It’s now getting ‘serious’… just in case you thought it wasn’t already 😉
It’s 7days before I fly down to London and then onwards, the next day, to Ouarzazate, Morocco. Racing starts on Sunday the 9th April
We have been given a brief outline of the route for this year, as it changes every year, but specific details won’t be released until we’re there and given the handbook (road map of the route).
|2017 ROUTE SUMMARY
The 32nd edition will cover 250km in five timed stages and one compulsory charity stage. Daily distances will vary from 30km to 90km. The only provision to runners is rationed water and a bivouac each night which must be shared with seven other runners. The race requires self-sufficiency and everything a runner needs must be carried for the duration of the race.
Day 1 – A relatively flat stage with small dunes, lots of sand and a slight climb to the finish. It’s a day when many runners go too fast. Tip: Ease into the race.
Day 2 – Will be a tough stage that is long with a great deal of sand. You will climb a gorge and run down a very steep descent. Tip: Tough day, keep focused, watch your pace and keep hydrated.
Day 3 – A climb starts the day and it is followed by rollercoaster terrain taking runners up and down. One section is very steep with technical passages. If that wasn’t enough, this stage contains the first ‘real’ dunes (some are over 300ft high) of the 32nd edition. Tip: One foot in-front of the other and remember the big day is tomorrow.
Day 4/5 – The long one a feared and formidable stage, typically anything from 80-90k:. A lot of sand and some pitfalls for the feet. Two start times: 8.15 a.m. for most people and 11.15 a.m. for the first 50 men and the first 5 women. It’s a day of much sand and difficult terrain underfoot – be careful not to fall! Two passages through small gorges, a climb up a jebel (big hill), a roller coaster through the sand, and a technical descent add to a tough day. Tip: Watch out for the heat and manage the night carefully! Get your head in the right place.
Day 6 – Two start times: 7 a.m. for the majority and 8.30 a.m. for the first 200 runners. Dunes at the start and then no major difficulties, however, be prepared for a hot stretch over a long plateau… Tip: If you finished the long day, the race is in the bag. Smile!
Day 7 – Compulsory charity stage. Typically 15-20k. Time on this stage does is not added to the overall race timings.
Should you wish to send me any message of support, or other such messages, please follow the instructions below. All messages will be greatly appreciated and possibly keep me sane.
COMMUNICATIONS DURING THE RACE
You should have received an email direct from the race organisers about this, but to reiterate…
Messages can be sent to you via the organisers’ website from 8 April until 14 April, but delivery cannot always be guaranteed. In order to send a message, your friends/family will need to go to the www.marathondessables.com website and click on ‘Ecrire aux Concurrents’ (Write to Competitors). There is a form for emails – name, surname and running (DOS) number will be required – without these, it will be impossible to locate you or deliver your emails! We also advise you to ask your senders to include your name and running number – 756 (and tent number if known – I will only know this once I get there as they are allocated on the bus journey to camp) in the message itself. PLEASE NOTE – this facility does not go live until we are out in the desert.
LIVE GPS TRACKING
You will be issued with a GPS tracker that will allow the staff on the course to track your position, to monitor if you are of course and it also has an SOS facility in the event of emergency. It also allows your friends and family to track your progress in real-time. We will advise you prior to the race of the URL that you will be able to circulate to your followers. It is also worth advising them that in the event of the unit’s batteries running out or the unlikely event of the unit failing – your position will temporarily not be visible and they should not be concerned.
NB: It is very likely due to the very nature of the area I will be in, that communications from me will be sporadic, at best. Should you drop me a message, please do not expect that I can message back immediately. I may very well be two/three days (if not all 9days) without signal. However, I will get back in touch, when I can.
At the moment, running has reduced drastically, pace as well as distance and I’m now heat adapting the body for the shock of coming from here to there. I’m sitting in saunas & dry hot rooms over the next week to ensure the body is ‘used’ to the anticipated 40degree C temperatures that are common at this time of year.
All I have to be now is confident that the past year of learning to run, and run with a backpack, has been enough. I have done all I can do now.
I shall be creating a ‘guess my overall race time’ which I attach a few prizes. Prizes are being decided as we speak. Details to be released a couple of days before I go.
Entry to this will be a minimum donation to War Child.
Anyone wishing to enter this just now, or those that have donated already, please pm me and I’ll make sure your name is in the draw.
Once again, I’m doing this to help others that are less fortunate than ourselves. Children and families that have been through, and continue to be under constant difficulties through no fault of their own.
My chosen charity is War Child and I hope to raise a few quid to help them. Your donations through my Just giving page go directly to War Child.
Many, many thanks to those who have donate already. It’s really appreciated and mean a lot personally.
Thank you for taking the time to read and support me through, what will be for me, the toughest thing I have ever done.