TOTALLY OT....
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 7 of 111234, 5, 6, 7, 891011
Author

User avatar

Long-Winded Collector

Posts: 4750
Joined: Oct 31, 2004
Last Visit: May 05, 2021
Location: Garland, TX

Post Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:54 am 
 

I wonder how Marathon des Sables compares (danger wise) to the Iditarod race in Alaska?  Two completely opposite extremes temperature wise.

I guess the Iditarod has one thing going for it.  If you are in danger of starvation you can always eat your running mates.  8O

Seriously though...I can't imagine how much courage it would take to do something like this even once.  But I would want to do it again if I were in your shoes.

  

User avatar

Verbose Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 1106
Joined: Aug 14, 2004
Last Visit: Jun 09, 2021
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:03 am 
 

Kingofpain89 wrote:But I would want to do it again if I were in your shoes.


Yes I think this is exactly what he will do ..  :lol:

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 8219
Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Last Visit: Jun 12, 2017
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, UK

Post Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:09 am 
 

improvstone wrote:And this is why I reckon you are a winner.  You pushed yourself right to that edge where any further would be suicidal.  Not many people can claim to have done what you have!


well i am not a defeatist. you have no idea how hard it was to stop either. i really was fighting with myself - sense ruling over what the heart wanted to do an all that stuff.

i think i would have crippled myself too.

Al



  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 8219
Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Last Visit: Jun 12, 2017
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, UK

Post Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:18 am 
 

just to put the MDS in perspective for you, a good mate of mine Bob Jack, actually completed it, where i couldnt. this is his journal from day2 onwards. its long, so i apologise to all in advance:

***********************************************************

The start of this stage was a long slow haul up the side of the towering  Jebel Tibert. The sandy passageway was narrow and there were some   serious bottlenecks climbing up. I comfortably walked up the incline to the   summit     at 2.3km and then down the other side. Alan Goddard from my tent jogged   past     and Ian Baldwin strode past with his long legs and sticks. He could   really     cover the ground quickly and soon left me behind.         Then it was a long bland haul across stony ground, crossing a big track,     crossing the Aatchana wadi and more sand and stones. I passed Jack   Osbourne     who had stopped to treat his feet and then he and his team came past me     again still jogging. I thought his team were pushing him too hard after     yesterday. I knew Keith was behind me somewhere and that as long as he   was,     then I was fine time wise.         I had already got into my mantra of completely switching my brain off   and     having a riff from Oasis's song ‘Columbia' on a continual loop in my   head as     my self imposed pacemaker. I had often used the same song during   marathon     runs. The lyrics went:         "There we were now here we are     All this confusion nothings the same to me     There we were now here we are     All this confusion nothings the same to me         But I can't tell you the way I feel     Because the way I feel is oh so! new to me     No I can't sell you the way I feel     Because the way I feel is oh so! new to me         What I heard is not what I hear     I can see the signs but they're not very clear     What I heard is not what I hear     I can see the signs but they're not very clear         This is confusion am I confusing you?"         Chatting to Mr Canada as we started, he had suggested that I stick my   salt     tablets in my cheeks and let them dissolve slowly. They would take an   hour     to disappear and gave my mouth something to do in-between swallowing     handfuls of Skittles. Consequently, I only took 5 salt tablets today. I     found my fruit bars pretty inedible but one bottle of water with   rehyrdation     powder was refreshing with the occasional sip.         Checkpoint 1 at the Joufert pass, took an age to appear at 12km in 2   hours     50 mins. Just before I arrived, there was a shout from behind "Anyone   seen a     fat bastard in the desert around here?" It was Simon. He had been slowed   by     the earlier bottlenecks and had caught up. He had finished an hour   earlier     than me yesterday with his marching technique. Show off!         I seemed to be walking faster than yesterday considering the terrain but   I     was still in the final 25% of competitors. There were a lot of people   taking     shelter from the winds and resting. I went straight through Checkpoint 1     just filling up my water bottles. Simon took off and I started a mind     bogglingly numb 11km section which started with sand, then some small   dunes     for about 3km, followed by endless flat stony ground with hills on the     right. The wind blew in our faces and I just kept my head down and tried   not     to keep looking ahead, concentrating just on the 2 metres in front of   me.     This stage was a mental challenge to keep covering the ground with no     landmarks to let you know how far how you had covered or how far the     checkpoint was.         Checkpoint 2 at 23km was just after some small ruins, past some palm   trees     and beneath some isolated tamarisk trees on the edge of some dunes. As I     arrived in 5 hours 15 mins, a serious sandstorm had blown up and the     checkpoint looked like a war zone. Doc Trotter's temporary tent had   people     lying on their backs getting IVs. People were cowering behind jeeps,     sticking their heads underneath the chassis to get away from the wind   and     sand. My left gaiter had ripped slightly on the side just above the   shoe,     and stuck behind a jeep, I managed to thread a needle in the wind and   sew it     up. A little local girl stood and watched and asked for the needle. It   was     blunt so I gave it to her. Many people seemed hesitant to go on since   the     visibility was nearing zero.         After 15 minutes of being buffeted by the wind and sand, I decided to   make a     move. I had my neck buff pulled up over my face and my head buff with   peak     pulled down with just a slit for my eyes. In our road book we had been     instructed "In the event of a serious sandstorm where visibility drops   to     almost nil, it is imperative that all competitors stop immediately… Use   your     common sense and no heroics." This was after three Koreans had been lost   for     24 hours last year when a sandstorm hit. Incidentally, I heard that this     year's Koreans had ended up in this competition after losing a TV quiz   show     in Seoul. Tough break or what! I wonder what the third prize was?         I could see a couple of competitors moving slowly in front of me, almost     bent double in the sandstorm so I followed them. I thought it was better   to     get going before they halted the race. Others just sat down and waited   or     sheltered beneath trees and bushes. I don't think there was at least a   few     seconds during the first three days when I thought "What the hell am I   doing     here, doing this, in these conditions? It would be so easy to fire off   my     distress flare and pull out of the race and return to normality". That   time     today was now as the sand hit my arms so hard that it burnt my skin   through     severe exfoliation. But as I plodded through the heavy sand dunes, I     reasoned, that if I sat down and pulled out, I'd end up waiting here for     ages until the sandstorm stopped and someone could come and get me, so I     might as well keep moving.         The dunes went on for 4km and the sandstorm never stopped. I never got   my     camera out again that day after Checkpoint 2. Visibility was   non-existent. I     was pleased to be passing a few people sheltering and one of the British     squaddies who caught me said "You don't quit do you. You just keep   going.     Good on you mate."         The final 8km were across hard packed ground and was another   demoralising     slog in the wind and sand. I have a photo of the finish but don't   remember     finishing. I came across the line in 8hrs 9 mins in 573th position. I   had     averaged 4.3km an hour which was pretty good considering the sand dunes   and     storms. This time I actually felt better than yesterday though I had   very     sore shoulders and collecting my water, returned to the tent to hear all   the     news about this killer day.         The two Irish lads, Dave and Paul were completely wiped out. "We had our     heads up our holes today" Paul said, meaning that they had gone out too   fast     and suffered later. They looked like I did yesterday and couldn't move   for     hours. Ian Jones was completely dehydrated and had drunk all his water     rations for that evening. Alan Goddard had quit by Checkpoint 2   absolutely     shattered. So had Rab Lundie, who had been "psyched out" by the   toughness of     the course and had a large blister. He had been going for a good   position     this year -- Top 75 and it just wasn't happening. Jack Osbourne had quit     somewhere between Checkpoint 1 and 2. I blame his team for making him   jog.     In the other tent, Alan Silcock had pulled his groin and pulled out   before     Checkpoint 2. So much for the ‘Prince of Pain'. Keith made the finish by   the     skin of his teeth. Most telling was the news that Lahcen Ahansal, the   leader     and his brother had walked the last 2 kilometres, out of water and     completely exhausted. Mind you, he still finished 5 hours ahead of me!         By the end of Stage 2, 68 competitors had dropped out of the event. The     average number for the whole event was usually around 40. The humidity   and     windy conditions were ripping apart the field. The two Alans, Rab etc   had to     hand over all their food but were allowed to continue to sleep in the   tents     tonight. They were now fed by the organisation. Many competitors were     complaining about a lack of water. Some petitioned the organisers to get   an     extra bottle that evening. As far as I remember, the organisers said no.   It     was the ‘Marathon Des Sables' It was supposed to be tough. I tended to   agree     although I didn't drink as much as the others. One thing I knew was that   I     would be too dehydrated to drink the rum and gave it to Alan G as a   farewell     present and to get my pack weight down.         In some ways, I was very motivated after Stage 2. The fact that someone   like     Rab who was real hardcore had quit whereas I hadn't, spurred me on. I     remember walking with a Scottish guy on Day 1 and seeing him in the   latter     stages of Day 2. He had said to me "I'm too stupid to quit" and I think   this     was my attitude as well. Discussing it with Simon later, he suggested it   was     previous finishers who were often quitting because the complex extremes   of     climate and route made it was just so much harder than before. Because   we     were novices, we knew no better. We thought it was supposed to be like   this.     Three things were already obvious; this would be as much a mental   challenge     as a physical one, water management would be crucial and finally Jack     Osbourne's documentary "Adrenalin Junkies" on the event would be very   short     indeed!         On the official website at www.darbaroud.com Patrick Bauer wrote of   Stage 2:     "I'm glad we decided to give out an extra bottle of water before the     competitors went into the dunes. It was blowing a gale and was even   hotter     than yesterday. They needed that water. It's been a crazy day.. with   more     IVs and more people pulling out because they're drained but also due to   low     morale. These winds are draining, and they sap your energy. It was also   a     tough afternoon for us… we thought we'd lost one of the competitors. We     spent an hour searching for him with the helicopter. The risk of losing   a     competitor is a continual worry when you organise this kind of event.   But in     fact it turned out there'd been a mistake at the check-point and he'd     crossed the finish line no problem. It was a huge relief for us and a   very     emotional moment… We all get emotional …. but that reminds you you're     alive.. you're human. Tomorrow's stage is longer : 38km. There are hill     climbs but there won't be the vast sandy plaines of today so I hope   we'll be     more protected from the wind." (ed note: I don't remember ever getting   that     extra bottle of water before the dunes because I wasn't given it).         Tuesday April 11th -- Stage 3         6am. "Groundhog Day!" followed by a chorus of "You bastard!" Many of the     people we knew who had quit on Day 2 decided not to hang around and   opted     for the choice of heading back to Quarzazate and trying to fly home   early.     It was either that or hanging around for another 5 days with the circus   and     the sandstorms. After breakfast we said goodbye to the two Alans and Rab   who     told us to save ourselves for Day 4 which looked like the toughest stage     ever. His two team mates had decided to pull out with him. All had   completed     last year's event.         I had been surprised they had dropped out so early. The rest of our tent     seemed to have endured the hardships so far. Everyone had a bad day but   it     was spread out over the week. Even Stuart hadn't thrown up again though   god     knows we tried to make him. He dosed himself up on Ibuprofen and   codeine.     Simon was taking 800mg tablets of Ibuprofen every morning. "They look   like     horse pills" I concluded.         I tried to stay off the pills and just made sure the balls of my feet   were     still ok. I was still without a blister at this point. Everyone was   bathing     their feet in iodine, and staying away from Doc Trotters, preferring to     lance their blisters with sterilised needles and threading Bettadene   covered     cotton through to draw out the moisture. We all supported each other and     between us had enough gear, medical stuff or spare food, if anyone was     missing something. My head torch switch had gone early on, but it still     worked. I missed electricity so much. After Day 1, it was dark by the   time I     got back to the tent every night and I'd have to fumble around in the   dark     trying to get organised when all you wanted to do was just lie down and   get     away from the incessant sand.         We were a strange mix in the tent and soon everyone was given nicknames:   I     remember lying in the tent and saying "What the hell am I doing stuck in   the     middle of nowhere with you idiots". The Irish lads were nicknamed the     "McF*** Brothers" based on their language. We joked about them being in   the     Irish army. "It's NATOs best kept secret" Dave said "We get up about 10,     ponce around a bit and hit the bar". They also told us that the Irish   SAS     had a motto "Who Cares, Who Wins". They were an absolute riot. I told   them     that if the doctors for this event had been Irish, they would have been     called "Bog Trotters".         Ian B who abhorred swearing, was called ‘Cliff' after goody goody Cliff     Richard even though he was reduced to swearing like a trooper by Day 3   ("I     am sick to the f****** teeth of everyone swearing"). Ian J was "Rambo"     because he always ran on the edge of his total athletic abilities   pushing     himself beyond the edge and suffering for it. I called Ian "Spot On"   because     as a Manchester lad, he said this phrase all the time. Everything was   ‘Spot     on' for Ian except the amount of water handed out. Stuart was "Womble"     because he came from Wimbledon and wombled his way through the stages.   Simon     was "Mud Guts" because of his ability to clear the tent with his     horrendously loud and smelly farts. For some reason, we had all seen the   old     movie "Blazing Saddles" and every day we'd be quoting wonderful lines   from     it. It was a really good atmosphere with lots of laughter. By the third     night, both Ians were sleeping outside the tent to get away from my   snoring     and Simon's wind problem.         The Irish lads became very adapt at collecting firewood to cook. They   were     still cooking breakfast today with 20 minutes before the 9am start after     giving the Berber tent crew short shrift about the disappearance of the   tent     around 7am and refusing to leave their sleeping bags until absolutely     necessary. Simon and Ian B became obsessed with the inevitable   ‘minefields'     of shit that were being deposited by competitors nearer and nearer the   tent     complex every day. They would force themselves out at dawn on a stealth     mission before the rush and ensure a "shit free" path to some modicum of     privacy. I wasn't eating enough to force the issue. It was universally     agreed amongst the British that if you had to take a crap, walk around   to     the French section and do it as close to their tents as possible without     getting caught.         At today's start, Patrick Bauer climbed aboard a Land Rover and told us     about the dire conditions yesterday and the horrendous drop out rate. It   had     been another hot day, 35% humidity and sandstorms from hell. Competitors     were mumbling about a lack of water before we even started.         It was Tuesday so it must be Stage 3, a 38km stroll from Ma'der el Kebir     where we were camped to Maharch - wherever that was. Today, the Irish   lads     decided to change tactics and slow down. They decided to walk with me   and     save themselves from another disaster like yesterday. We were given 9   hours     to reach Checkpoint 3 and 11 hours to complete the stage.         Starting at 9am at the back with the camels, we set off over uneven   ground     with small dunes and calotropis plants. Gradually we passed people and   it     was always a relief to lose sight of the camels which marked the final     competitors. The small dunes continued in-between hard packed surfaces.   By     8km we passed barriers of vegetation and crossed a dried out lake a     kilometre later. Checkpoint 1 lay at 11km at the foot of a small hillock   in     the middle of the lake. We arrived in 1 hour 50 mins and still felt   pretty     fresh though we were obviously motoring today.         We continued on to the end of the lake and then at 13km started to climb   up     an gently inclining sandy valley that gradually rose in height. The   thick     sand sapped the legs and went on for 7km. It seemed an endless climb. I   had     been hoping to see Checkpoint 2 but there was no sign. Instead at 19km,     there was the most terrible gradient (less than 10%) to climb up a sand     cliff to a ridge. By now it was midday and the heat was stifling. The   Irish     lads kept going at their pace, and I slowed down to cope with the slope.   It     was the worst hill all week.         I found Checkpoint 2 hidden from the ridge at 20km and just collapsed. I   was     on my hands and knees for about 25 minutes just trying to get my breath   back     in the heat. I saw Jack Osbourne's other two team members flaked out   too.     People were already suffering. The humidity must have been really high     today, because I was always thirsty no matter how much I drank. I came     across Katie, from Alan's tent who didn't look too bad and took off with   her     walking sticks flying.         Conscious of the cut off time and the long rest I had taken, I decided   I'd     have to regroup on the move; that is, try and recover my physical and   mental     capacities as I covered the undulating ridge which looked over the   valley.     It was a wonderful vista, up and down for a couple of kilometres, but I   was     too exhausted to take it in. There was then a steep descent into another     sandy valley which was a kilometre long. At 22km we had to ascend   another     tall sandy barrier and down again to continue along stony ground.         I was feeling better as I skirted around a second mound, climbing over     another sandy slope and taking a sandy path between Mziouda and Ras     Khemmouna jebels but I was pretty much on automatic pilot. A bunch of     British squaddies walked past saying "Look, it's the Terminator. He   never     stops until you are dead". That became my nickname that week. They   would     rest up, I would pass them, then, they'd pass me though I was still   plodding     at the same old rate. We covered a very stony valley around 27km which   burnt     up the feet.         The squaddies were convinced that Checkpoint 3 was just over the next   summit     ahead of us which was the highest point of the pass over jebel Ras     Khemmouna. My water was running low. I think we had become disorientated   in     the heat and felt as if we had walked further than we actually had. It   was a     steep sandy climb up and an even steeper, sandier descent. My gaiters   were     thankfully holding up.         However, from the summit, there was no sign of a checkpoint, just a   dried     out lake ahead of me with a sandstorm raging over it. My heart sank. How   far     to the other end of the dried lake which I couldn't even see? Was the     checkpoint hidden by the sandstorm? What happens when I run out of   water? My     camera never came out again that day. I had too many other things to   deal     with.         A wicked wind whipped sand across the lake from my right. I plodded   across     but was blown all over the place. Dehydrated, I finally ran out of water   and     tottered around like a drunk. I could see distress flares going off   behind     me and a jeep would take off out of the sandstorm to pick up the   collapsed     competitor. I was worried that if they saw me staggering around, they   would     pull me out as well, but I thought as long as I keep moving, no matter   how     slow, then I am still making progress. It was a case of one step at a   time     and keep moving and try and keep to the bearing regardless of the wind     battering me.         It took an absolute age, probably an hour to cross what was only 3km,   but in     the sandstorm and wind, it seemed like 10km. It was impossible to gauge   any     distances. As I approached Checkpoint 3, which appeared at the last   moment     out of the sandstorm, a girl caught me up and said ‘Open your mouth'.   She     squirted in a drop of her last drops of water. "Don't swallow. Leave it   in     your mouth." This one act of generosity taught me how to manage my water   for     the rest of the week. Take small sips all the time but leave it in your     mouth as long as possible. This way, mentally, your body feels as if it   has     more water than it has, but it absorbs it gradually leaving your fully     hydrated. Crossing that dry lake was definitely the lowest point of my   week.     It would have been so easy to set off a distress flare and get picked   up.         I was relieved to reach Checkpoint 3 in 8 hours, one hour before the cut   off     time. The volunteers said "We have been watching you stagger across the   lake     and it is good to see that you still have a smile on your face". I was   beat     and so dehydrated. I was given my 1 ½ litre bottle of water and took   shelter     from the sandstorm behind a Doc Trotter jeep. The door was open and I     spotted four bottles of water. This was a matter of survival and I   pinched     another bottle. I drank one and filled up my water bottles with the   other. A     doctor came up and said "Are you ok? The conditions today are too tough.     They should have cancelled the stage".         I left after 15 minutes, re-hydrated and pleased that I only had 7 km to   the     finish and 2 hrs 45 to complete it in. I could see a string of people     staggering across the lake. I couldn't see Kiwi Keith. He was cutting it     fine again, going at his own pace. I had doubts he'd make it after what   I     had gone through, carrying all that weight over the sand ridges. Ten   minutes     after I left, the doctors started handing out a second bottle of water   to     all competitors because they were in such a state. Ian "Rambo" Jones     arriving earlier than me, had taken a 1 hour penalty just to get extra     water.         I followed one of the Japanese models through the picturesque verdant El     Maharch gorge. The temperature had dropped late afternoon and it was   almost     a pleasant stroll as the sun dropped from the sky. Japanese cameramen   buzzed     around filming the tiny girl obviously on automatic pilot. Brigid, the     German girl came past me with another two walkers. We passed by the new     solar powered pump that had been financed by this event for the locals.   Lots     of kids hung around the wells. It was tempting to stop for a wash, but I     just wanted to get back. At one point, a local kid offered to sell me a     bottle of coke.         The final kilometres were over really stony ground and there was a large     fort between the finish and the last village. My feet were burning up by   now     over the rocks. A convoy of 4 wheel drives came rumbling past me on the     sandy trail -- tourists out on a day's excursion in the desert. They   probably     looked at us from their air conditioned comfort and thought what the   hell     are they doing here and why do they look so tired?         I was so pleased to reach the finish in 9 hours 54 mins, over 2 hours   before     the cut off time. I had averaged 3.84km an hour, obviously losing pace   over     the dried lake but I had finished in 520th position. I must have been   giving     Lahcen Ahansal an easy race. He had arrived 6 hours and 43 mins ahead of   me     today. How did he do that?         Back at Tent 96, everyone had survived. I staggered up and yelled "Never     write off the goose until you see the box go into the hole" (From Mad   Max     1). Simon had finished in 8 hours 10 mins but was suffering.   Un-typically,     he couldn't be bothered to cook and instead, lay around lethargically.   The     Irish lads were fine, pleased that they had paced themselves. The two   Ians     and Stuart who had gone for it were desperate for more water and I gave   them     some of mine.         Then the stories came out. Today had been the "bastard day" of the   event.     Another 60 competitors had dropped out. Distress flares had been fired   and     IV's were being administered all over the place, but there were three   main     episodes: An Irish competitor had a severe attack of hypothermia whereby   his     body lost it's capacity to cool itself down. He went into a coma. Doc     Trotters had rescued him (5 minutes to live from all accounts), but he   was     in such a state he was immediately flown to France to Bordeaux to a     University hospital and put into intensive care.         Secondly, a Finnish girl, whom Simon knew, had a stroke and was   paralysed     for a couple of days. Thirdly, Ian ‘Rambo' Jones came across a German   girl     having convulsions. A Japanese TV crew were just filming her while doing     nothing to help her. Ian launched his distress flare and jogged a   kilometre     to wave down Doc Trotters who rushed up and dealt with her. Adrian, a   large     guy from a neighbouring tent whom I saw everyday, had watched someone   else     attempt to launch a distress flare and it just bounced across the   ground. He     launched his into the air. Both Ian and Adrian were reissued distress   flares     without time penalties.         Keith had barely made Checkpoint 3 by the cut off time and when he   arrived,     he fell to his knees and threw up. Completely dehydrated, the doctors   had     shoved 8 IVs into his arms. He lost a lot of time here, but set off for   the     finish. He was pulled out of the race with 90 minutes to go being told   that     he would never make the cut off time. Keith decided to stay on with the     event and become the "tent bitch" -- getting the tent sorted for the rest   of     the team, helping them with injuries and all round gopher. It was a nice     gesture.         A veteran of 17 Marathon Des Sables events quit during today's stage.   The     British competitor who had cycled and canoed and had finished the 2005   event     also dropped out today. So did Jack Osbourne's team. Competitors who had     completed the event in 2004 and 2005 were coming up and saying the   course     this year was unbelievable and made the others look like a doddle. It's     difficult to know if this was true.         Many competitors were despondent. Everyone was asking for more water and     representatives from many tents visited the officials to request   additional     bottles. The doctors themselves were arguing with the organisers telling     them to issue more water. Finally, a truck arrived with new supplies and     everyone felt better for the extra bottle.         One bonus was that the emails from friends and family had started to   come     through. They would be printed out and distributed to the tents. The     messages really made everyone feel much better and motivated to finish.     Simon had not received any yet which he thought strange. I joked that   his     wife had emailed me instead and sent her love to him. Eventually he     discovered that his emails had been sent to the wrong tent. My Scottish     auntie tried to send me a couple of messages but got confused and sent   them     to competitor No 1. Lahcen Ahansal was probably sat in his tent thinking     "who the hell is Bob Jack?"         Word spread around the camp after an email stated that Patrick Bauer had     written this on the www.darbaroud.com website:     "At the end of the first three days the competitors are exhausted.   There's a     record number of retirements : 122 for the first three days [less than   50     for the whole course last year]. It's due to a combination of high     temperatures, strong winds and unusually high hygrometry levels (20%     compared to the usual 6%). I also think the competitors are less well     prepared this year compared to last".         This last comment left many people fuming. Everyone felt that they were     prepared as they could be. It was the lack of water that was causing the     problems.         Wednesday April 12th -- Stage 4 -- Long Day         "Groundhog Day"…."Today, I will mostly be wearing…sand" (Fast Show).   After     yesterday's stage, my shoulders had been very sore and I knew that I   needed     to get my backpack weight down. It was the long stage today and it would   be     dominated by sand dunes. I dumped over half my food (I had started with   6kg     of food) -- I wasn't eating as much as I thought I would and if I didn't   get     through today, I wouldn't need any of it anyway. My pack felt a lot   lighter     but I carried an extra bottle of water in my front pack for emergencies.     There was no way I was going to run out of water again.         I had another problem, my lycra shorts had congealed sand inside them   and     despite the Vaseline liberally distributed around my groin area, I had     growing sores in delicate parts from sandy friction. I wore my shorts   inside     out today but the dust got in again. For the last two stages, I had to   wear     my spare shorts, because my lycra shorts could stand up on their own and   my     groin was in danger of unfeasibly large boils.         We had been told that on doctor's orders, the long stage had been   reduced     from 54 miles to 35 miles. I think they were seriously worried that   someone     might actually die after yesterday's conditions. The route would take us     from Maharch to Jebel El Mraier. Originally, we were supposed to head   north,     cross over some mountains and then follow a valley south across some   dunes.     The new route cut across the valley, directly east through a pass at   Tizin     Guidou and then joining the route going south. A new temporary   checkpoint     was established at 10km.         With the noise of competitors, I didn't really understand the   instructions.     As far as I understood it, we had to reach Checkpoint 6 by 16 hours   (2am)     and that we had 30 hours to complete the stage. Because the route   changed, I     don't have any details on the first part. Patrick Bauer announced that   from     now on, every checkpoint would offer two bottles of water if it was   needed.     This brought a loud cheer or should that be jeer especially after his     website posting.         Today, we set off an hour later at 10am to try and spend less time in   the     heat. The 50 top elite runners and 5 fastest women would leave at   midday. As     before, I set off with the Irish lads and we made good time across the   flat     stony ground where there lots of bushes. I don't remember when I reached   the     temporary Checkpoint 1 but it was around 2 hours and I didn't stop,   other     than to pick up water. I had adopted the new method of taking regular   sips     of water and swilling it around my mouth. I never felt thirsty and   always     had plenty of water. I was also sucking my salt tablets for hours on   end.         After Checkpoint 1 at 9km, Paul and Dave pulled away. I kept to my   normal     pace with my Oasis soundtrack. Around 1pm, Lahcen Ahansal came past. He   was     really flying. It had taken him one hour to cover my three. A few   minutes     behind, his new Jordanian competition came past. Over the next hour, all   the     other elite runners came past as we climbed endless sand dunes. Another     sandstorm erupted and I had to keep my head down into the wind.         Checkpoint 2 (10km further on?) lay in the sand dunes on uneven packed     ground near the Ba Hallou ruins. I seem to remember making quick sewing     repairs to my gaiters which had ripped again, but I was out of there as   soon     as possible. I was aware that this course could literally throw up   anything,     so it was better to make as much time early on as possible in case I   slowed     later.         The route had been adapted to cut off a little more, so rather than   heading     south, we cut southeast down off the sand dunes to a vast cracked flat   salt     plain called Iferd Nou Haduar. We skirted around its edge. It was an   awesome     sight -- a vast mud flat with no landmarks whatsoever to let you know how   far     you had walked. In the distance, I could see a few dots. These were     competitors in front of me. The wind whipped across the barren   landscape.         Then we re-entered the sand dunes for another 7km. This time, the wind   was     behind us, which made a change and it felt as if I was flying along.   Again,     there were no landmarks and I remember Adrian catching me. "Where's the     checkpoint?" I asked. He looked at his Road book. "You see that small     mountain in the distance as far as you can see? It's around there   somewhere.     God knows how far that is. It could be two hours away."         When I eventually reached that mountain, it was a lot bigger than I had     expected but we didn't have to climb it. Checkpoint 3 was even further   on     than expected. The organisers always liked to hide them until they   appeared     at the last moment. It always seemed a mental challenge to remain   optimistic     that you would get there before your water ran out. I arrived at   Checkpoint     3 (29 km) at 4.30pm. I was pleased to have passed half way in six and a   half     hours. It seemed strange to think that I still had nine and a half hours     before the cut off time. I was already feeling very optimistic and my   pack     and shoulders still felt fine.         The dunes continued but they were not steep, just undulating. We had a   sandy     climb heading towards jebel Foum Al Opaht then up to the summit after a   150m     sharp climb (nearly 25%). There was a tricky descent over 50 metres and   then     onto uneven footpath through a dry river bed. The climb down continued   into     a stony valley. These stones really started to cut into my feet and I   could     feel my first blisters starting to appear.         Checkpoint 4 lay at the foot of a rocky peak. I arrived at 6.15pm   (38km?) to     find a lot of people resting up. Ian ‘Rambo' Jones was completely   dehydrated     and had been there for 90 minutes. Simon and Ian Baldwin had also taken   a     long rest here. Rory with the Union Jack arrived just before me. "You   are     really flying today" he said. I swallowed a pepperoni and some Skittles   and     refilled my water bottles. I was also given a nightlight to wear -- to     illuminate me in the dark.         The sun was setting and the surrounding landscapes of mountains looked     spectacular. I wanted to get out of the dunes before darkness fell,   though a     full moon was already rising. "I'm outta here" I told Simon "You'll   catch     me". I felt very good at this point. A Dutchman passed and said "Only 2   more     kilometres of dunes". But we had to climb up and descend steep dunes and   I     was up to my knees in sand. My feet were sliding around my shoes and I   could     feel the blisters on my toes. There were pink night sticks every 500m     indicating the route.         My problems were compounded by the undulating stony ground that appeared   and     my feet felt as if they were walking on glass. Simon and Ian came past   in     the dark "Anyone seen a fat bastard in the dark around here?" I held my   head     torch in my hand, but had to keep the switch pressed on all the time. I   was     conscious of my double jointed ankles. If I tripped over a rock or stood   on     an uneven bit, my ankle tended to just give way and I might sprain it.         A huge green laser beam appeared on the horizon. It dominated the black     night sky. The full moon and cloudless sky meant that visibility was   pretty     good. I thought the beam was indicating the finish, but it was actually     Checkpoint 5. I followed a sandy footpath and walked with a Frenchman.   We     were walking as quickly as possible, gritting our teeth, not talking and     just getting some more kilometres behind us. A young Englishman, Sam   and     his two mates came up singing karaoke songs in the dark. "Any requests?"   Sam     asked "Yeah, F*** off" I replied as they laughed. They would speed on   and     then I'd catch them when they sat down to rest. "You never stop do you   Bob?"     he said. "I'm like a Duracell bunny. I keep on going…very slowly".         It is quite disconcerting to walk in the dark. You have no idea of how   far     you have walked. The laser seemed to get closer but one of the problems   was     following the track. I kept veering off and it would split into   different     pathways caused by four wheel drives. In the end, I could see some     competitors' night lights ahead and decided to cut across land towards   the     laser which was near a collection of lights and turned out to be   Checkpoint     5.         I arrived sometime after 9pm. A few competitors were eating and resting.   I     refilled my water bottles and was out of there in 5 minutes. I wanted to   get     to Checkpoint 6 before that 2am cut off. The undulating terrain   continued     and the stones were replaced by sand. I followed a sandy river bed. I   was     walking in the middle of the Sahara Desert on my own at night with a   full     moon above me and a carpet of stars. There was no one else around or so   I     thought. As I passed small sand dunes, I could hear voices and noticed   that     local boys were sat in groups on top of them in the dark. "Salaam   aleikum"     (Peace to you) I said. This had been my traditional greeting to all the     locals all week. "Aleikum Salaam" they always replied, surprised to hear     Arabic rather than French. "Chockran" (Thank you) I'd reply.         I pushed on through the sand with trees and fields on my right and   wadi-type     vegetation. I could see a couple of jeeps flashing their lights to   indicate     the route. There were more small hills with sandy areas in-between and     occasional small dunes. Then more stony ground. Checkpoint 6 was tiny.   Just     a jeep and tent. I arrived at midnight "You are doing very well" said a     volunteer. "There are only 4 kilometres to the finish". Eh?         So I kept going, determined to get back. My feet were very painful but I   was     so close. More stony ground ripped my toes and the balls of my feet.   There     were two final kilometres of sand dunes to cross. I clambered up and   down     them in the dark but they were hard work. I could see the finish arch   which     was lit up at night in red. I could also hear some French voices behind   me     catching me. I decided to break into a jog for the finish. I could hear   a     Frenchman saying "don't worry, we'll catch him" but I pushed on. I had     walked over 34 miles and I was going to keep my position. I could hear   the     Frenchman catching but I put on a final spurt over the stony finish. I   was     surprised to see Keith and Adrian waiting at the finish line. It was   1am.     They were waiting for Graham and Katie from their tent. I had seen Katie     accompanying a damaged Ian Jones at Checkpoint 4.         It was only later that I discovered that the cut off time had been for     Checkpoint 5 where the laser was. I had walked an extra 9km to the next     checkpoint. But my strategy paid off. It meant that I had got the entire     long day over in one day. It had taken 14 hours 52 mins (only 10 hours     behind the Jordanian who won the stage). It was my best stage of the   week     finishing in 417th position. I had averaged 3.83km an hour and I   estimated     that I had only spent about 35 minutes at checkpoints all day.         Many competitors behind me decided that when they reached the laser at     Checkpoint 5 to spend the night there. People were coming in all night   and     all the next morning. One woman came in after 23 hours. The fact that I   had     got back in one go meant that I caught or built up a lot of time on   others     which I would not lose very much in the last two days. Overall I was   around     490th position which I was very happy with. My major problem was that my     feet were now a mess.         Thursday April 13th -- Rest Day         We all had a lie in the next morning because we knew the Berber crew   would     not be pulling the tents down. I could barely walk and it took an age to     hobble out through the "minefield" to the sand dunes for a crap which I   had     to do on my hands and knees, unable to squat. I had gone from the best   feet     in the tent to the worst.         Doc Trotters had lines of people waiting to be seen. Instead, I waited     outside the email tent for it to open at 10am and was first on. I was   able     to send an email to say that I had completed the hardest day but that my     feet were suffering. From the emails messages I received, friends were     logging onto the official site and getting quite excited at following my     progress and seeing the photos and mini videos of the event.         Lori, my girlfriend had panicked when I had sent no emails and had been     reduced to logging on to the official website to try and find if I had     survived. As one of the slower competitors, my result usually appeared     around 1am GMT. So there would be this mad panic and phone calls between   her     and my father who was adamant that I would crawl over broken glass to   finish     and Lori who was less optimistic. Once the result came through, she   would     forward it on to all interested parties with any comments from Patrick   Bauer     on the official website. I think the emails started with "He's alive".         We lay around the tent in the shade while the sun roasted the campsite.     Snacking, sleeping and passing round Dave's book ‘Jarhead'. He had   dragged     this with him all the way so far and had read about 2 pages! By the end   of     the day, he had reached page 8. There were flies everywhere which would   land     on any blisters or cuts. "Where the hell did they all come from?"   someone     asked. "They know we are not moving today and have invited all their   mates".     It was not exactly a hygienic environment.         One of the balls of my feet was oozing pus all day and late in the     afternoon, I finally relented and went to see Doc Trotters. They looked     exhausted having been dealing with runners all day. A French nurse took   one     look at my right foot and started slicing it open, then injected some   red     iodine into it which really stung and then bandaged it up. Fortunately   she     left my other blisters alone. I hobbled out of the tent, not sure if it   had     done any good. Like me, by now, many people were hobbling around slowly   with     large red iodine patches on feet, shoulders or back. Most of the time, I     just lay on my sleeping bag and moaned a lot that day. "Serves you right   for     taking the piss out of our feet for the first three days" Simon   concluded as     he broke wind again.         That evening, the sponsors, New Balance wanted us to replace our race     numbers because there would be extensive TV coverage of tomorrow's   stage.     The bribe to do so was a can of warm Coca Cola. I took the Coke and kept   the     new number as a souvenir. Imagine my surprise the next day at Checkpoint   1     when a volunteer looked at my well worn number and said "Where is your   new     number?" "This is my new number" I lied.         Friday April 14th -- Stage 5 -- Marathon Day         "Groundhog Day!" "Today, I will mostly be wearing ripped gaiters"…With   the     hardest day over and an abundance of water, morale in the camp was very     high. Only a handful of people had dropped out on Day 4 and the   consensus     was that the worst was over. Today, we only had to complete 26 miles   which     seemed very short to the previous 35. It would also be a relief to leave   the     campsite at Jebel el Mraier with the flies and endless piles of human   shit     all around the campsite. So much for not leaving any trace of our   presence.         Other tents were now dumping food and other goodies so it was a chance   to     pick up some decent energy bars and something different from noodles. My     pack now felt very light, though I always made sure I had that extra   bottle     of water on my front pack. My feet were covered in plasters and bandages   and     Stuart had given me a codeine pill as a pain killer. This was becoming a   war     of attrition on the body. For the first time, I could no longer get my   toe     socks on and had to just wear my other socks, which meant less   cushioning.         At the start Patrick Bauer reported that the coma case in France had     recovered and that the Finnish girl could walk again. An AC/DC song was     loudly pumped out of the loudspeakers and we were off at 9am. We had 12     hours to complete it with a 9 hour cut off at Checkpoint 3. We were   going     from Jebel El Mraier to Kourci Dial Zaid somewhere in the desert .         Everyone seemed to take off running. It was like Day 1 again. I started     walking over the first set of sand dunes but realised that the   temperature     was much lower today -- about 25'C and that it was actually possible to   jog     comfortably. So I started jogging over the stony ground, past a rocky   peak     on my right, across another stony plateau with occasional hills. Then we   had     to traverse a large crevice in the dried river bed, across a dried out   lake,     back into hilly and stony ground. All this was just over the first 10.5   km     to Checkpoint 1. I jogged all the way there and arrived in 1 hour 50   mins.     Stuart was having a rest. He was surprised to see me as I yelled     "Oi…Womble!" Usually, he was always far ahead of me. I was surprised to   see     Patrick Bauer handing out water here, going for the sympathy vote after   his     website comments.         After the first checkpoint, I was walking and back into my Oasis   mindset.     The biggest problem was that the majority of today's surfaces were hard     stony rocks. Miles and miles of them. It looked as if the course had   been     deliberately designed to destroy the feet of anyone who already had   damaged     feet. It was so painful to cross. So between Checkpoint 1 and 2, we     followed a wadi between some hills, through a valley with gravel type     stones, another undulating stony plateaux, another wadi, another stony     plateaux, packed ground and then sand. It was all very flat with few     landmarks to let you know any distances. Stuart had passed me as had the     Japanese model whom I had spoken to most days in my terrible Japanese.   Both     were resting at Checkpoint 2 and I kept going. "Has anyone seen a fat     bastard doing a marathon around here?" It was Simon. He had caught me up     after my fast start. I hate show offs.         Right after Checkpoint 2 at 22.5km, there were a long series of sand   dunes     that appeared out of nowhere. The road book called them "small dunes"   but     they were some of the toughest, tallest and most endless all week and   they     went on for 9km. Imagine doing a marathon and at half way you have to   cross     6 miles of sand dunes. There was always an element of surprise in this   event     and if you didn't build in some reserve time, terrain like this could   ruin     your cut off time.         I followed Simon and the Japanese model into the dunes. It was a real   slog     in knee deep sand and my feet slid around my shoes ripping my bandages   apart     and stretching my skin. My gaiters were holding up well, but the   friction in     my shoes was really painful. It was difficult to find a way through and   we     would climb up to the top of a sand dune to see someone in the distance   --     but the dunes never seemed to end. There was always another in the   distance.     Simon and the Japanese girl pulled away, as Japanese cameramen sprinted   over     the dunes to watch her slog up and down obviously on automatic pilot.   Stuart     also caught and passed me. I was really suffering. It was just more pain   on     top of all those stony surfaces.         Eventually, I saw Stuart in the distance on top of a dune, waving his     walking stick in the air. He was indicating that Checkpoint 3 was in   site at     31km. What a relief. Seven hours had passed but I was two hours ahead of   the     cut off time. Now I knew I'd get through today even if the codeine     painkiller had worn off.         But of course, once the dunes were finished just after the checkpoint,   there     were another 8km of "slightly stony plateau" and a "plateaux with fine   black     stones" and a sandy pass. I wonder what the French definition of   "slightly"     is? My feet were mush by the end of it.         At 39.5 km, I crawled into Checkpoint 4 at around 9 hours. It was just a     compulsory checkpoint and no water was handed out because there were   only     3km to the finish. I had budgeted my water accordingly and had loads   left.     The lower temperatures meant I was drinking less as well -- except over   the     dunes which left my mouth parched and I had to continually take in sips.         It felt good to know that the worst was over and it was just a matter of     walking alongside a mountain and through a pass to the finish. It was   almost     dark when I finished in 9 hours 56 min, two hours ahead of the cut off   time.     My position today was 545 but overall I had only dropped only 3 places   to     493. I had averaged 4.24 kilometres an hour. No one had apparently   dropped     out today.         Back at the tent, I was amazed to hear that the Irish lads had finished     their first marathon in 6 hours (with backpacks). Unbelievable. Dave and     Paul told us how they had witnessed a comical sight on the sand dunes.     Someone had stopped to take a crap and the helicopter was buzzing over     getting footage of the runners. As it came down lower to get close up   shots,     the pilot did not see the crapping runner who was directly underneath   and     who was signalling frantically with his torch to indicate his presence.   The     helicopter descended right over him and the rotar blades blew him down   the     dunes with his shorts around his ankles. Now that's what you call a   Kodak     moment.         My feet were a disaster and fumbling around in the dark, I just left the     dressings on and would worry about them tomorrow. Everybody in the tent   was     very happy to have survived. Emails arrived from both Alans   congratulating     us on sticking it out and getting so far. Which was nice.         That evening there was a classical concert. It seemed a bit bizarre that   a     French orchestra had been flown in along with an Egyptian conductor. A   small     stage with a giant video screen had been set up about 50m from our tent.   As     the classical music started, we lay in our tents and listened. I was   just     too tired with painful feet to bother going out. I was in two minds   about     this event. While it gave the local Moroccan dignitaries an excuse to   visit     the camp, I felt that it would have been better if a Moroccan band had   been     asked to play. It seemed rather irrelevant to listen to Strauss and   Mozart     in the middle of the desert and so very French in attitude. Having some     tribal desert music would have been a lot more entertaining. I would   have     got out of the tent for that.         Saturday April 15th -- Stage 6 -- Last Day         "Groundhog day!" "Today I will be mostly wearing…medals". The Berber   tent     crews did not have to break camp today because the tents were going   nowhere     except back to wherever they had come from. Competitors were dumping all     their spare food, clothes, damaged gear, thermarests etc. The Berber   crews     were going around and gathering up as much gear as they could carry. A     neighbour gave me a pair of walking sticks which I tied to my pack. I   was     desperate for dressings and wrapped my feet in whatever I could find.         We packed up and had breakfast for the final time and had a Tent 96   photo.     We were very grubby after nine days in the desert and our clothes were     filthy but we were still smiling and throwing humorous insults around..   I     had a week old beard that was white (so I discovered later). I was told   that     I looked like George Best after a bad night out.         The French volunteers, doctors and nurses boarded the jeeps and made a     honking farewell procession around the campsite with everyone cheering.     There was also a party atmosphere at the start. Patrick Bauer   congratulated     everyone for completing the event. There was only a 12km stage to go   from     Kourci Dial Zaid to the town of Merzouga but it involved crossing some   of     the highest dunes in the Sahara Desert. The AC/DC song pumped out again   and     everyone was jumping up and down. And then we were off.         Like greyhounds out of the trap, most competitors sprinted off across   the     rocky terrain. I jogged steadily along any sandy path I could find in     between the rocks. It was undulating but generally flat. The sun was   high in     the sky again. I knew we must be getting near civilization because a   group     of tourists being led around on camels had stopped to watch us all run   past.     Around 6km, we passed the ruins of a small village of Merdani. Locals   were     still living in the ruins which included an old fortress. Then we   crossed     the Honklafhin wadi across more stony ground and approached the huge   sand     dunes ahead.         The Erg Merzouga were gigantic, bright orange mountains of sand. They   were     relatively solid underfoot and I could continue to jog slowly around the     peaks and in and out of the depressions, following a couple of Germans   who     preened themselves for action photos on the dunes. It was a great   feeling to     be on the dunes thinking "Hey I'm running across sand dunes in the   Sahara     Desert" and they were much easier than yesterday's monsters. I had   passed     Stuart en route but not seen anyone else from our tent. The dunes lasted     four kilometres and I was actually passing people.         The finish was a tall water tower which was visible from the dunes. I   heard     a voice behind me "Anyone seen a fat bastard lost in the dunes around   here?"     Simon's feet had also taken a bashing and he had taken it easy today.   With     the finish in site, we decided to cross the line together "well, it   would be     rude not too". All those months of communicating via email, all the   ideas     and tips and equipment comparisons and then those first three days of   hell     on the actual event. We had come through it all and now it was all about   to     end. It was a strange feeling.         The finish line was only a few metres after the dunes stopped. We   crossed in     2 hours 4 mins and shook hands. Patrick Bauer then grabbed me and gave   me a     kiss on both cheeks and we were given our medals and a goody bag of   food. I     had averaged 5.71km on that final stage, my fastest of the week.   Overall, I     finished in 493rd position with a total time of 51 hours 14 mins, a mere   34     hours behind the winner -- Lahcen Ahansal again -- not that he ever came   back     to help me with my backpack. Simon had done really well finishing in   417th     position in 46 hours. Noone was bothered about a position. We had come   for a     finish and achieved it.         Competitors lay around waiting for tent mates to finish and a Moroccan   band     was playing. We found Ian Baldwin who had arrived before us and watched     Stuart come in. Graham and Keith were smoking cigars. There was a     magnificent sight on the dunes; a camel train of 10 camels were being   led in     a line over the sand.         We had been given bus tickets for the return journey back to Quarzazate   and     our bus was supposedly leaving at 12.10. We departed at 12.30 and then     discovered we had a 350km journey back which would take about 7 hours.   Just     what we needed. I think this was the worst part of the week. Crawling   back     over all the hills we had first crossed, having to stop to let people   pee     when all we wanted to do was to get back to the hotel as soon as   possible,     get the dressings off our feet and inspect the damage, have a shower and     just leave the desert behind us. I got cramp on the bus and the need for   a     toilet became slightly more serious!         When we finally arrived just before dusk, we were dropped up the road   from     the Berber Palace Hotel where we collected our dusty suitcases and then   had     to walk half a mile to the hotel. I could barely walk. The English   checked     back into this hotel and I never saw any of the foreign competitors   again.     Simon went ahead and checked us in and I checked straight into the   toilet!     My first shower left a layer of sand on the bottom. It took two razors   to     shave the beard and my running clothes should have been burnt. The   dressings     on my feet were so embedded, I had to cut them off with scissors. Other   than     eating and grabbing a couple of beers, we were too tired to do much     celebrating if it involved walking. BBC world TV reported that   absolutely     nothing had occurred during our absence from the world.         Rob, the ‘Best of Morocco' liaison man, stood on a chair to praise all   the     English competitors who had finished, only to be drowned out with cries   of     "I have no information about that!"         Sunday April 16th/Monday April 17th         We spent the next morning feeding ourselves on a decent breakfast, and   then     went to the organizers hotel to hand in our distress flares which were     replaced with ‘Finisher T-shirts'. Then it was down to the local   supermarket     to buy an obscene amount of beer and back to the hotel to laze around a     square in the sun drinking, chatting and reviewing the week with my tent     mates. The state of our feet meant that all competitors were banned from     using the swimming pools. We could have gone to the afternoon   presentation     of the awards, but I couldn't be bothered to stand on my feet unless it   was     to replace an empty beer can and noone wanted to face any long winded     speeches in French. After the evening meal, the celebrations went on   well     after midnight. I suppose we were all feeling very smug. After a bottle   of     rum, Kiwi Keith even did a Haku dance in the bar, vowing to return in   2008     to complete the event which was, as far as he was concerned "unfinished     business". He maintained that he was pulled from Stage 3 against his   will     and felt that the competition was easier from Day 4. Maybe so, but those   cut     off times are put in for a reason.         We were up at 5am on Monday and in the buses by 6am ready for the short   ride     to the airport. The plane left at 8.30 and we were back in the UK 4   hours     later. The desert seemed a lifetime away. Returning to electricity,   fresh     running water and clean sheets, I had nothing but admiration for the   local     people who live in the desert all the time. Their wells must be their   only     survival tool. It was obvious on the course that we were running over   areas     which had previously contained fertile crops but were now lying   underneath     the sand of the ever increasing Saharan Desert.         It was a once in a lifetime challenge that I achieved. It took both   mental     and physical exertion to complete and even when I had finished, I don't     think it had sunk in what I had done. It was like living in an ever   moving     circus of pain for a week in the middle of a desert. What I do know is   that     for the following week, I was a zombie at work with no real energy or     enthusiasm. I felt drained and once the adrenalin of finishing had worn   off,     my body still had to repair itself. Amazingly I only lost 5kg in weight     though the hotel food may have replaced some of it. A week later, I   could     walk better but the skin was falling off my feet and toes. Four toes   lost     most of the skin off them, both balls of my feet were sliced up and one   heel     had a nice blister. Would I do it again? No. I don't think I have   anything     to prove.         I will leave the last word to the official conclusion of this year's   event:         MDS lives up to its reputation : the most difficult race in the world     During the press conference with journalists from all over the world and   the     champion of this edition, Lahcen Ahansal, Director Patrick Bauer looked   back     on this great but very difficult edition. With 731 at the start, from 32     countries, 585 finished the race i.e. 146 pulled out. Bauer explained   that     this unusually high level was due largely to extreme weather conditions   as     from day one: high temperatures (up to 42°C), sandstorms and very high     hygrometry levels (up to 35%). « Nature took over. You realise how small   you     are compared to the elements. In these conditions what counts is having   good     mental and physical preparation. We saw that some competitors weren't as     well prepared as other years. The majority however did manage their   course     well and I take my hat off to them."         According to the director of the Doc Trotter medical team, a record   number     of IVs were administered (62). The high hygrometry level was the most     unexpected aspect of the race from a medical point of view (more than   20%     higher than usual): "regulating the hydration level in your body --   whether     voluntary or involuntary- is more difficult when the hygrometry level is     high. You therefore have to adapt your water intake accordingly -- take   in     small amounts more regularly and more salt -- 5g per day. That's when     experience really comes into play… Running is a skill.»



  

User avatar

Long-Winded Collector

Posts: 4750
Joined: Oct 31, 2004
Last Visit: May 05, 2021
Location: Garland, TX

Post Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:03 am 
 

my groin was in danger of unfeasibly large boils.


Ok...needless to say I would rather have frostbite!  8O

  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 8219
Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Last Visit: Jun 12, 2017
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, UK

Post Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:08 am 
 

Kingofpain89 wrote:
my groin was in danger of unfeasibly large boils.


Ok...needless to say I would rather have frostbite!  8O


well yes, that was one thing where his preparation wasnt as good as mine. i did a bit of homework testing in that department months before i went. shaving all the hair off was a bad idea. doing a number 1 with the shaving clippers worked much better - well it did for me as i didnt have any of them problems at all.

Al



  

User avatar

Long-Winded Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 3861
Joined: Feb 21, 2004
Last Visit: Jul 20, 2021
Location: Milford, Michigan

Post Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:31 pm 
 

Kill -  Congrats on the attempt. Sorry to hear about the injury.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

Everything Pacesetter at http://pacesettergames.blog.com/

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 8219
Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Last Visit: Jun 12, 2017
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, UK

Post Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:14 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote:Kill -  Congrats on the attempt. Sorry to hear about the injury.


thanks BB - will do better next time, dont worry :)

Al



  

User avatar

Verbose Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 1106
Joined: Aug 14, 2004
Last Visit: Jun 09, 2021
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:48 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:thanks BB - will do better next time, dont worry :)


Al,  After reading (most - not all) of your previous post I was left with the distinct impression that the race organisers were inflexible when it came to changing the support even though the conditions were different from previous years.

While I would normally agree that preparations are your own responsibility in this case I believe the race organisers have a far greater duty of care than in a normal race.  This is especially true as they limit the amount of water you are allowed.  Water of course being the key ingredient to survival. I would hate to push my body to the point of complete dehydration and muscle breakdown.

I guess what I am saying is the story did not fill me with the confidence I would need to trust the organisers with my life.  Please note I also believe the extreme weather conditions we are seeing are not a simple freak of nature and I expect we will be seeing more weather changes in the coming years so please allow for these extremes in your next race.

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 8219
Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Last Visit: Jun 12, 2017
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, UK

Post Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:13 am 
 

improvstone wrote:
killjoy32 wrote:thanks BB - will do better next time, dont worry :)


Al,  After reading (most - not all) of your previous post I was left with the distinct impression that the race organisers were inflexible when it came to changing the support even though the conditions were different from previous years.

While I would normally agree that preparations are your own responsibility in this case I believe the race organisers have a far greater duty of care than in a normal race.  This is especially true as they limit the amount of water you are allowed.  Water of course being the key ingredient to survival. I would hate to push my body to the point of complete dehydration and muscle breakdown.

I guess what I am saying is the story did not fill me with the confidence I would need to trust the organisers with my life.  Please note I also believe the extreme weather conditions we are seeing are not a simple freak of nature and I expect we will be seeing more weather changes in the coming years so please allow for these extremes in your next race.


does paint a damn scary picture though doesnt it?

imagine what its like when you are actually THERE though :)

and thats nothing. wait til i tell you about the trying to get home bit!

Al



  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6720
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 02, 2021

Post Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:07 am 
 

You keep promising that story...I want to hear it!

Mark    8)


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 8219
Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Last Visit: Jun 12, 2017
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, UK

Post Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:16 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:You keep promising that story...I want to hear it!

Mark    8)


am still trying to finish the accounts year end and then catch up on a months backlog of work as well as a batch of other stuff.... dont worry i will sort it - it was a real adventure too!

Al



  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 8219
Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Last Visit: Jun 12, 2017
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, UK

Post Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:03 pm 
 

got my pictures developed today from the MDS (disposable camera) have just scanned them and now have em on the PC.

thought i would post this one here as its an ace pic. thats me on the left - stood there with two mates who i had corresponded with for a long while:

Image



  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 8219
Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Last Visit: Jun 12, 2017
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, UK

Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:14 am 
 

hey guys

if you are from USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, please read this.

a friend of mine contacted me yesterday and told me that there might be a chance that he can get me onto the 2007 Marathon Des Sables! well i cant decide for a few weeks yet anyway, as i am undergoing treatment for my foot / hip at the moment, so cant decide til i know the outcome of that.

what it basically is, is this. the UK section of applicants, is run by a company called Best of Morocco. their allocation of places is full, and there are 103 on the waiting list, basically no chance at all of getting in.

However, the US, CAN, AUS, NZ section of applicants, is run by http://www.dreamchaserevents.com/Des%20 ... sables.htm
(the Dreamchasers Outdoor Adventure Club). These places dont get taken up til mid-may and my friend is in very good contact with them and assures me that theres a good chance of a place if i want one - just means i have to travel/stay with them instead of the brits.

So what i am looking for is this: i need a postal address in either of them four areas. the chances are, nothing will be sent snail mail to there (which will then need mailing to me), as i am assured that everything can be done online, which will be cool.

so is there anyone out there who can help me out, if i need it? i have a few options already, but it would be nice if there is a batch of options i can fall back on, should i need to....

cheers

Al



  

User avatar

Verbose Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 1106
Joined: Aug 14, 2004
Last Visit: Jun 09, 2021
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:22 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:so is there anyone out there who can help me out, if i need it? i have a few options already, but it would be nice if there is a batch of options i can fall back on, should i need to....

cheers

Al


As if you need to ask ......  DONE!

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 8219
Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Last Visit: Jun 12, 2017
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, UK

Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:33 am 
 

improvstone wrote:
killjoy32 wrote:so is there anyone out there who can help me out, if i need it? i have a few options already, but it would be nice if there is a batch of options i can fall back on, should i need to....

cheers

Al


As if you need to ask ......  DONE!


top man! perfectomundo!

well lets see what happens and if i need to i will give you a shout.

thanks very much :)

Al



  


Prolific Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 656
Joined: Apr 12, 2004
Last Visit: Nov 28, 2020
Location: Perth, Australia

Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:09 am 
 

And another as a back up.

  


Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6463
Joined: Dec 13, 2004
Last Visit: Apr 04, 2021

Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:16 am 
 

Well Alan, you know that you can always count on me to help out too if need be. :)


"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." -Neitzche

  

User avatar

Long-Winded Collector

Posts: 3155
Joined: Nov 21, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 05, 2016
Location: UK

Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:21 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:nothing will be sent snail mail to there (which will then need mailing to me), as i am assured that everything can be done online, which will be cool.

Remember to pick up a dingo.com.au email addy so as to complete the subterfuge, Al.

=
Great to know there are so many people around here willing to help a fellow Acaeum member suffer. :)

  


Prolific Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 656
Joined: Apr 12, 2004
Last Visit: Nov 28, 2020
Location: Perth, Australia

Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:53 am 
 

I was toying with the idea of babybitesdingo.com.au  :wink:

  
PreviousNext
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 7 of 111234, 5, 6, 7, 891011