The Toughest Footrace on Earth

I know once I make this challenge fully public, I will have more reason to make sure I succeed, so after weeks of prevaricating and rewriting, I dumped the previous blog attempt and I sat down to write and publish a totally new piece as quickly as I could. Apologies for the bad English, grammar and style!

My time has come!

After hiding behind injuries and the pandemic for the past 12 months, hitting both the bottle and the fags (important note – this is the British definition of fag!), adding an additional 12kg of middle aged flab and losing all the athletic gains I struggled to make over the years, I knew I had to do something to get back on track. But after so many false dawns, I also knew it has to be something big, something that would scare me enough to get out of my funk and back into the fire, full of desire to train, stay fit and give up all of those bad habits I thought I had left long ago in the past

So, I did it, I pulled the trigger on something I have dreamed about even since I saw the short documentary on a long flight many years ago, something that is big enough to scare the pants of me and send me into a tailspin of training, study and consumerism!

Maraton des Sables
Marathon des Sables – 250km through the Sahara

Yes my fine internet friends, I have signed up for the MdS, formally known as Maraton Des Sables, a 250km stage race across the Sahara in April 2021. Fully self-supported, I will need to carry everything I need for the week on my back, with organisers only providing bivouacs to sleep in each night and rationed water throughout the week. I won’t go into too much detail of the race now, but it is commonly known as the “Toughest Foot Race on Earth. While that may be up for discussion, it is without doubt something that will stretch and challenge anyone who takes part, whether a veteran of such races or a complete novice, who’s never run over 42k, never run off road, what the hell am I doing this for, overweight, untrained unathletic such as me.

But as is the typical foolishness of dreamers like me, when I made the commitment to do the race last month, I somehow believed that given 6 months I can change myself into a modern day version of Lawrence of Arabia, traversing serenely across the dunes, cool , rugged and victorious. One month later the truth is more like, if I manage to finish the 250km with no lost limbs and still in control of my faculties, I will be happy, and with so much to learn and so much to buy, (I used to think Triathlon was an expensive sport….. eeek, this is on a totally different level), I’m going to be too busy and too broke to be bad.

I am not sure if I will be writing regular training updates, or going off on tangents to describe the romance and struggle of the race, or describing my own mental and physical torment or maybe not writing anything at all as I am too tired/bored/embarrassed  to get it done, but I certainly feel inspired to get out there. My life will become increasing focused on almost daily (and sometimes twice daily) endurance running and walking, along with learning the craft of off-road running, ultra-marathon and multistage racing, and I am incredibly excited and very nervous about the journey.. which is exactly what I was looking to achieve.

8 thoughts on “The Toughest Footrace on Earth

  1. Absolutely splendid! That thing about your dreams aren’t big enough if they aren’t scary can sound a little trite but this dream is why that phrase was designed, I reckon!

    If you can track down Kristian Delacour’s blog, it would serve you well. He did the MdS in 2017 and has an extensive blog on his experience. https://challengeoftheself.wordpress.com should get you there. He’s Scottish, and has been generous in the past with me on my blog when it comes to ultrarunning.

    Looking forward to the journey!

    Liked by 1 person

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