“Want to join this race?”, the email in my inbox read early November. “...Not really”, would a sane person’s reaction be. I had some lingering endorphins from my latest ultra-marathon in beautiful Nan province in my system and as a result, my brain somehow went: “Yeah sure, why not?”
Jumping into the unknown and embracing the experience is what life is all about, right? I emailed back to the organisers who also organise the famous ultra-event through the Sahara desert (the original Marathon des Sables). I told them I would happily join the ‘little brother’ of the iconic MDS race. “But what exactly am I signing up for?”, I asked.
The reply was a light-hearted email stating that this adventure was: “Just four days of fun in the desert with friends and like-minded spirits”. Sounds like fun. “What about the running bit?’
“As for the race distances, it will be around 120km of sand running (think Phuket beach style but just a little longer) and self-sufficiency.” Awesome. Wait, what? “Self-sufficiency?”, what does that mean?
Turns out that being self-sufficient means that you pack everything you need for fours days of survival - all your food - and necessities (sleeping bag, change of clothes, toothbrush) and strap it to your back as you are attempting to navigate the desert sand in the blistering heat.
I was about to learn a few lessons…