Despite being involved in their first 4 Deserts events, Jane Peng and Colin and Sandy Suckling had made a whole lot of RacingThePlanet friends before they even touched down in Egypt, thanks to the magic of the internet.
Jane and the Sucklings both kept their own blogs in the lead-up to tackling the Sahara Race 2010 and say they got to know plenty of their fellow competitors and staff through the internet, before finally getting to meet them in person.
Jane, who hails from Hong Kong but lives in Singapore, says she was inspired to blog because she thought the world should know about the grand undertaking that is the Sahara Race.
“Part of me realised how crazy this was,” the 25-year-old says. “I figured I better make it public and encourage others too … I achieved more than I expected, with 4,000 viewings in one month. People knew me very well before I even started the race.” Jane’s attack on the Sahara was particularly courageous given that she only took up running earlier this year.
“Five years ago I cycled 5,000km from Ashvan to Cairo along the Nile – (it was) excruciating, although stunning,” she says.
“I picked up running this year. I’d only done some 5kms before, but decided to go for long distances. Early March was my fist 10km. Further runs were 25km in mid-May – that gave me a confidence boost. My longest training distance was 35km. This race was really tough, but I chose to show it to the world. It’s not rocket science – you just need to put one step after the other.” For the Sucklings, the Sahara Race is a double celebration – Sandy’s 50th birthday and their 10th wedding anniversary.
“There’re no restrictions on what we can do,” Sandy says. “Life isn’t over when you turn 50. We didn’t run this race, but we still completed it. We wanted to complete it together.”
“We enjoy the experience of doing things together. The other person doesn’t have to do the same things, but we often end up joining each other for common activities.”
“We love adventure races, marathons and other physical challenges … and we haven’t had arguments for 10 years!”
The Sahara tested their relationship in new ways, but by sticking together they managed to make it through. For Sandy, the big test came between checkpoint five and six on the 94.5km Long March stage.
“(I had) back pain, inflammation and thought ‘I’ve got to stop’,”she recounts. “Colin told me that I could swear, yell and cry. We cuddled and I started crying. That’s it, I got it out of my system supporting each other makes a huge difference.”