MdS 2017 It was always going to be a difficult challenge. The one thing I had been training my whole (lol) running career for. Would I be ready? How did I get on? How hot was it? Did I finish? Lots of questions, lots of thoughts and maybe, some answers.
Before I go any further, I can only apologies. This is going to have to be done in parts. There is just sooooo much to say.
Part 1: Prologue
With my bags packed, kit checked. Happy with all I had deliberated for over the last few months. I was about to set off on 7th April to an overnight stay at Gatwick. This would be the start of this epic adventure.
Normally, I’m pretty organised and I thought Friday was no different. I just waited to be collected by David Cowan on his way to airport. After a discussion about checking in times, we had decided to give ourselves and extra half an hour. And, David was early. So all in all, 45mins we had extra to relax through security etc. and maybe have a drink before we set off. Or so we thought.
On arriving at the airport, the first thing I went to get out of my bag was my passport. An essential piece of travel kit. I also knew I had my copy in my front zippered pocket on my backpack. The copy was mentioned in the kit list as a precaution in case original got lost. So, no problem.
I opened pocket where it was, only to find out, it wasn’t! Bugger!
Luckily Jane (David’s wife) said it was fine to go back up the road and collect it. And, luckily, I live pretty close to Edinburgh airport. So we used the ‘extra’ 45mins we had retrieving my essential kit.
Not the best start! I even took to social media… “Arrgh… at the airport. Where did I leave my passport? DICK!”
I hoped that this wouldn’t be the theme for the next few days.
All retrieved, checked in and off we flew and arrived for an evenings meeting with like minded MdS folks.
This was now very real! I was going to be running the Marathon de Sables! The famous, or infamous “Toughest Footrace in the World”. Yup, little old me with virtually no running experience but hey, that’s what’s life’s about, no?
Landed! Checked in and off in search of food. Ian Corless had sent out a message on the MdS forum that everyone was welcome to join him for dinner. Sounded like a good idea. Off we trotted to the South Terminal. Btw: Gotta love the overland rail link.
Dinner was a modest affair, veggie burger and all the trimmings for me. And no, I didn’t have two dinners but I did think about it. After all, this would be the last time I’d have ‘proper’ food in over a week.
I also wanted to bump into some other folks who were dining in the North side. Off we went in search of them. Bed for 22:00Hrs!
The next morning was an early up (04:45) so a large continental breakfast was had to further ‘carb load’. No events happened that morning and yes, I checked I had my passport this time…twice.
Greeted by the MdS team at South terminal, they made check-in pretty easy. After all, this is a well oiled machine with approx 400 runners from the UK signing up for some, self financed, sado-masochistic tendancies, and it was running smooth this morning.
Lots of excited peeps checking in for the 07:00 flight.
Putting faces to names we had conversed with for months on the MdS Facebook group was good. This was now, very exciting…
Off to Ouarzazate we flew.
Goodbye cruel world….