Marathon Des Sables 2011

Hi All

 Not so much a discussion, but I am running the Marathon Des Sables in 2011 for Facing Africa and as part of my efforts to fundraise and to keep people informed on my training and what it takes I have launched a website.

 I would love it if people could log on and let me know what they think.


Richard Meade



  • Hi Richard,

     Great website and best of luck with the race!

     I did the MdS this year for the Mencap Team and also created a website with a blog: If you have any questions, give me a shout.



  • Hey Richard

    Just popping in to say i'm out in the desert next year as well. You doing any warm up races this autumn? I'll be at the atlantic coastal challenge in October - v gd prep if you fancy it!

  • Hi Guys

    I have a place in the MDS 2011, with my son Ben who ran it in 2004. it seemed so far in the future when i paid the deposit, and now its only 7 months away!

    Be pleased to meet up with anyone in the Leicester area, who is running the MDS,I shasll be running the Leicester Marathon in October with my 10Kg rucksack as part of my preparation. So lookout for me near the back of the pack.

  • Hey Old Fart - bit far away from you but look forward meeting and you and  young fart in the desert next year!
  • Hi Folks,

     I too am have a place in the MdS in 2011 with Yorkshire Cancer! I'm trying to get my training up to plan but with various interruptions am feeling I am a bit behind where I sould be at present!

    I took up running in Sept last year after playing rugby ll my life (now 43!). Never enjoyed it previously but now addicted. Ran in the Norwich half marathon in Nov 09 (2hrs 10min) but, on the back of only about 6 weeks training, ended up with ITB probs which were carried into this year.

    Only now with proper sports physio, qualified gait analysis and shoe orthotics the ITB seems much better.

    I then developed a linguinal hernia and had it operated on 3 weks ago and just back into my running.

    I am supposed to be running in the Wales marathon in Tenby on 26th Sept but, with the interruption in my training I am not feeling ready. I am still considering entering just to finish the distance though am certain I wont be running it all (and if I try could set myself back further) but, as it will be my longest event to date, I am tempted.

    My next long event currently booked is the Las Vegas marathon but really dont want to be wating until Nov to do my first marathon and am very concious I should probably really be looking for ultra events by that time of year rather than marathons.

    I am determined to be ready in time but feeling a bit behind! Hopefully I am not the only one and/or it isnt as bad as I feel it is!

    My current regime is up to 5 miles Tues and Thurs and a long run of itro 10 miles on Sunday. I am about to introduce a cycling day also but not sure on how far yet as will be new to me.

    I do struggle to do interval training as I dont have a track to work on so any ideas on how I might do this are welcomed or is it simply a case of measuring out 1/2/4/800 meter runs to time myself over etc!

    Would be good to hear thoughts from anyone.


  • Hi Steve - sounds like you have been having quite an adventure already! Glad you are getting back with the running now though. Can I suggest you pop over to the MdS forum which is here:

    There are loads of MdS vets on there who I am sure will be able to offer more advice than I can. At this point I'm not really thinking of the races as events but build ups to the MdS itself so I think your idea of just completing the marathons is a good plan. The other thing I would suggest is maybe to focus on some long walks as well? The long distance walkers association has a great website which has loads of events you can look at - they are dead cheap and really supportive. It might be worth focusing on long walks rather than running given the injuries you've had. I''m doing no interval work now - i'm not expecting to run a huge amount of MdS so not focussing on speed now more time on feet and running/walking on consecutive days.

     However, like I say its definitely worth getting over to the MdS forum - really very friendly bunch of folk over there who know exactly what they are talking about...well most of them!image

    Drop me a message on here if you like.

  • Great blog and well done on your win in the ultra!
  • Hay Steve, if youre looking to do a longer distance, multi stage race before Mds next year - have a look at this website -
    The Pilgrim challenge North Downs way would be a perfect 'warm up' in rather chilly conditions no doubt. The guy who organises this race is an ex-marine and has done the mds a few times (and hence why hes set up a number of multi stage races in the UK, specifically designed for people wanting some more ultra-multi stage experience). Ive done the Druid challenge with them and it was really well organised and very reasonably priced!

    Good luck!
  • I'll  be along at Pilgrims - I hear its a much tougher course than Druids so must try and do some hill training amongst all the jolly christmas boozing. image
  • I might pop down to do the Pilgrim myself now that you say its tougher. May as well!
    HAve fun with the hill training - always a good thing to put in your training!
  • Helen it would be a shame to miss it hey? Nothing like sleeping on a school hall floor with 120 other smelly runners/walkers and their various snoring abilities! image
  • I know!!

    Did you do the Druids challenge last year? Do you remember Mimi Anderson being there? Met some amazing people actually - and yes, sleeping on the school floor was awesome - I didnt have the opportunity to sleep on one of the MASSIVE gym mats - had to settle for a yoga looking mat - still slept like a baby though!!

  • No this will be my first attempt. I've met some great people throughout this year at the various multistage runs I've done - its been great fun.

    I'm feeling a bit tired and end of yeary now though - run down and have a bit of a cold. Taking a bit of a break over Christmas to recharge before the final push. Gulp.

  • oooh, what other multi-staged races have you done? I live for these kinds of events but there's not always a lot going on in the forums regarding multi stage races?

    Xmas will be a perfect way to recharge the 'batteries' - eat lots and lots!!
    My 'xmas recharge period' has come and gone unfortunately - after running the jungle marathon just over a month and a half ago - have eaten and eaten and basically just let my body recover - back to being beasted though!

    Very envious youre doing the Mds - I will get round to it - when I can be bothered to sign up 3 years in advance!!
  • Helen for fear of going off topic have a look here for some other multiday stuff;

    Scroll down on the right hand side.

     I've competed in both the Scottish & Eagle isle ultras which were both excellent, the Gobi challenge is apparently a class apart and the Indo is sandbaggers brand new one. 

    There's also plenty of good info,idle chat & witty banter regarding the mds, other multiday races and all things ultra related over here, if you cant find enough on this forumimage

  • Hay Rab, thanks for the link - the Gobi looks awesome and is far cheaper than 'Racing the Planets' Gobi! Very expensive business this multi stage malarky!
    The indo one lloks amazing - first time ive seen a multi in this part of the world - will have to investigate further!

    What long races are planned for 2011?
  • Helen have a look at the VOTWO web as well:

    The challenge series is brilliant. Jurassic is really tough and I preferred the atlantic - stunning scenery all the way and I'm hoping to get back and have another go at it in 2011. Great organisation. Not cheap compared to the pilgrims/druids but you get a bed and the food was very good! Oh and there is free beer!


  • I've no multiday races planned for next year Helen, though plenty on my wish list. i'll be keeping busy with single day stuff and am going to have a good crack at this one hopefully,

    free beer Birdy, thats my favourite type of beer

  • Its a definite bonus Rab! I had a look at the 24 hour race but I'm not really planning much after MdS...well running anyway. Drinking/sleeping and generally misbehaving yes!

  • Good luck in the MdS - it captured my heart back in 2003 when I was leading holiday tours in Morocco, and one day in Ourzazate me and my group were sitting drinking coffees, enjoying the view, when the entire MdS contingent crossed the finish line and poured into town. They were immediately my heroes, that's why I started running, to one day do the MdS.

    If you're interested in a similar, but slightly gentler challenge, there's an obscure race called the Sahara Marathon in February which has the added dimension of supporting human rights in Western Sahara:

    I've been there many times, it's absolutely beautiful and the people incredibly generous...

  • I've been hearing about that one Saeed but not thinking about anything til after April. Just been emailed that the final payment is due as well...ouch. January is going to be a very frugal month filled with lots of training.

    So....when are you going?

  • Yeah, these marathons / enduraces races are EXPENSIVE! But at least your costs out there are minimal. After all, what are you really going to buy..?

    I was there last year, and either me or someone from my crew will (hopefully) go this year. I wasn't actually running, I was filming a documentary about a long-distance runner. He's originally from Western Sahara but now living in France as a political refugee and still racing competitively under the flag of Western Sahara, a country that doesn't exist. Really fascinating story...

  • oooh will have to take a look at that - thanks Saeed!
  • Saeed,
    Thanks for the video post - I absolutely love watching clips like that!

    Rab – what a spectacular venue to run – Looks amazing - its just so far in advance though! image

    Birdypie – thanks for the link – I had signed up for the Jurassic challenge in 2008 but my body was still wrecked after the Devizes to Westminster canoe race – Its one that’s been on my ‘list’ for a while now – better grab the bull by the horns and do it in 2011! Oh, and who can resist good food and free beer!
    Good luck with the final installment - you'll be super stoked by the end of it!
  • Thanks Helen, and anyone else, for watching the video. I hope it's inspired you. It certainly continues to inspire me as I film with Salah over another year... he really is an incredible guy, who continues to run as a show of defiance and rebellion. It was through filming him that I started to run, and it changed my life...

    Please feel free to pass the link around to anyone you think might support us, or better yet - make a contribtion yourselves!

  • Hello all

    Thought I should kaaabooooiiiing this one back up as the clock is ticking. Only 10 weeks to go...or is it 9 now?! How is everyone doing - fit and well? I'm rather panicking but thankfully still in one piece. Heading off to do Pilgrims Challenge in afew weeks - anyone else in for that one?

  • Well just a week to go now on a journey that started for me back in 2008! Hard to believe. We fly out to Morocco next Thursday, race starts next Sunday.

    Nervous isn't the word for it anymore! image

  • good luck Birdy - with all the work you've put in over the last couple of years, it will be a breeze I'm sure.......and enjoy the beers at the end!!
  • Oh yes - that Ice Cold in Alex moment is going to be very very sweet! I am getting really excited now despite all the nerves. Its been a great adventure getting here and I've done some fabulous races.

    Looks like life will return to normal at the JogShop in the autumn - kind of my next planned race!

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    Yeah, good luck Birdypie ... after the swamps of day 3 on the ACC it should be a doddle ... image

    Be sure to report back. We expect a blog, youtube video, photobucket album, all the trimmings ... 

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