Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Awesome Media Coverage

From the beginning it was my intention to raise as much awareness for autism as possible by approaching the media and I have had some good success in spreading the word on autism and how people can help. This last week was a good week as I was featured in the Dubai Timeout as well as on the MDS Official website. I hope this will spark the donations back to life as we have just reached $ 2000 and still some way to go till we reach $10 000. Here`s the links to my run coverage:

I am looking forward getting 92Fm and Mens Fitness involed early in the new year and as we get closer to April. I am also in the process of approaching sponsors again and will submit my applications early in the new year, hope some good Samaritan comes to the party soon!

I am also finalizing my race kit and will be ordering this all in the next couple of day! Very excited!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dubai Heroes 2009

I want to thank TimeOut Dubai for placing me in the top 10 Dubai Heroes for 2009. This is exactly what I wanted to achieve, spread the world on autism and how to deal with this. I believe this will help me achieve my goal of spreading the word and making a difference in 2010. I want to be the change in the world, no matter how small the impact is.

Autism will be defeated!

You can help me achieve my goal by visiting my donation site located on the lefthand side of my blog! My goal is $ 10 000, but I would like to smash this target and make as much as possible to help with research and care for people suffering from autism! Help me make difference!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hi people!

I am sorry for being a bit quite, just started a new job in Abu Dhabi and have been commuting daily so pretty burned when I get back home! I have also battled to get enough running in but this will change in 2010 as I will be more settled and my running can come number 1 priority again!

I want to share the 2010 life-book with you, see how many of this you can do in 2010 to make your life the way you really want it!!

1. Drink plenty of water
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants, and eat less food that is manufactured in plants
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy
5. Make time for prayer
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2009
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9. Sleep for 7 hours
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day ---- and while you walk, smile

11. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment
13. Don't over do ; keep your limits
14. Don't take yourself so seriously ; no one else does
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

25. Call your family often
26. Each day give something good to others
27. Forgive everyone for everything
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day
30. What other people think of you is none of your business
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right things
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful
34. GOD heals everything
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up
37. The best is yet to come
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not the least :

40. Give this to everyone you care about

Make sure you check back after the new year for updates as we move towards April and the toughest marathon in the world, The Marathon des Sables 2010!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Marathon des Sables 2010

Race distance for the 2010 Marathon Des Sables confirmed.....

With the race less than 5 months away the official distance for the 2010 edtion has been released. The race distance will be 250km. The stage route however is not released and will be kept a secret till the day of the stage. In my mind 250km does not sound to far to be honest, and I think that is the right attitude to have. I have always said that I will not be intimidated by the distances and I am looking forward to the long stage that could be anywhere between 70km - 90km.

I suppose it will all come down to the conditions during the race. I am hoping and praying for cool conditions as this will definately help. But if it is hot in April I will just have to deal with it as I have perfect training conditions on this side! I got an email from Phil Carpenter in the UK who`ll be over next month for business and hope to get a run in with him as he would like to test shoes and gaiters. I hope he would be able to bring out a set of gaiters for me as they do not stock this here in the UAE. Imagine, all this sand and no gaiters........

So the magic number is 250km!!!! Bring it on.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

115 days to go!

I am now in the last few months before the MDS and I am beginning to feel a bit nervous! When we went to New Zealand last month we bought some of the equipment that would be needed for the raced. One of the most important components of the race is your diet as you need to maintain your calorie intake to ensure you have enough fuel to take you through the duration of the race.

The MDS requires you to provide your own food form 4th April 2010 to the 10th April 2010 inclusive. The stipulate you carry no less than 14 ooo k/calories, so a minimum of 2000 k/calories per day otherwise you will be penalized and not having enough calories is also a risk.

I have bought some Back Country Cuisine freeze dried food - http://www.backcountrycuisine.co.nz/bcc/ that will make up some of my main meals.

I have also bought One Square Meal that will serve as breakfast http://www.onesquaremeal.com/productinfo.html

The rest of my meal pack will be made up from dried meat and fruit, 2 Minute noodles and pre-cooked oats! As I start making up my foodpacks for the race I will post some more info on how i have done this.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Given to Fly - A 111 day run.....

Back from holiday!

Hi Everyone,

You must have wondered what happened to me as it has been a while since I have updated my beloved blog, well, we`ve been to New Zealand for a two week break and to attend the wedding of Mariko and Simon. What a great trip, was nice to get out of the desert for a while!

My running schedule has been a but disfunctional or the last 3 weeks, which is not a bad thing, as off today I have 5 months to the MDS. I have the following races lined up for my preperation:

- Dubai Marathon
- RAK half marathon
- Wadi Bih Wadi relay

I will shortly post my NZ runs, what a great country for runners, that`s if you like killer hills and cold wet weather!

We also bought my MDS food, pics to follow as well as my favourite new movie, Running the Sahara!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Remember what is most important....

Found this on a MDS finisher`s blog and this is very fitting to get you through the 6 days in the desert!

This is me,and this is what I do!

Today I came back from work feeling a bit flat but decided that I need to get back on the road. I have not ran for a a week due to work and I immediately changed as soon as I got home. I got home as the sun was going down and headed out with about 20 minutes worth of day light left. I started of nicely with a slight discomfort in the left knee and this went away around the 3k mark.

I set a target of running a sub 1 hour 10km and what made this a bit harder was the fact that after about 5km it was completely dark and I was running on a dirt road near the Jebel Ali hill. I maintained the pace and did the 10k`s in 59 minutes flat and continued to run another 2 and a bit k`s before arriving back at home. I managed a 12.39k`s in 72 minutes and when I got upstairs I was feeling so good, think I had runners high! I almost went back out again to run the route backwards!

I am very concious as to why I am doing this race. Autism. I am not doing this for my own glory or to prove something to myself, no, this is for everyone suffering from autism and I want to world to know about this disorder. If you are reading this, please help me spread the word and forward this to runners and non-runners, and spread the word. You can also make a donation to the Els foundation on the left hand side of the posts.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

TimeOut Dubai and Autism!

In this week`s TimeOut Dubai, the magazine will be doing a feature on my efforts to raise awareness for autism and the Marathon Des Sables. Thank you to Laura Chubb and the guys at TimeOut Dubai for their willingness to help me spread the word and raise the profile of autism here in the Gulf. Autism remains a massive behavioral disorder that needs all our attention to help and find a cure!

If you would like to get involved and please visit the first giving link on the left hand side and make a contribution. Please forward this to as many people as possible and encourage then to make a donation! With your help I have managed to raise $1 605.00 so far, on the way to the target of $10 000! Please get in touch with me if you would like to find out how you can donate to the Dubai Autism Center. Thank you for the support!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dubai Autism Center Information Sheet

Dubai Autism Centre (DAC) is a non-profit organization providing information, support, advice and training to professionals and parents of children with Autism. DAC was initiated after the issuance of a decree from H.H. Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2001 as a resource / counseling center and was launched as a school in 2003. Today, 49 students are provided with a holistic intervention program that includes academics and various therapies – behavioral, speech, occupational, music and play as well as professional medical care.

In addition to the intervention program the center has an internationally acknowledged assessment and diagnosis unit. The Centre also works toward facilitating a better community understanding of autism by launching periodical, public and targeted, awareness campaigns. The major awareness campaign is launched annually on the 2nd of April and lasts for the full month. The campaign is supported by TV, radio and press advertising as well as talk shows and several crowd pulling and Interest generating activities.

About Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disorder. ASD usually affects the person’s verbal and non verbal communications as well as imaginative play and social skills. ASD transcends social, cultural and geographic boundaries. The incidence of Autism is increasing world wide with a 400% rise in the diagnosis of Autism in the last decade. One out of every 150 children is affected by ASD.

Dubai as per the rest of the world is seeing an increase in the number of people requesting services to support individuals affected by Autism. At the Dubai Autism Center alone, there is a 3 month waiting list for the assessment and diagnoses and 180 children on the waiting list for the school.

The Impact of Autism on Families

Having a child with Autism puts a lot of emotional, spiritual and financial burdens on the parents. Providing the ideal environment for children with Autism comes with a high cost of rehabilitation. In addition often one spouse has to sacrifice his/her job to stay home and take care of the child. Autism has also been known to put a strain on the rest of the family members and siblings.

Obstacles to Intervention

A major barrier to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families touched by Autism is the lack of knowledge and expertise. This coupled with the lack of public health programs limits access to care and early intervention. These challenges are further complicated by a shortage of experts and trained professionals.

Currently the center is operating at full capacity with 49 children enrolled in the center and another 180 waiting to be enrolled. There is also a three month waiting list for the assessment and diagnosis. The growing needs has made it a requirement to construct a purpose built center that can accommodate a greater number of children. The work on the new building was put on hold due to the economic crisis and the unavailability of financial aid.

DAC Strong Points

Specialized in Autism with a focused vision and mission.
The center has set clear short and long term strategies to cope with the growing demand and needs.
Provides holistic approach to intervention with each child having his/her own program.
Each child receives one to one care throughout the day except when group work is scheduled to improve the social and interaction skills.
Maintain high classroom standards by having an average of 4 children per classroom with a ratio of 1:2 OF special needs teacher to children.
Multi discipline and multicultural staff that share their expertise to improve the children’s capabilities.
Diversified therapies, activities and approaches to enhance each child’s learning experience.
Freedom to develop and learn from different disciplines and approaches to Autism intervention.
Strong management that adopts open door policies and horizontal structure for better communication and work environment.
The team is highly qualified and keeps abreast of the latest development through continuous training and self development. The team is highly respected in their fields locally and internationally with many awards to their name as an evidence of their achievements.
Team Building programs coupled with intensive staff training throughout the year
Systematic and well planned government outreach program to improve the conditions of the special needs sector and individuals with emphasis on Autism.
Creative in spreading awareness through awareness campaigns and PR activities
Strong outreach program involving all segments of the society.

Services Provided by the Center

- Individualized intervention programs
- Educational program
- Behavioral modification program
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Movement therapy
- Music therapy
- Art therapy
- Computer literacy
- Art classes
- Prevocational training
- Social integration (field trips & out door activities)
- Assessment and Diagnosis
- Utilize a variety of assessment tools
- The team comprises of 6 professionals (The team include professionals from the various disciplines)

- Guide parents of newly diagnosed children to seek professional intervention program (the center is unable to cope with the demand)
- Organize and run the Parents support Club
- Invite speakers and keep up to date with new approaches/treatments
- Conduct outreach programs to schools, Social clubs, companies as well as private and semi private government organizations
- Spreading Awareness
- Several awareness campaigns are conducted every year to educate the public and encourage -parents to seek professional help.
- Develop several out reach programs to improve the quality of life to children with Autism and their families
- Training and Information
- Several training programs are organized every year to help various professionals in the field of Autism
- Provide consistent training to the employees
- A library with more than 550 books are made available to parents and professionals
- Translating and publishing books

The Center Fact Sheet

Number of classes 11
Number of Students 49 (all nationalities and ethnic background)
Average number of Students / classroom 4
Ratio of Special educators to students 2:1
Number of Staff 60 (professionals and administration)
Students admission age 2 – 16 (currently the center has 20 years old)

N.B: All activities carried out by the center including printing are sponsored by individuals and or business institutes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jason McElwain - Inspiration of note!

Another inspiring Autism story.......I found this video yesterday, just shows what can happen when we open the door for people with disabilities. You rock brother!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Running for Change

Yesterday I went to visit the Dubai Autism Center to meet the management and to have a look around the facility. I was a bit nervous going to the center as I am an emotional person and I know that the visit would touch me deeply when I see the kids.

Mariana came with me and when we arrived at the facility I was impressed by the size of the building. I would later learn that the center is in desperate need to expand as there is a need for a bigger facility and more therapist. When we arrived we waited in the reception for Hayula, and we saw the first autistic family, also waiting in the reception. The boy was very active running around and I could see the affect this could have on a parent. You have to be very patient and understanding to be able to be around kids with autism, and hats off to all families having to deal with the disorder.

There is a new statistic released in the US: When I first started out with my marathon preparations, 1 out of 150 kids in the US had autism. The figure is now 1 in every 93 children. I in the UK this figure is 1 in every 84 children.....here are some more shocking facts:

1. Autism is the fastest growing development disability in the world.
2. 67 children are diagnosed with autism daily.
3. More children will be diagnosed with autism than with Aids, Diabetes and Cancer combined.
4. Boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism than girls.
5. There is NO CURE FOR AUTISM...........

We walked around the center and first thing I noticed that in most cases there was 1 on 1 therapy being done. The therapist have a very tough task working with autistic children but they are doing a great great job! The earlier a child can receive therapy the better the chances are they would respond positively to the treatment and move in to the high functional categories.

We met a couple of the children and a boy named Omar was quizzing me on movies such as Robocop and Spacejam! I was amazed about the detailed descriptions he was giving us about his favorite movies! What a cool boy! We moved on to some of the lower functional kids and I could see how much time and attention is needed to help these kids develop.

The Dubai Autism center focuses on:

a) Diagnoses
b) Intervention
c) Family Support

They are always looking for people who are willing to help with financial and sponsorship support. Here is a link if you would like to get involved or alternatively I can be contacted.

I will be visiting the center in the very near future and assist them where I can. I am in the process of looking at various ways to raise funds for the center as well as spreading the word on autism and getting as many people involved as possible.

There is still a perception out there that autism is not a real disorder and that parents are to blame for bad parenting. This is not true. Autism is real. Autism affect people from all backgrounds, social status and nationality.

Part of my awareness program is also to raise funds for the Ernie Els Foundation and donations can be made online at:

You can help me make a difference.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ultra Marathon Man - Dean Karnazes


IT WAS HIS 30TH BIRTHDAY, and he'd started with beer and moved on to tequila shots at a bar near his home in San Francisco. Now, after midnight, an attractive young woman – not his wife – was hitting on him. This was not the life he'd imagined for himself. He was a corporate hack desperately running the rat race. The company had just bought him a new Lexus. He wanted to vomit. Karnazes resisted the urge and, instead, slipped out the bar's back door and walked the few blocks to his house. On the back porch, he found an old pair of sneakers. He stripped down to his T-shirt and underwear, laced up the shoes, and started running. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

He sobered up in Daly City, about 15 miles south. It was nearly four in the morning. The air was cool, slightly damp from the fog, and Karnazes was in a residential neighborhood, burping tequila, with no pants on. He felt ridiculous, but it brought a smile to his face. He hadn't had this much fun in a long time. So he decided to keep running.

When the sun came up, Karnazes was trotting south along Route 1, heading toward Santa Cruz. He had covered 30 miles. In the process, he'd had a blinding realization: There were untapped reservoirs within him. It was like a religious conversion. He had been born again as a long-distance runner. More than anything else now, he wanted to find out how far he could go. But at that exact moment, what he really needed to do was stop. He called his wife from a pay phone, and an hour later she found him in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven. He passed out in the car on the way home.

That was August 1992. Over the next 14 years, Karnazes challenged almost every known endurance running limit. He covered 350 miles without sleeping. (It took more than three days.) He ran the first and only marathon to the South Pole (finishing second), and a few months ago, at age 44, he completed 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days, one in each of the 50 states. (The last one was in New York City. After that, he decided to run home to San Francisco.) Karnazes' transformation from a tequila-sodden party animal into an international symbol of human achievement is as educational as it is inspirational.


I have jinxed myself......Just a week ago I was telling a friend how well my knees have been keeping up with all the running and then the pain hit me!

I went out for a run a couple of days ago and felt a bit of pain above my left knee. Last year I had surgery done on the knee to repair ACL`s damaged due to rugby. I managed to run for 45 minutes but never felt comfortable. Then the day before I went out and as soon as I started running I had a sharp pain under the knee cap and tried to push through bit the pain got worse. I turned back to go home and I felt the knee feeling better and tried running again, and the same happened.

I will rest the knee for a couple of days and try again. If not better I`ll hit the pool and gym for a while and see if the rest will help the knee.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autistic Scott James - X Factor

This is an inspiring autism story: Scott James was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 13 and for about 7 years stayed indoors as he developed a fear of people. Scott`s Mom helped him through this difficult time and identified his singing talent. She encouraged Scott to take up lessons and this is what happened.......Autism can be beaten!

A Sponsor at last!

Today I received news from a company called Delwood here in Dubai. The owner, Farbod Dowlatsahi was kind enough to sponsor 20% of the total entry fee which will help me a lot. Delwood is a consultancy company here in Dubai and is currently sponsoring European golfing great, Henrik Stenson and they are also responsible for bringing the Ledgends Rock Tennis to Dubai, and in the past they have attracted names like McEnroe, Courier and Monsour Bahrami to name a few.

Delwood is active in their support for the Dubai Autism Center and has
raised money for them in the past through auctions during the Legends tennis festival. I would like to thank Farbod and his team for the contribution, I will dedicate a day of the run to Delwood for their generosity! Thank you.

For more information on Delwood please visit their site : www.delwood.com

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jack Osbourne and the Marathon des Sables......

I found this on Jack Osbourne and the MDS, the first segment of the program is his Bungee in SA and then after 15minutes Jack heads to Morocco for the toughest footrace on Earth!

Very cool episode, makes me a bit nervous watching this bit I`ll be fine!

Dwell not upon thy weariness, thy strength shall be according to the measure of thy desire...

This has been a bit of a hectic week, hence the delay in updating my beloved blog! Sorry to the regular readers, will get my blog back on track again!

So, I got this idea of doing something really tough and for some reason I wanted to attempt a run/walk from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, +100 Km and
how glad I am that I did not attempt that straight away, thanks Rob, thanks Mariana for talking me out of if. Bab al Shams to Arabian Ranches was my next option, 34km on fairly easy terrain, how hard could it be.......well, let me tell you!

Monday morning myself and Mariana left the Gardens at 6am and headed out to the desert resort - LESSON LEARNED # 1 - Start as early
as possible, before the sun is nowhere near peaking it`s head out! We only managed to leave the resort at 7h15 and it was deceptively cool with a nice breeze blowing. I started out by eating a breakfast bar for some energy and I am sure if I missed that snack I would have collapsed at 20km!

We started off with a steady run and then I notice the weight of the backpack......did I mention the backpack. LESSON LEARNED # 2 - buy a very very good backpack china! The Salomon bag I have is designed for running, however I doubt that this is a multi day race bag. I think the bag weighed in very near 10kg.....about 3-4kg lighter than what my MDS race bag will weigh, no there is another little wake up call! The weight did not bother me too much initially and we pushed on and I felt good in the beginning. Then after about 4km I could feel my backside getting wet, seriously wet and we stopped to do a bag inspection just to find out on of our water bottles with Isostar cracked at the bottom. We drank as much as we can and disposed of the bottle and in retrospect we should have done more to try and fix the bottle and save liquids as best as possible.

We pushed on again and after 6km the same thing happened again, I could not believe it as we were going through water like mad, 3l lost in just over 6k`s. - LESSON LEARNED # 3 - Turn water bottles upside down so the cap is facing down into the bag area that is pack most. - LESSON LEARNED 4 - Water is GOLD! I managed to patch the bottle with a plaster and kept it upside down in the bag. We pressed on after having a small break and we both had a banana each and some water and biltong. We reached 10km after about 90minutes on the road, and that includes the two stops we did for the water bottles and food. We decided to head on and get to 20km and then to stop again for some snacks and Isostar.

The tough part of this section was the lack of scenery, just a straight flat run/walk and I realized that any sort of shade out in the desert is an absolute luxury. By this time I could feel the heat getting worst and the K`s were ticking over very slowly. I am forever grateful to the dudes out Apple for the Ipod! I know for a fact the Ipod will help me to get through the Sahara come April 2010!At around 18km we decided to stop and hydrate under the only tree that we could find for miles and miles. I started feeling a bit flat but this soon changed after sharing an orange with Mariana and gulping down Isostar. We pushed on after the break, feeling much better, as the shade got our spirits up again and we cruised on. After being on the road for 3hrs30min I asked Marxie if we should flag a car down and cruise 10km back towards the resort and then walk the last 10km back which would take us up to 30km, a good distance for a first long training session. Mariana agreed and managed to flag down the fastest minibus driver in the Middle East!

After a quick 10km at 150km/h we got back to where I believed the 10km mark to the resort
should be. I was wrong and I think the resort was more like 14km away. We started the walk back to the resort chatting away when I started feeling really tired. The backpack worked me over properly and I think this started to catch up with me. After reaching 25km I hit the wall, and started drinking water like mad to try and feel better, however, with less than a liter of water between two people to share I made the biggest mistake and check on the GPS how much further to the resort and go so demotivated when I realized we had about 7km left, I thought we had 3km left.

We shared a warm Coke and I am not sure if this was a good thing as I just got such a flat feeling after reaching 28km. Marxie did her best to talk me through the k`s but I felt content with the 28km in 4hrs45min in +40 degrees C. We scored our second lift back to the resort and I was happy sitting in my sipping an ice cold Coke!

Overall I am happy we managed to go over 25km for a first distance training in some pretty tough conditions. I am sure I will get much better as the weather cools down and learn how to eat and hydrate properly. The first stage of the 21st MDS was 28km`s, so I am not too worried. I need to keep my focus on distance running and get use to carrying a heavy backpack.

Thanks for doing this with me Marxie, we will hit 35km`s next time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mariana`s Desert run experience

I asked Mariana to put here experience of our desert run on paper as I would like to share it with you guys! Thanks for taking the time MArxie!

So when Adam asked me to join him for the run, i was a bit hesitant. I
was scared. Not sure if i could manage the distance in extreme conditions and terrain. I entered the Dubai Marathon 2010 which will be my first marathon ever, and if i can do that under 5 hours i will qualify to enter the Comrades Marathon, which I have been challenged to do with my sister and cousin. So with my preparation for the marathon the furthest i have ran on one day was around 15 km.

What the heck I am off for a few days and I think i can do the distance. I called Adam and said "Im in".

We were ready to start at 7:15 am, me only carrying a 1.5l camelback. Adam carrying all the supplies about 10 kg-water, oranges,mars bars, biltong etc.

We started by running the first 10kms- about 3km into the run, we stopped because the bag leaked. One of the water bottles had a small leak. So we just drank that 1.5l- lesson #1, make sure you use proper bottles. On the road again we went off road until we reached 10km and rested by a tree and had a banana for breakfast, this is here where we realized the 2nd water bottle is also leaking and the Isostar. Water was GOLD at that stage. We filled our camelbacks with the remaining water, knowing that we will need to go easy on water. Im not to sure how much water one should drink but i took a sip every kilometer-like a reward. The Isostar bottled was saved by a Band-Aid plaster.

When we hit the tar road we did sections of running and walking-at one stage Adam checked the temperature and it was around 42 degrees. At 18km we stopped again by a tree which looked like a snakes heaven, I felt something crawling on my leg, it was some type of an insect-i freaked out-Im such a girl. Here we finished the Band-Aid Isostar and shared an orange(it reminded me of the halftime oranges when I was playing netball at school)

On the road again, just one long straight road ahead. So our plan was to go to Arabian Ranches and take a taxi back to BAS,but we went for plan b and got a lift back with a Machang from Sri Lanka. Bit nervous because we were sitting like sardines in a can next to the windscreen and this Machang was driving 140km/h. So he dropped us at the 10km mark back to BAS, again off road.

I was just focused on my water supply. That last 8 km felt like eternity, with the sun directly at us and the water boiling hot.
I was dreaming of an ice cold can of coke. We still had a lot of food supplies in the bag, but i could not even think of eating, just wanted liquids.

We finished 28 km later and I got my reward, ice cold can of Coke, which i downed like in 2 seconds! If i need to do it again i will focus more on eating something solid, wearing different shoes(had too much sand inside)and starting earlier.

Adam thanks for inviting me with, i have been living in the UAE for 7 years and it was the first time i really connected with the desert.

Good luck with your race.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bab Al Shams to Dubai......

Tomorrow I will be running/walking between 35km and 51km depending on how well my legs feel. I will be doing the run with Mariana from Bab al Shams to Dubai and back to Jebel Ali. I have started to get used to the idea of being on my feet all day.

I will be carrying a backpack with food, water and medical supplies. I will make the backpack as heavy as possible as I would like to get use to heavy bags, so come April 13kg should feel like 5kg`s!

I will update the blog with pics and videos of our run and if all goes well I`ll look at the 100km run from Abu Dhabi to Dubai sometime next month!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Madonna running the MDS?

So this has been going around in the press:

Numerous news outlets and gossip sites are reporting this morning that Madonna has plans to run the Marathon des Sables, a grueling 151-mile ultramarathon held in Morocco. The marathon starts next April, and it is raced over the Sahara Desert.

Well, apparently the story is not true. Her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, told contact music several days ago that the rumors were false, saying bluntly: "It's not true." Even if Madonna had decided to run the race in April, she may have had a hard time getting a spot. Entries are selected by lottery well in advance, and organizers are currently conducting a lottery for the 2011 race.

So what is the Marathon des Sables? The organizers bill it as the "toughest footrace on earth," and the British Rep jokingly claims it's perfect for "lunatics and masochists." The 151-mile race is held over six days, so participants run nearly the equivalent of a marathon each day. Not only that, but the runners have to carry all of their equipment with them -- think backpacks, clothing, shoes and food. Tents and water are provided by the organizers. The athletes have to deal not only with the distance, but the heat, sun and sand as well.

While Madonna is certainly in good shape, the demands of an ultramarathon -- especially one that takes place in the Sahara Desert -- are not to be taken lightly. Participants train for months or even years, building up to lengthy long runs and training to run with a backpack. The actual distance may vary -- the British representative claims the race is 151 miles, while the American representative states the race is 145 miles. Once you get to that distance, what's a few extra miles? If all this sounds like a good time to you, the entrys only $3,950.

South African Adventurers - Mike Horn

South African Mike Horn is acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest modern adventurer-explorers. He has undertaken exceptional feats of endurance, determination and courage which have extended the boundaries of human achievement.

Born in Johannesburg, he studied Human Movement Science at Stellenbosch University before moving to Switzerland where he became an instructor for an outdoor company offering extreme activities such as abseiling, hydrospeed, canyoning and rafting. There he developed a taste for outlandish challenges and shortly afterwards descended on hydrospeed the Mont Blanc glacier finishing at the French Riviera.
Mike Horn’s first expedition of long duration was in 1997 and was called the AmazonExpedition. This was a solo, un-motorized traverse of the South American continent. Mike Horn left from the west coast of South America on

foot, climbing from the Pacific Ocean up in altitude to the summit of Mt Mismi, the source of the Amazon River. Mike Horn followed the entire length of the river, hunting and living in autonomy along the river banks in the evenings , and swimming down the river with a hydrospeed during the day . Mike Horn left the Amazon river and swam into the salty Atlantic Ocean 6 months later.

In 1999, Mike Horn left a new challenge called Latitude Zero, the circumvolution of the world around the equator. On June 2nd, he waved goodbye to his family and traversed the Atlantic Ocean from Gabon, on the west coast of Africa, to Brazil, on a 28ft trimaran. Brazil to Ecuador, he crossed on foot, bicycle and canoe, traversing the Amazon jungle and the high altitudes of the Andes. Afterwards he crossed the Pacific Ocean to Indonesia, passing the Galapagos Islands. Journeying through Borneo and Sumatra on foot, through the jungles, and sailing with his trimaran, he then continued across the Indian Ocean. The last leg of the expedition took Mike Horn across the African continent on foot, through the drug zone areas of the Congo, and through to Gabon, where he arrived at his starting point on October 28, 2000 - 18 months later.

Mike Horn became a worldwide personality in 2000 after completing this solo journey around the equator without motor transport.

Mike Horn achieved yet another staggering feat of human endurance in October 2004 when he completed a two-year, 3 month solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle - by boat, kayak, ski kite and on foot. Starting and finishing at North Cape in Norway, he became the first man to travel the Arctic Circle without motorized transport, completing an unimaginable 20,000km journey through Greenland, Canada, Alaska, the Bering Strait and Russia's Siberia, pulling a kevlar sledge piled with 180kg of equipment and food. This Arctic adventure called Arktos earned him nomination for the ‘2005 Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year Award’.

In 2006, Mike Horn and Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland, became the first men to travel without dog or motorized transport to the North Pole during the permanent darkness of the Arctic months, reaching their goal on March 23, 2006 after 60 days and 5 hours. The men started from Cape Artichesky in Russia, using skis, pulling sleds and swimming frequently in the freezing Arctic Ocean.

2007 presented a new opportunity for Mike Horn, the Himaliya Expedition. He was asked to accompany three experienced Swiss climbers on an expedition in Pakistan. Wanting to gain more experience in mountaineering Mike Horn found it hard to refuse. After two months Mike Horn successfully reached the summit of two peaks higher than 8’000m - Gasherbrum I (8035m) and Gasherbrum II (8068m) without the use of any additional oxygen.

Mike Horn has ventured twice on expedition with his family. The first expedition was in 2005, when they crossed Bylot Island on ski and the second expedition was on ski from Barneo base to the North Pole. Thanks to the experience of this remarkable explorer, Mike Horn’s two daughters, Annika and Jessica (born ’93, ’94) are now the two youngest children to ever ski to the North Pole in temperatures of around -35°C.

Mike Horn is unique. His experience of the oceans, rivers, mountains, swamplands, tundra, ice, jungles, deserts, make him stand out above any other modern day explorer. With this experience behind him, he is now ready to start a new chapter in his life - to share and pass on his knowledge to the younger generation, to share his experiences and to educate the youth about the beauty of our planet and how we can preserve it.

Mike Horn has a simple philosophy to explain his extraordinary challenges:"The impossible exists only until we find a way to make it possible."

South African Adventurers - Riaan Manser

Riaan Manser is a solo-adventurer, based in South Africa. Riaan was the first person to circumnavigate the African continent by bicycle - 37,000km through 34 countries in two years and two months. In July 2009 he successfully became the first person to kayak 5000km around Madagascar, alone and unaided.

In September 2003 Riaan began his epic cycle journey from The Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. He travelled north along the western coast of Africa, and hugged the coastline

as closely as possible. He originally believed he would be able to complete the journey in one year, thereby adopting the expedition name 'Africa365'. In December 2005 Riaan Manser crossed the finish line back in Cape Town, clocking a staggering 37,000km and having visited 34 countries, including all of those on Africa's coast. Remarkably, Riaan never paid a single cent in bribe money. Instead of giving over zealous immigration officials or police the satisfaction of a bribe, Riaan would search for an alternative route or method to pass.

His resulting book 'Around Africa on my bicycle' is a best-seller. I am currently reading this book!

His stated reason for the trip was "My vision is to assist the African Renaissance by cycling around the entire coastline of Africa. In doing so, I hope to generate both local and international awareness of just how dire the standard of living is in Africa. My aim is not to change the world, but to give this continent’s upliftment schedule a shot in the arm through education. Education of not only the children I will meet along the way, but also of the powers-that-be both here in South Africa and abroad."

He was honoured with the "Adventurer of the Year" Award in 2006 by Out There Magazine, and Nelson Mandela personally requested a meeting with Riaan, at which Riaan presented Mandela with a photo of himself on a bicycle in Dakar.

Riaan Manser has just become the first person to kayak around Madagascar, alone and unaided. Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island with a coastal perimeter of 5000 kilometres. Riaan began his expedition, paddling north in an anti-clockwise direction, from Tamatave on the eastern coast in August 2008. The journey took around ten months. Riaan completed the journey on July 8 2009.

'Every day, millions of people get up and make the most of even the harshest situation. Those sitting on their butts, only complaining, get nothing. Results come from action. Think about it...' No Food For Lazy Man is Riaan Manser's personal brand. He was struck by the slogan when he saw it in Nigeria and recreated it as a number plate on the back of his bicycle.