I got an entry to the Marathon of Sands

I found out in May that I got accepted as a participant for the 2016 Marathon Des Sables.  This has always been on my list of mad things to do.  Last year I stuck in a registration of interest and luckily enough I got in, panic quickly set in and I nearly chickened out.  I paid my deposit of £500 and that was it, the commitment was made.

I have been looking into all sorts of blogs and online forums and the one thing that always shines out is that if you train smartly, look after your body when out there and keep a strong mind you will finish.  There is a lot more to this of course as its 250km over 6 days in the heat of the Sahara desert.
I just thought I’d update all you Hikers Blog readers on my progress and what sort of training I will be doing over the next 8 Months.
Since I got the entry I set myself the goal of 20 miles per week.  This seems pretty straight forward and it is but only if I look after my achey hips and crunchy knees.  I am trying to get as many of the NIMRA Mountain races in and these have been good so far even though I am near the back, but I’m ok with that.  The terrain in the desert is of course varied and this can change from sand dunes, Jebels (mountains) and rocky dusty trails.  You are self sufficient for the race and the only thing they provide is water (it’s rationed), salt tablets and an open sided tent to share with 10 other competitors.  If you need Medical assistance they also provide this but on the whole its what you carry on your back that you live off.
Cash and I had our first proper back to back session in the Mountains this weekend and it was actually ok.  A 10 miler on friday evening up bloody bridge and along the Brandy pad before having a Topic bar and returning in the rain.  

The clouds descending over Donard on the Brandy pad.
After a Herrons late dinner it was a night in my Camper van before a Toot up Binnian from Carricklittle aiming for around 6 miles. My legs were tired but once I got to the top and saw the stunning views I got the buzz and this was enough to head over the South Tor and descend passing the Blue lough and returning passing the many walkers heading up for the day.
Cash on Binnian showing his famous earage.

So a Tough winter will be ahead, first up though are a few more NIMRA races, the MMM 2 day and the Mourne Skyline race.  I love the MMM and this year myself and my partner Paddy have moved up to the B class.  This will also be a first proper test for a lot of my kit i.e. pack, sleeping system etc.
I’ll try and keep you all up to date on my training and how it’s going as best as I can.  I always like to have a goal in my life, I feel it keeps me focused.  This goal is epic in proportion but I believe an achievable one.