Marathon des Sables was gruelling! I faced many challenges while running the Sands, but just took it one day at a time. Running an ultra marathon every day was not an easy feat, but doing it for a greater cause proved to be very motivating! The people I ran with were amazing, including my friend Andy Symonds, who wrote an article on the event and drew a cartoon of us in the tent (click on the image to read the full article):
“And so it is, 1200 people find themselves under 200 side-less tents, pitched in a large three-deep circle. Over the course of a week this desert-circus-camp migrates its way across the sand…” – Andy Symonds, Le Marathon des Sables – Running about in the sand for a week
Thanks so much to all those who supported and cheered me on! Want to get involved? Check out the great charities that BARAKA supports.
Here are some more articles on BARAKA running in the MdS:
Marathon des Sables News (French)
Marathon des Sables News (English)
University of British Columbia article
The journey in pictures
Off to Casablanca on the 2am flight from Bamako after a late night of finishing up reports and packing
Flying over the high Atlas mountains
Flying into Ouarzatate
View into local life
Logistics of transporting 1,200 people into the Sahara desert for the marathon
An oasis on the way
First night dinner in the desert
Queues in camp are a given, so best to just make friends… there was a lot of laughter during the waits for water, weigh-ins, checks, water pickups, feet checks…
Making friends in the line-up… the man in blue has been the reigning champion of the Marathon des Sables and also won this edition
Baraka everywhere you look!
Sunset on the first day in the desert
If you see the camels during the race, it’s not good – you have to stay ahead of them in order to stay in the race. This was the first and last time I had contact with them on arrival… it’s a long way down!
Preparing to climb the ridge to get to the last checkpoint of the day
A daunting hill just before arriving to camp on the second day. Tests your mettle!
Even though it’s a race, it’s important to stop and enjoy moments like posing with a herd of camels!
The morning ritual preparing to run – keeping things light and organised!
Another race ritual – recuperating after a stage!
The last checkpoint before sunset on the 85km stage with Patrick Bower – the owner of the race, who’s always full of enthusiasm and encouragement
On the ridge of a challenging day of heat (52C and a lot of relief in the form of rocky hills and sand)
You carry everything with you! My pack weighed in at 11kg, which is quite heavy as you are carrying min. 3kg of water, too! Imagine carrying 15kg on your back, running in sand in 45C heat… Nice!
The Solidarity Stage – everyone wears their yellow MdS t-shirts
The 7.7Km solidarity run was pure bliss despite the feet, as the backpack was very light!
Happy (?!) Feet at the end of the marathon, thanks to the fantastic team of podologues in camp