Sunday, 17 April 2016

Only You Know and I Know - Phil Collins

Song Choice:- My word, it's a big choice as 257kms of Sahara Sand Slogging gives you a lot of time to listen to a lot of music that's just gathered dust. This PC track though became a daily anthem for me and I love the 'Only You Know' and 'I Know' lyric in it...

You see it's a perfect lyric for this years' running of The Marathon des Sables - billed as the World's Toughest Footrace.

Now if you've run the race previously, you'll know how tough it can be. If you are taking part next year, you'll be eagerly wanting to know what was it like...Well it was totally brutal...really brutal...really, really, fucking brutal - I can't stress that enough. Lead runners puking, back markers with coffee grinds for pee....Yep it was very tough, (you get the idea?)

Against the others? I'm always asked that and it's difficult as its in our nature to dismiss tough things and look back with rosy coloured specs at the brighter side. Hmm, I know that I will look back and remember endless sand (and I mean endless, endless sand) and a race that has entered a new dimension.

Yep, its gone Super-Tough and if you aren't Super-Tough Enough - You won't finish. Simple as...

Getting the Water and Salt management just right when the stages are this sandy is a fine art. Just staying healthy, eating all your food and keeping it down or in proved difficult for everyone. I won't even mention the state of the feet this year...the sand just ate them. Some trainers just shredded - lots needed to be wider and longer on the bad ones I saw.

I could go on but it's all about your PREPARATION. The kit? The gear? - it's obviously important, just don't take more than you have to...What you need to pack is a really focussed mind that can adapt to situations when the shit starts hitting the fan. Being able to monitor your bodies needs and core temperature is now a vital part of getting through the heat of the day.

If you took part in the race this year, you might see it differently - I thought I'd just write down my raw feelings about the race that I loved dearly but has now changed.

I'll be honest and say I didn't love it for the first couple of really was a slog. Then on Day Three the MAGIC just returned and I got the full 'Time Out' quality and enjoyed the 'Transcendence' of the Sahara.

And that's why it's so good to come back each year. I don't even know where I finished in the field as it doesn't matter. Sure it's a race for the top runners - for the rest of us, it's self sufficiency survival experience that you too will add to your 'Bucket List' if you haven't already ticked it off...

It's funny that in under a year 500 Brits will take on the race and will no doubt be even tougher still...If that's you, obviously spend as much time as you can preparing but you'll also need to do a lot of walking and hiking, as you are bound to need it.

No doubt, I'll look back fondly back at this MdS in the future wearing my rosy specs - as for tomorrow well it's a sand free day at the Berbere Palace in Ouarzazate enjoying a pretty much blister free paddle in the pool :-)

Rory Coleman - 975 Marathons - 241 Ultras
13 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 8138 Days' Alcohol Free.

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