I completed the 32nd Marathon des Sables only 7 months after foot surgery and it was an incredible feeling to realise I’d not only completed it but finished 20th in my category and 46th out of 234 women finishers. It was hardly a podium place I know, but for me it felt like it, as the MDS was something that had seemed totally unachievable for me. I was a middle aged, overweight unfit woman when I entered and it was the catalyst for me to realise that with effort I could achieve my dreams.
I met some amazing people; tent mates Brian and Huw, Craig, and Ian all stood out to me as achieving incredible things in their different ways and I felt lacking in their presence. Ian’s generosity and triumph in the face of adversity just blows my mind. Even before I got to the desert, another team mate, Rory, was the final catalyst for me to realise alcohol was holding me back from being the person I wanted to be, he showed me I needed to think like an athlete and as a result I am now, in January 2018, alcohol free for the best part of 18mths and a better person for it.
The journey to the MDS wasn’t easy and there were moments, right up to the last 24hrs when I didn’t think I’d make it to the start line. Spending a week in Zagora as the guest of Mohamad Ahansal, 5 times winner of MDS was incredible but running down Jebel Benni and falling, nearly made me miss the race. I needed stitches the night before and antibiotics and pain killers for the infection all week.
It wasn’t until after the long day, that I truly knew I’d got this: 17hrs through the desert, a double marathon, after 4 days of desert running! I was ecstatic and it is still the best run of my life.
I appreciated all of my team mates, but it was Simon, who in the days after we finished the MDS, saw me in a very low place. Simon, understood my pain, but he didn’t judge and his few words of comfort and advice are what gave me the confidence to commit to Running the World.
He sent me this video clip and I watch it frequently, I urge you to do the same
Click here: Commitment – Be a Pig!
MDS was April 2017, I committed to Running the World in June 2017, completing the first stage, my first solo run of 233k for Run to Work in October 2017, running from Amsterdam airport across the Netherlands to Germany until I reached my office in Essen. Arriving at the office in Essen was an incredible experience and to be honest it now trumps MDS, because running solo having to survive and plan all the logistics when exhausted, without a medical team is far more challenging than an organised race. However MDS will always remain an incredible memory and one that helped me to believe in myself again.
Be a PIG and commit to your goals, Granny Tish