut-off date. This does not mean that late arriving sponsorships are not accepted. BUT medals will be awarded based on the quantum of sponsorship being confirmed by us 7 days prior to Summit Day. Pledges will not be recognised.
Is there a sponsorship form?
Yes. On the website. Please send an electronic copy of your completed sponsorship form to email@example.com at least 7 days prior to Summit Day. As an added insurance, please print a copy of the completed form and submit it, along with funds raised, before you start the event. Late additions will be accepted, but unpaid pledges will not be recognized as part of your Medal Achievements at the Celebration Luncheon.
How do I get Sponsors?
It's easier than you may think.
Cash Sponsorships, and how do I protect my efforts?
In the light of the economy, please convert any cash donations immediately into real currency, to protect your final balance. The medal awards are based on converted values. Protect the SPCA you are sponsoring by preventing inflation detracting from your hard work.
Are there places to stay along the way?
By the nature of the Blue Cross adventure, much of the route is 'back country, off the grid' and camping is the best option.
Are there designated campsites along the route?
Apart from the Jamanda Community Camp near the Mahenye start point, the organisers establish two official Blue Cross camps at the 107km and 331km marks respectively. These official campsites are only available for running/walking relay and cycling solo participants following the suggested schedule.
Do support crews have to pay for the use of the designated campsites?
No. The cost of all the bushcamps including Jamanda will be free to participants and bona fide back up crew members alike. Please limit your back up crew numbers to ensure that the camp facilities are not overloaded. Anyone wishing to use the Jamanda Community Camp outside of the two officially scheduled nights must notify the Event Organisers of the required date. The Blue Cross will cover the cost of one night but those wishing to extend their stays will be obliged to pay the Jamanda Concessionaries US$10pppn.
Is the route marked?
How do I obtain GPS tracks of the route?
Tracks are available to be downloaded from the website (see Routes and Download Route) but care should be taken to check that the routes remain valid, as a ground-proving reconnaissance is carried out at the end of the rainy season and routes may have to be altered slightly.
Is it possible to cover only part of the distance?
No. The essence of the Blue Cross calls for every metre of the route to be covered by a solo or relay participant. The offering of a Mini Blue Cross has been discontinued.
Is the summit climb for participants only?
No. Anyone is welcome to join in with the fun of the climb!
Is there a minimum or maximum distance to be covered each day?
Can I take rest days?
YES, as many as you wish. The only stipulation is that you reach the base of Mt Nyangani on the day immediately prior to Summit Day (See the Home page for the Event calendar)
Is there a prescribed number of participants in a Relay team?
There is no prescribed number for the Relay, but the format that works best is 6 people in the team, 2 cars and 3 participants per car. The relay is designed for self seconding, and no back up crews are needed.
Is there a set procedure to which Relay Teams must adhere?
NO. The team can employ a variety of techniques.
Can relay teams choose their own distances (splits) within the team?
Yes. The only stipulation within the spirit of the event is that every metre of the distance should be covered by at least one participant.
Is back-up provided?
NO. Participants must be entirely self-sufficient. Any logistical assistance that may be provided by the organisers must be considered a bonus.
Are there any water points along the route?
There are no official water points along the route. Participants may re-supply at Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutare and Juliasdale. Also, the location of hand pumps on local boreholes are shown on the routes published on the website. Please be courteous and ask the local residents if you may fill up your containers.
Where can I get help downloading the route onto the GPS/Mobile Phone?
Send an email to us and one of our organizing team will get back to you with assistance.
Are there route marshalls along the way?
No. Participants navigate by GPS, so please ensure that you are fully prepared with the ability to download your route onto your GPS/Mobile phone even during the event. This is a self-supported adventure event.
Do seconders have to pay an entrance fee?
National Parks fees are covered for all participants by the registration fees. Please be prepared to pay for Park Entry fees at Nyanga for seconders/back up crew and family members.
Safety & protocol
What is the protocol when being approached by a traditional leader in a rural campsite?
Appreciate that the campsite chosen is on the leader's turf, so request his permission to camp there. Leaders can be invaluable sources of information and can help deal with inquisitive bystanders. It is a good idea to have a small gift to offer to the leader, such as a 2kg bag of sugar or salt or maize meal.
Is it safe to walk alone in the communal areas?
The SPCA Blue Cross Zimbabwe has been staged over many years, and participants have always found the rural people to be exceedingly friendly and cheerful, even during electioneering!
Can anyone participate in the Blue Cross or is it just for endurance athletes?
The Blue Cross offers a discipline suitable for anyone who is reasonably fit. Participants can opt for a discipline and time schedule to suit their own level of fitness. Endurance athletes who do the whole 500kms are truly respected, and the original event was designed for them, but the relay participants are helping us to survive. People expecting to do the relay must be regular walkers, should be equipped for camping out, and should have a GPS
When do I need to start training?
As an ultra distance event, the Blue Cross demands sustained physical activity over a number of days. Previous participants in the Blue Cross are experienced in what is required, and are the best people to consult for guidance on appropriate training regimes. Solo participants whether in the MTB or Infantry Disciplines need to spend considerable time on the road to prepare themselves physically and mentally for the Event.
What is the Blue Cross?
When does the event start and finish?
The only fixed date on the Blue Cross is the last day of the Heroes Day long weekend, when all participants climb Mount Nyangani as a group. Participants can start the event whenever they wish, provided that they are ready to climb the mountain from the Mount Nyangani car park on the Summit day. This is the first chance you get to meet all the other participants from the different disciplines.
Is a record kept of all Blue Cross finishers?
Yes. All solo participants (of the full event) reaching the summit of Mt Nyangani sign "The Blue Book" which is the official event record. Relay participants sign the Brown Book.
Have you advice and tips for participants on planning?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an email: Handy Tips for an easier Blue Cross. We will put you in touch with the best person to answer your queries.
Are there any special protocols to be followed to mitigate the threat of Covid-19?
By its very nature, the Blue Cross is categorised as a Low Risk activity. It is crucial, however, that each and every participant/back up crew member takes all standard precautions to reduce the possibility of contagion. That includes, but is not limited to: