On the morning of stage 4 I was a little all over the place. Instead of my run/walk strategy, I was now planning to powerwalk the stage due to my knee injury. For some reason it took me ages to get ready that morning - arriving at the startline with minutes to spare!
The stage itself was 81.5km long (approx 51 miles) from El Maharch to Jebel El Mraier. From the start I put my earphones in, turned the music up and went as fast as my legs could walk! I tried running a couple of times, but it just wasn't happening! This was hard especially as the stage starts were electrifying. People would surge off the line, while a helicopter would fly low overhead to capture the scene for TV. The adrenaline rush was incredible - but walk I had to.
Stage 5 (Friday, April 13th) again started slowly for me. This was the marathon distance stage, 42.2km from Jebel El Mraier to Merdani. No major obstacles along the way, a perfect stage for running! I took a painkiller in the morning - but it didn't kick in until 2:35 into the stage. The relief in my knee once it did was incredible. I ran a bit... it felt ok... I ran a bit more - a little pain but managable! I had 14 miles to go, and I knew I had a lot of time to gain back if I was to break back into that top 200!
Now for the next challenge...
Tuesday 24 April 2012
The first thing you notice on arrival in Morocco is that the runners stand out a mile. They're the ones with the Raidlight, OMM or Innov8 backpacks. They're the ones with too much energy to sit down and - if you look a little closer - they're the ones with velcro glued to their trainers (to secure gaitors - which keep the sand out)! They wear sunglasses on their heads at the airport because they are afraid that this essential piece of kit will get broken, and airport security suddenly realise that a lot of people are carrying backpacks full of ration packs and jelly beans! Welcome to April in Morocco - home of the MdS and 860 crazy people!
In this blog, I will try to retell as closely as possible, my experiences of the Marathon des Sables, 2012. The event, for me, was the achievement of a long held ambition - something I have probably dreamed about for the past 12 years since completing my first marathon. I have always said that I am not, and will never be, a good runner. I have poor technique, and I am not genetically designed to be good over long distances! But I do enjoy it, and what I can do is make the best of what I have and know.