Day One – The Sahara Sands

Day One – The Sahara Sands (The Hamada Trail)26th of October – 35 km / 21.9 miles – Flat, rocky and sandy (moderate) OK, I’ve never been one to start out slow, and even with the thought of my back pain mounting as the weight of my pack bore down on my poor disc, at 8:30 am I was overtaken by the adrenaline, the resounding thump of Bedouin drums at the start line and the horde of competitors bursting forth under the green banner, a standard that would become our jade oracle, our emerald aspiration, and a more welcome sight at the end of each day than any lush oasis could offer. I normally...
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Flags Flapping

Flags Flapping The night came early – around 5:30 or 6 PM. Long before we finally stopped and poured loose eyed out into the moonless night. Here was the start of the sand, so the busloads were further divided into jeeps, which sped into the enveloping night, revving engines and spinning tires to the site of our epic beginnings. The encampment was well laid out with the welcome of sand below, as it would be the rest of the race offering a gentle, yielding respite at the end of each leg. The soft sand a mixed blessing for its comfort at night, yet the promise of blisters and sore knees the next...
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The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins The late night flight to Cairo on Egyptian Air (a whole other story there) got me to my destination at 5AM. In line at immigration, another competitor from South Africa, Simone, rushed up to greet me when she saw my 4Deserts patches. Boisterous Simone and her companions, Kimberly, Dina and Pippa were kind enough to offer me a ride to the hotel in their prearranged luxury transport. As we arrived at the hotel too early to check in, several competitors decided to take a trip into Cairo and visit the Citadel. After a tour and a barefoot walk on the cool marble floors of the inner...
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The March towards Madness

The March towards Madness Training was not going well before the race, as I was plagued with Plantar Fasciitis. Every time I would go for a run, my arches would ache for a week, barely able to walk with the pain. So I focused on biking and swimming, and hiked in the evenings, touting my 10kg vest and breathing hard. One of my Seoul Synergy teammates commented in a discussion, (while I was at the race), that he thought I hadn’t trained well enough to finish. – Maybe, my friend, but I’ve got grit! The next stage of my training I think was key. I left Korea 5 days early and made my way south...
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The Lone and Level Sands

The Lone and Level Sands “A whirlwind experience swept me up and now that I’ve landed, the landscape has changed and I don’t know which way I’m facing…” The following is a retrospective of my brief adventure through the Sahara, my first endeavor at a 4Deserts race, it is a 250km self-sustained race in the sand and heat of an ancient land finishing in front of the great Pyramids of Giza. This is an account of my first (and likely last) attempt at one of the most challenging endurance events in the world, the Sahara Race. (The reason I write only in retrospect is three-fold, first...
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