Scotland To Sahara


Absolutely loved running out to the sahara, but must say the drive back was a bit tedious. It was interesting virtually retracing the steps that it had taken me 78 days to run, and revisiting some fond memories. The terrain remained spectacular, and wild, but seemed gentler from the comfort of the campervan. Gone was the worry regarding the weather, and whether the local shops had ice, or painkillers. I had plenty time to reflect on the run, interspersed with some fairly terrible CD’s which were mostly mine.
It’s easy to see the run through rose tinted spectacles and say “that wasn’t too bad”, but it still strikes me how physically arduous and mentally draining i found scotland2sahara. It was exactly as i hoped it would be, a decent test of what my body is capable of, and i feel blessed that i chose something that although difficult, was achievable. The prevailing wind direction and the hills certainly taught me a lesson on occasion, and the one over-riding memory is that i never felt i was having to deal with these things alone, but had the support of friends, and family, and everyone else that sent me best wishes and advice. Some of the views, and conditions will stay with me forever.
Back home i’ve had a shower and smell better than i did in the desert. The flavour saving beard has gone leaving me with a ridiculous tan line. My stats show i ran 2659 miles, and lost o.3 kg only. I ate literally hundreds of bananas, satsumas, milkshakes, bread rolls, eating a grand total of 663 000 Kilocalories. I lost 3kg running a self sufficiency jungle race a week before starting, and i’ve put this back on in the last 4 days. An added treat for me will be to see my good friend ian edmond having to try to eat 20 pickled eggs in an hour. We had a sporting wager about how far i’d get, and i’m glad to avoid the fate that awaits him, and his bowels.
It’s also been humbling hearing of other people’s efforts and achievements. For clarity, as this is not always accurately reflected in press articles, i am pleased to have reached the sahara to fulfil a personal ambition. It’s difficult to beat seeing the sahara sands shift during the day, and seeing the african sky at night knowing that you’ve tested yourself and come out the other end. The run is in excess of what the guinnes world record was at the start of the challenge, but i have no desire to claim this, as i’ve learned about Running the Sahara, where Ray, Charlie and Kevin ran 37 miles a day for 111 days. They never claimed the record, but it would not be correct to claim a record, knowing they had exceeded it. I presume it would construe a British record for consecutive ultramarathons, but am happy to stand corrected.
That run, and several others are just fantastic. Hugh Symonds “running high”, over all 3000 feet peaks in GB and Ireland was a brutal accomplishment, and Other great ones include Richard Donovan’s immense 7 marathons in 7 continents in 5 days. Brilliant. I’m also following Ray Zahab crossing the Atacama at present, and Sean Newell cycling between all the commenwealth countries.
No such capers for me, as i sort out all my stuff, and leave the washing machine on non stop. Doing some serious wedding planning this week, and there will be a preview on Adventure show on Tuesday, and other stuff like Reporting Scotland etc. I’ll get some blood tests to confirm that i’m probably a little anaemic, and need to take it easy for a couple weeks but otherwise i’m tickity-boo
On tuesday i’ll meet with Dave and Karen from the yamaa trust, to discuss plans for future fundraising, and projects. Any suggestions or ideas for the trust appreciated. It has astounded me to see the big hearted response from everybody including the likes of Mark Beaumont, Ian Rankin, and Chris Cusiter.
The S2S auction finishes tomorrow, with bargains still to be had. A specialised and individually tailored internet/ phone training plan with supercoach Mandy Miller, is £120, probably a quarter of it’s value, and there are still cut-price opportunities to get into some of the world’s best, and most scenic races. The raffle will also be drawn, good luck to all with tickets.
I’ll blog an update with some stats from the challenge next week, thanks