Marathon des Sables

I feel as though I have not followed any acceptable timeline or logical sequence so far. But minds often don’t work that way do they.

I have a plan. It is not cunning, but I would like to grin mischeviously right about now *grins mischeviously*

I want to run the Marathon des Sables before I turn 40. This has been in the back of my mind for a few years now, but this year I realised that if I want to actually reach this goal and enjoy doing it, I will actually have to do something about it now. Right now.

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I started reading the blogs and reports and ‘the website’, and realised quickly that I could probably train and ‘survive’ the race, or actually turn this into an amazing journey. I would like to complete the race in 2019, and during the years leading up to then, build up experience in the various facets that make this the ‘toughest footrace on Earth’ – at least according to the Discovery Channel, obviously an expert in these things. So the challenges will be (amongst others):

  • saving enough money
  • heat
  • feet and foot care
  • multi day race with long distances on each day
  • carrying all gear and food during the race
  • water
  • sand
  • all of the above rolled into one

It seems to me that showing up and facing new challenges without any idea of how to deal with them, or what your body’s reaction will be, is probably not an indicator for success with enjoyment. Sure, it will be possible, maybe it will all just work out, but I would like to invite friends scattered around the globe to meet me at the finish line, and to head off to a surf/yoga retreat on the Morroccan coast and actually be able to enjoy that too. So I intend to have a couple of different challenges each year, and to use those challenges to explore my world, and my abilities.

This year I have signed up for a 50km race in the Lake District in May. I love trail running, and would like to visit the Lakes, so my first ‘ultra’ (entry level Ultra, does that sound pretentious?) will be there. Depending on how that goes, I will start preparing for a 70km race, maybe one of the Italian ones, in order to visit old friends.

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June will be the Midnight Mountain Marathon in the Brecon Beacons, pushing the night running boundaries gently…and then depending on other people (and finances allowing), I would like to do the Petra Marathon in September, not only trying out desert running, heat, and an unfamiliar culture, but also exploring some of history’s most alluring remains. November is the Miami Half Ironman, and then it will be a new year. The next step would then be to do some multi day events, along the lines of the Cruce Columbia between Chile and Argentina, again visiting new places, and immersing myself once more in the beauty of the Andes.

In this way, each one of the challenges will be tested, and then built upon, so that I am mentally prepared for what will be another step towards something that I don’t yet know exists.

So for now, my training plan is to complete that first 50K in 4 months. Lets see how that goes! Any encouragement welcome.

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9 thoughts on “Marathon des Sables

  1. I have to admit to being intensely jealous of people who can fell-run – I can only ever run downhill – I’m just a plodder unfortunately. It gets me there though which is what counts I suppose.

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    1. I reckon, if I manage to finish these ultra marathons…getting there will definitely be what counts! Well, apart from the cutoff times. I always like the quote they put on things that says something along the lines of no matter how slow you run, it’s still faster than the person who didn’t get off their couch. I just love feeling what my body can do, and that changes all the time.

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  2. From what I have seen ( on TV) your list has sand and foot care and these can be rolled into one item. From what I understand the sand particles are small enough to get in everywhere and cause blisters. I admire you greatly.

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    1. Yeah, I think that foot care will definitely be linked to the element of sand, but also to hear, carrying more weight, running long distances on multiple days. And then the sand itself can make running quite difficult as it is a different striking surface that means you use different muscles, and can sometimes make it feel as though you are not moving forwards (though that can also link into the aforementioned long distances on multiple days:-) ).

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      1. Agree. As i said, admire you greatly. I have 10 marathons, all on roads not sand and am training for the Cardiff Ultra 42 mile from Brecon to Nantgarw. That is a big enough challenge for me.

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      2. Oh wow, that sounds like it will be a beautiful run! I’m still in the building up stage at the moment- doing a 50k in Keswick, then hopefully 70k in Northern Italy. 42miles will always be a big challenge!! I’m just hoping that by having a big future goal, I will be able to explore different parts of the world, in different ways, and see smaller worries for what they are in comparison.

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