In a fit of madness I decided it would be a great idea to enter the 2007 Marathon des Sables, the delightful 150 mile+ foot race across the Sahara Desert that makes grown men cry. Why did I do this? It’s difficult to say really, I’m not sure there is a good reason; I’d heard of the MDS many years ago and had always thought ‘one day’. The race came up in conversation with my wife a few years ago and she said why not now? Why not indeed? I applied two years ago for this year’s race and gave up smoking immediately, the first stage of training!   

Two years on, having completed the event now, it doesn’t seem overly remarkable from this side of the fence. It was an amazing experience, certainly tough, but eminently achievable to anybody who is up for a challenge. Like anything else, you don’t start out running a double marathon with a rucksack, but by jogging around the block like everybody else, the training just picks up gradually. I’m no athlete, just an ordinary person who wanted to try something different. I was also lucky and didn’t suffer from any blister problems, the cause of so much pain and misery to many participants. It is the relentless nature of the MDS that makes it such a bitter sweet event, having to get up each day and run again after the prior day’s onslaught, all on the fairly meagre rations you carry for the week. The scenery and backdrop to the event is spectacular. Thrown together into the melting pot with around 750 other competitors, six of whom I shared a tent with, it is a fairly intense experience. Having avoided major foot problems, my pain has already faded away into a warm memory. Would I go back and do it again? I could be packed and ready to go within the hour!

This was about meeting a life ambition for me. In doing so, it seemed an ideal opportunity to raise money for the Rainbow Trust. I first came across the Rainbow Trust in 2002 when I was looking to run the London Marathon. There seem to be so many worthy causes; yet having two young, healthy children, the Rainbow Trust seemed to resonate and hit a nerve. At that time I couldn’t get a place with the Rainbow Trust, but resolved to raise money next time I had a big event. Five years on, and here we are, the mother of all events!! I funded the race myself, every penny raised has gone to the Rainbow Trust, over £10,000 so far, although I shall endeavour to
wring out as much as possible with my photos and tales of glory.

The next challenge? I'm looking to complete an Ironman Triathlon in 2010, but that's another story......

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