On Sunday, runners combated temperatures of 24.1C during a London marathon – a hottest on record. But for BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth, a untimely feverishness was zero in comparison with a Marathon des Sables (MDS), a 150-mile ultra-marathon in a Sahara desert.
It’s famous as a toughest feet competition on earth. It’s 6 marathons in 5 days, carrying all we need to tarry for a week. we sealed adult with some friends 18 months ago and lerned tough for it.
It incited out to be a toughest – during times horrible – yet many wonderful, rewarding knowledge I’ve ever had. Running down a dunes, wearing gaiters to stop a silt removing in my shoes, is something we will never forget.
We arrived in stay after a six-hour manager tour low into southern Morocco. we was with my good crony Susie Chan, an continuation runner, who had already run a MDS 3 times. Our backpacks had to be checked and weighed to safeguard we had adequate food for a week as good as a mandatory equipment: a sleeping bag, compass, venom siphon and a whistle.
My container weighed roughly 9kg (20lb) yet water. Thankfully it got lighter during a week as we ate my approach by it.
The start of a competition is legendary. About 1,000 runners were there, yet usually 175 women had sealed up. Helicopters hovered beyond as Patrick Bauer, a Frenchman who started a competition 33 years ago, waved us all off to a sound of Highway to Hell blustering out over a desert.
On a initial day we ran 18 miles, many of it opposite silt dunes. Living in London, I’ve not had many knowledge of using on sand. It emptied a legs. We took it unequivocally easy, meaningful full good what was forward that week. Some people went out distant too tough in a feverishness and finished adult on drips in a medical tent behind during camp.
The stay was immeasurable and always on a move. Every morning, as we streamed to a start line, an army of Berbers changed in, took a tents down and afterwards gathering them 20 or 30 miles divided to a subsequent campsite.
Camp life was roughly as critical as a running. You common your open-sided home with 7 other runners, sleeping corresponding on a hard dried floor. After 5 or 6 hours of running, we returned any day to a tent and collapsed, too sleepy to move. Life became unequivocally simple. There was no phone signal. You lived in a burble of bruise feet, chaff and a lot of laughter.
Food was apparently all-important. The manners pronounced we had to lift during slightest 2,000 calories a day. we had a little stove and a pot in that we could boil H2O for my freeze-dried breakfast and dinner. Lunch was eaten on a pierce and especially snacks and powdered appetite drinks. We burnt off distant some-more calories than we could carry. we came home roughly a mill lighter.
Out in a desert, we fast learn to put your inhibitions behind you. These were a loos. You got dual brownish-red cosmetic bags as we crossed a finish line any day. Inside any apartment is a cosmetic chair with a hole in a center for a bag. I’ll leave a rest to your imagination. There were no showers either. We stayed in a same garments for 9 days.
I was vacant by a dried landscape. It was so immeasurable and varied. We did a lot of climbing – during slightest 2,000ft (600m) a day – scaling jebels (mountains) and using along ridges. It was exhilarating.
The many feared partial of a MDS was day 4 – a prolonged stage. It’s 54 miles in one go and a organisers don’t make it easy. We climbed 4,000ft that day and as night fell we found ourselves low in a silt dunes. It was hell.
We were hungry, a feet harm and we still had a prolonged approach to go. We didn’t get behind to stay until 01:45, after 17 hours on a go.
We woke during emergence any morning, had breakfast, taped adult a feet, afterwards repacked a rucksacks before streamer to a start line. we was lucky. we got usually a few blisters. Some runners unequivocally suffered though. Our crony in a tent subsequent doorway was in anguish after a soles of his feet blistered. He still managed to finish a race.
On a final day we ran a full marathon – 26.2 miles. We set off in a sandstorm. But we had turn utterly used to them by then. Halfway by a week, a sandstorm tore by stay in a center of a night. We laid in a stays of a tents for 4 hours as a charge blew through, stuffing a sleeping bags and mouths with sand.
I crossed a finish line with my friends Susie, Shaun and Tim. Somehow we had managed to run any step of a 150 miles together. We all had tough moments during a week yet managed to lift and lift any other by it. we cried when we crossed a finish line. we couldn’t trust I’d indeed finished it. But a Saharan sands have taught me that my physique is so many stronger than my mind ever believed.
You can follow Sophie’s using exploits on Twitter @raworthontherun
Article source: http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-43867390