Marathon des Sables
Johanna Sutton, mother of three, personal trainer & former GP, is
running one of the world’s toughest races for MD Research.
Jo says: “In April 2017, I will be among over 1000 people from around the world
competing in the Marathon des Sables or Marathon of the Sands. The Marathon, considered the toughest foot race on the planet, is a gruelling, multistage running event that crosses a 250km stretch of the Sahara desert in southern Morocco. In 1984, its founder, a French man called Patrick Bauer, walked 350 km in 12 days across the Sahara and had the idea to create an ultra-marathon experience for others to enjoy (endure!)
The event is divided into 6 stages, the longest of which is always about 90km.
Competitors run across endless scorching sand, steep dunes and rocky jebels in
searing temperatures of 50*c. They must be self-sufficient, carrying backpacks with
their own food and equipment for the entire event and a daily ration of water. Each
night communal tents are pitched for the weary runners to rest and recover enough to repeat the effort the following day!
The race attracts some big names, James Cracknell ran the race in 2010 and finished in 12th position, at that time the highest placed Briton ever and Sir Ranulph Fiennes became the oldest Briton when he completed the event in 2015. So why have I a 44 year old mother of three decided to attempt this seemingly insane race? I admit it does sound like madness, but what a challenge too! I love running and have fairly recently slipped into the world of ultra-distance running. I find it liberating to be able to cover great distances on foot and enjoy the peace and head space it affords. At times I enter an almost meditative state, at others I revise French verbs, make plans or compose letters. When possible, my husband will run with me, which is a great opportunity to properly talk!
I do not underestimate the enormity of the Marathon Des Sables and the amount of
training I must do in order to succeed, however I feel very lucky to be fit enough to
undertake such a challenge. I hope that the sheer scale of the event will encourage
a lot of people to donate and I will be able to raise a considerable amount of money
for Myotonic Dystrophy Research.
Please donate or share Johanna’s fundraising page: