Marathon Des Sables
Six marathons in six days across the desert. We carried all our own food and kit and the temperatures reached the high 40s. Everyone argued about which was the hardest day: this year the shock of the first caused many to pull out – dunes from the start, the middle day was a double, 52 miles which took me 21 hours and 12 minutes, but for me it wasn’t a stage that was the hardest thing, it was walking towards the start line on the last marathon day. My feet were blistered and bloody and I didn’t know how I could possibly cope with the pain that lay ahead. But I did and I made it and the joy of that day will live with me forever.
The physical preparation is one thing, but for an adventure like this one, it is the head that helps you complete it. I had two mantras that I kept with me all the way through: the first was to enjoy the moment, look around at the amazing landscape, and feel the glory of what we were all trying to accomplish. The second was that pain is inevitable, it hurt, sometimes it hurt a lot, but suffering is optional.
I started my training along the cold, wet canals of Manchester and in the hills of the Peak District, and then in January moved to Marrakech to translate that to the harsh sun and rigours of the desert. I went down to the dunes just two weeks before the race and that was a life saver!
It will take a book to describe the entirety of the race – but please check out my blog posts to get a taste for it http://www.alicemorrison.co.uk/i-did-it-i-ran-the-marathon-des-sables/ and you can always email me if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Based on my experiences and with the help of some world class ultra coaches, I am planning to run some MdS specific training camps in Morocco – check out www.epicrunning.co.uk for details.
I had never even run a marathon when I signed up so training was long, slow and hard. The main thing was to get the miles in the legs and to practice running with a pack. I moved to Morocco in January to help acclimatisation. And I did core training and pilates all the way through to try and strengthen up.
Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure
Timbuktu - "the furtherest place on earth." My quest was to travel from Tangier, the gateway to Europe, to the legendary city of Timbuktu following the ancient salt roads. I went with a film crew from Tern TV, to make a series for BBC2. We followed in the footsteps of the medieval trans-Saharan traders, who braved the dangers of the desert with their cargoes of gold, salt and slaves. The book of the series, Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure, is available in paperback and on kindle from Amazon.More
Atlas to Atlantic
The Atlas to Atlantic Trek was a world first. My expedition partner, Rachid Aitelmahjoub, and I walked from the top of Mount Toubkal, the highest point in North Africa, straight across the Atlas mountains to the Atlantic ocean. It took 12 days, sometimes walking from dawn, through sunset and on into the small hours of the morning. We lived off the land, often relying on Berber hospitality in remote villages for our food and water. The trip was sponsored by www.epicmorocco.co.ukMore
In 2011, I competed in the Tour D'Afrique, the longest bike race on earth. Over four months, 63 of us raced from Cairo to Cape Town through some of the toughest terrain in Africa. We were shot at, beaten with cattle whips, chased by wild elephant, suffered from malaria and typhoid, climbed endless mountains in Ethiopia and were broken by the lava road in Northern Kenya. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I hope you enjoy the book! Dodging Elephants available on Kindle and in paperback through Amazon.More