When Col and I crossed the finish line in Egypt after completing 250km in the Sahara desert (2010)I knew I would be back to try it all over again. Madness you may say but along the way we learn so much about ourselves and also about how not to do one of these races. The heat was so intense it nearly stopped us from getting in the very first day…..then there was the blisters, the heat rash and mentally just having no idea at all. To this day I still ponder on how we actually made it to the finish line our packs were way to heavy and the pain in my back was so intense…. I guess our stubbornness and ability to laugh at ourselves kept us going…… when that medal was put around our neck it was all worth it….
That was in 2010 so it took me till 2014 to understand a lot more about Ultras and go back and tackle the Sahara once more but this time far better equipped than before both physically and mentally.
As Col was not able to get the time of work my wonderful friend Carolyn said she would come along as a volunteer I was so excited as Carolyn would be a great support to many a competitor but also someone who would be there to support me or give me a push if I was to have a complete meltdown…
It was hard to leave Col behind as this journey we had started together but I knew he was there with me all the way and I was not going to let him down. I had been training really hard with the help of my coach Andy and felt ready to tackle whatever the desert was going to throw up at me…
As always I had a nervous excited feeling and I kept going over my gear & food making sure it was right. Carolyn was off doing volunteer training and so I took a bit of time to go for a light run and stretch out the legs after the flight.
After gear checks and a bus trip to the start line we organised ourselves in our tents for a good night’s sleep, well we hoped anyway before the official start in the morning.
As we counted down the start of the race all I knew was I needed to get through the first day, push a bit but not over do anything as in a stage race it is not about the first day at all its about how well you can do day after day….the finish line is a long way away and lots can happen over 250km.
Each night I would go to the cyber tent my only contact with family and friends at home it got me through each day I so looked forward to those comments. I missed Col & the family and so wished Col was here but I knew as I read his messages he was with me all the way… I was so proud that I had finished first female on the first day and continued that through each of the stages. The long stage was tough and so steep and rocky coming into camp but I had achieved my goal to not only do well but to finish first female and 10th overall….. I was so excited and felt very humbled by the experience.
My blog link for the race:
As I ran in on the final stage to the finish line I just took it all in all the hard work and commitment ….I was so emotional……. We ran through Petra to the finish line at the Treasury I had no idea of the surprise that awaited me….. Col was there to present me with my medal…….SAY WHAT….. COL………
I could not believe it but there he was he had jumped a plan travelled for 24hrs to make it to the finish line I was in tears and so was he…..
what an incredible emotional end to a race…..I still get teary thinking about it…………..
and thanks goes to Carolyn for being there for me through all the highs and lows of the race………… As I seem to keep saying Dream big and anything can happen.. ….. Sandy