Friday, July 31, 2009

Mail from France!

I have had a busy couple of weeks, hence the delay in updating the Blog, sorry Mariko! Regular updates will be done again!

I received my registration forms last week form AOI. I am getting very excited now. The forms that has been send through is a booklet with some info on the race, a registration form and the dreaded regulations book. It seems like there are a million rules and regulation, my head is spinning spinning! I have started going through it and will post it as I go along.

I now need to ensure I complete the registration and send it back to France before the end of September. I am required to undergo a compulsory medical check up and do ECG with a cardiologist. Not looking forward to that.....

I also need to pay the 2nd instalment of 900 Euros by the end of the September. I will pay the balance in January 2010. Hopefully I`ll have some sponsors on board by them. Everyone who is working on my sponsorships are currently on holiday, so things should be moving forward by the end of August! In Shalaa!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Scenic Run!

Tuesday and Thursday will now be known as Resort running day. Haydn (waterman legend) has suggested I mix things up a bit as I am going to get gatvol of running by Christmas time comes along. I am going to focus on cross training and mixing things up a bit. The run we did on Thursday was a 4K run at 6h15am and it was already freaking hot! The upside of it all is the location of the run. We head out the resort gate at Wild Wadi and head towards the Madinat Resort while running past the amazing Burj Al Arab hotel.

Working in the resort makes you blind to how pretty the place really is!! It was a really tough run to get through as we had no wind and a massive humidity (not sure what it was). I think what made the runner even more tougher was the thought of swimming the 360 meter lazy river against the current. For anybody who has not attempted this swim before, don't even bother because it is not easy. I hate swimming the current. It takes about 14 minutes on average to go around against the current and 4 minutes with the current! After the swim it took about 30 minutes just to cool down again as my body was over heating big time!!

The swimming will help with lung capacity and by the time this summer has passed I`ll be cruising to max fitness!!! Fiona has also looked up some races for us to take part in as prep for next year`s marathons, I will post a review them in the coming weeks as the season starts here in September 2009.

A quick shout out to one of our lifeguards who passed away this week. Rest in peace Andrey.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A run with Fiona!

On the 2oth and 22nd July I went for a run with Fiona in the Jebel Ali Gardens. The first run we did was straight after work, got home at 11pm and we headed out for a late run. As always the humidity and heat was almost unbearable.
Fiona did really well and kept a steady pace around the 3.7km circuit and managed to go without taking any rest walks!

On the second outing the run felt much tougher as the humidity was very high and it felt like to were running at 2000ft above sea level. Fi is now contemplating running the Dubai Marathon early next year with me. This will be part of my prep for the MDS in April 2010.

I am now trying to mix up my training program by including gym work, swimming and biking as I am sure I will get very bored come December. I know it is important to add miles to the legs but I am going to focus on my general fitness as well as losing a couple of pounds which would make the running a bit easier as well!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dubai weather forecast for the Week - Hot and sunny!

I am looking forward to the cooler months, we need to get through August then the weather will turn around. Winters in the Middle East are perfect for training as it is very mild!

Why drive when you can walk...........or is it the other way around?

Two days ago I got myself a new Salomon running backpack which I am really cuffed about. My backpack at home would have been a nightmare to run with, so the Salomon was a really good find!So it was pretty obvious that I will have to test the bag for comfort as soon as possible and I decided to pack the bag with about 6kg (think my bag will weigh about 11kg when I start the MDS). I was only working at 1pm so I left home around 10h45 aiming to reach Madinat at 12h45. When I left the temperature was 43 degrees C with a 65% humidity.

I decided to trek across a patch of desert first through very soft sand. The backpack was very comfortable with a 3 way adjustment. I tried to run some of the first sand sections and immediately realized that running with a backpack is not the most natural thing in the world, especially over the soft sand. I also found it to be very very hot with no breeze what so ever to cool you down. I decided to drink more water due to the heat, then stop off at a cafe and get some isotonic drinks.

I walked the 13,7km in 2hrs 15min and this session just put everything back into perspective. The MDS is 6 days of full day racing, it is going to be pretty tough. I am confident though that I have enough time to prepare well for the race and when starts to cool down here in Dubai that my training distances/time will improve significantly!

Below is a map of my walk to Madinat - Click to enlarge

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Autism Speaks

Autism might be affecting someone you know, more people suffer from Autism than HIV and Diabeties combined......


1 in every 150.......

When I first heared this statistic I was shocked, but it is true that 1 in every 150 children in the US suffers from Autism......


My Inspiration, Team Hoyt!

These two guys are my inspiration in live, no matter how tough things get, there are always someone out there who suffers way more than you and make negatives big positives!!!!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Desert Delight.........Whatever!

Jebel Ali Desert Run Part 2

-17 July 2009-

Today we did a long run around the Jebel Ali hill which was pretty heavy. We left at 5h30pm and the temprature was around 39 degrees with the humidity at 66%! It is pretty hard to get your breathing under control with the humidity that high.

As soon as we enter the desert area we were approached by a security guy saying that we are not allowed to run through the area. The area is owned by Dubai World and is marked out for a housing development. I told the chap we will be heading out towards the houses on the right of the hill and knew that once we reach the hill there is no chance that they could get their car up there! Rebel runners!!!

Marxie coming down the hill.

This time around I brought the camelback along for the run!

During the run I could feel a blister forming on my left foot. I am not too worried about blisters, want to make my feet hard and I am sure once the shoes are a bit softer I `ll be fine. Today is rest day and it is also the start of the Tri Nations rugby with New Zealand vs Aussies!

Talking about New Zealand, my sister in law lives in Auckland and is following my blog! Thanks for the links you send for the gaiters and equipment, was really helpful.

I am looking forward seeing Mariko and Simon in November as they are getting hitched! I am definately bringing my running kit to NZ.

Back at work tomorrow, planning to walk in to work, it is about 13 km but I`ll take a backpack and weigh it down. I have been looking at backpacks and need to order my Hyperlight 30L backpack. This is a popular bag for the MDS and I want to start running with it as soon as I can.

Will go out today and have a look at getting a Garmin watch similar to Marxie`s.

We managed to run just over 11km in 1Hr20 minutes on challenging terrain!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What is Autism?

This article is from the Autism Speaks website (

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.

Autism was first identified in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner of Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the same time, a German scientist, Dr. Hans Asperger, described a milder form of the disorder that is now known as Asperger Syndrome. These two disorders are listed in the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as two of the five developmental disorders that fall under the autism spectrum disorders. The others are Rett Syndrome, PDD NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. All of these disorders are characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities, and also by repetitive behavior.

Autism spectrum disorders can usually be reliably diagnosed by age 3, although new research is pushing back the age of diagnosis to as early as 6 months. Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child or their child's failure to reach appropriate developmental milestones. Some parents describe a child that seemed different from birth, while others describe a child who was developing normally and then lost skills. Pediatricians may initially dismiss signs of autism, thinking a child will “catch up,” and may advise parents to “wait and see.” New research shows that when parents suspect something is wrong with their child, they are usually correct. If you have concerns about your child's development, don't wait: speak to your pediatrician about getting your child screened for autism.

If your child is diagnosed with autism, early intervention is critical to gain maximum benefit from existing therapies. Although parents may have concerns about labeling a toddler as “autistic,” the earlier the diagnosis is made, the earlier interventions can begin. Currently, there are no effective means to prevent autism, no fully effective treatments, and no cure. Research indicates, however, that early intervention in an appropriate educational setting for at least two years during the preschool years can result in significant improvements for many young children with autism spectrum disorders. As soon as autism is diagnosed, early intervention instruction should begin. Effective programs focus on developing communication, social, and cognitive skills.

I am meeting with Dubai Autism Center at the end of the month and hope to get more insight on the disorder and how to deal with better. In the UAE there has been a massive drive to raise awareness. I will have more info after my meeting with Hayula.

Ernie Els and Autism Video

In this video Ernie talks about autism and how it has affected him and his family. Ben has been diagnosed with autism and Ernie is commited to:

1. Funding scientific research aimed at understanding Autism and developing knowledge-based treatments with the intention of finding a cure.

2. Funding Centers of Excellence which include all of the following:- Educational programs for students age 3-21 years-A services component of doctors, speech therapists and other specialists-An on-site research center- A continuing services program for adults with Autism Spectrum DisordersThe Els for Autism Foundation does not award grants to individuals, except through their institutions.

Marathon des Sables Maps

I managed to find some of the road books that were used during the 2008 edition of the race. This is kept a secret till the last day before the race, as the course changes every year. This year was one of the toughest first stages in the history of the race, hopefully they will have a better sense of humor next year!!

Click in the maps for a larger view.
Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

This stage at the bottom is the long run, it can be anywhere between 75 and 90km long depending on the terrain. I think this is one of the stages I am really looking forward to this as you will be tested to your limits as you will run into the night and have to decide whether you sleep for a couple of hours or push on and get to the bivouac. The sooner you get to the bivouac the more rest you get to prepare you for the last two stages before the end of the race. This stage can make or break you.

Day 5

Day 6

Bring it on!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why am I doing this again........

Word has been getting out that I am heading into the Sahara for 6 days, carrying all my food and water, and people are starting to ask me questions like - Are you CRAZY? - You feeling OK? - Why Why Why? - What you trying to prove? - Do you think you`ll make it? -

The reality is that this will not be easy. Everyday I am researching MDS on Google (thank the cyber gods for Google) and the deeper I dig, the more harsh the reality becomes with exactly what I got myself into. You don`t just show up and run this race, no way Jose`.... Making it to Morocco is a challenge in itself, proper and careful preparation, loads of research on equipment, types of foods, travel arrangements and spending a lot of $s just to take part.

So, why am I doing this............

This started as a kinda of a daft idea, and now I find myself heading towards the Sahara with every passing day.....

260 days or 6253 hours or 375190 minutes and counting as I am writing this till I am standing somewhere in the Sahara, on a starting line, waiting to go on one of the greatest running races/adventures in the world. I have always been in awe of people pushing themselves to the limit, testing themselves against the elements. People like Mike Horn, Riaan Manser, Freya Hoffmeister and Eddie Aikau are all influences in my decision to take part in this race. It all started for them with a dream to achieve their personal goals, so this has always been a dream and now it is becoming a reality!

I'm not sure that it's all that important how a dream is born. That is, if it's a good dream and it signifies something you want out of life, what's more important than its roots is that that you seek that dream out, that you chase it with such unbridled passion that you'll make it your own reality. In doing so, you'll likely experience many twists and turns -- triumphs and defeats -- expected outcomes and utter surprises. If you dream of finishing a big race, your dream is often of the finish, not of the long journey to reach the finish line, especially not the months of preparation it takes to even reach the starting line. In the end, maybe you'll get that Finisher's shirt or medal. Even better though, maybe you'll make a new friend or experience something that enriches your life in a way that will leave you a different person - or some wonderful combination. The beauty of chasing a dream is that the dream itself is often outcome-focused, but the reality that's delivered brings some of the most cherished rewards to you.

Taking part in this dream also impacts the people closest to you as they need to put up with your obsession to get one more run in before the day is over. I am lucky to have a very special lady in my life, my wife Fiona. Fi has been on board with my decision from day one, and only now I realise what she has to sacrifice in order for me to complete this race. Athletes can be very selfish, as many hours have to be spent to ensure you are ready to take part and it is easy to neglect the ones you love without realising it. I know that when I am crossing the Sahara dunes, Fi will be there in spirit nudging me along to get to the finish line, and maybe if I am lucky, she`ll be there when I cross the finishing line! Thank you Babe!!

Chasing this dream also brings a chance to help raise awareness for families suffering from Autism. There is no known cure for Autism and all funds raised during my preparations and the race will go to research and help families to deal with this disorder. I will be posting more info on Autism and how you can get involved, and try and raise the profile here in Dubai and hopefully internationally. The Ernie Els foundation has been very supportive and I will be running the race for Ernie`s son Ben. When the going gets tough I will think of Ben and the millions of other people affected by this disorder. This one is for you Ben!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A run to Hell and back.....

Yesterday I tested the Salomons in the desert near to where I lived. I ran at at 5:30pm and the temperature on the sand was very close to 40 degrees C!

Mariana decided to join me for part of the run. Marxie wanted to go do the MDS 2010 with me but unfortunately she could not do it this time around, maybe next time!

I managed to run 9.36km in about 1hr08min. During my run I made 3 observations: 1) No matter how acclimatized you think you are, always take water with you! (Marxie`s camelback saved me!), 2) Shoes will have to be very sand prove, I ran for just over an hour and the shoes where filled with sand, causing a small blister on my let foot, 3) Running across the Sahara for 6 days will not be easy.......Bring the Ipod along boy......

Mariana has bought a Garmin wrist watch and managed to pull the info from the watch and did the run profile on the left. I am defiantly getting on of these bad boys. You can get feedback on time, distance, elevation and then map it on Google Earth. This would be great to have for the MDS in April 2010. Fiona would be able to track my progress and upload this to the Blog on daily basis! (Thanks Babe!)


I like running in this area as it has many elevation variations as the rest of the tarmac roads in Dubai are completely flat! The area will be used for future developments.

I am always on the look out for Vipers as they are pretty dangerous, I always see the snake holes, think they might be dozing during the day! I also saw a desert hare sprinting across the sand, trying to keep up with me........whatever ek se.

I have decided to post a couple of pics of myself. I am currently weighing around 95kg and will be aiming to get this down to 80kg by April 2010. I have never weight this much in my life,so I am posting this as a challenge to myself to get back to the Ironman form I was in during my younger years! Go boet!

I got home and I was feeling so hot, I had to take my shirt of half way through my run which is a big NO NO here in Dubai, however, I was not in public view except for the 600 meters across the Gardens to get back home!

I will have to start looking at testing gaiters for my running shoes to keep sand out. My friend Anthony will be helping me to industrial glue from South Africa to glue Velcro to the shoes for the gaiters to attach to.

I will posted my weekly training progress!!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cool MDS Trailer



My Scones!

My Skins Powersox!

Snoopy inspecting the new goods!

My first equipment purchase!

Today I went out and bought two pieces of equipment that I will be testing over the next couple of months I want to make sure I am 110% comfortable with my equipment as this could make or break you. I have done some extensive research with regards to shoes and have decided to go with Salomon XT wings and see if I am happy with them. I am a keen Asics supporter but I am looking forward running witht the XT Wings.

I have also bought a pair of Skins BioAcceleration Powersox which will serve 2 purposes, firstly to help me with calf muscle protection as I tent to suffer from calve cramps and couple months back I injured my right calve muscle. I am sure this is a good purchase!

So far I have spend:

Registration fee: DHS 2 000

Shoes: Dhs 495

Powersocks: Dhs 180

I will be keeping track of spending as I want to see how much moella I spend to get to the Sahara and the MDS! Every penny spend is going to be so worth it when I cross the finish line on 12th April 2010!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Els Website Press Release

My run has been posted on the Ernie Els website

Marathon Run for Els for Autism

Adam du Plooy, a native South African now living in Dubai has qualified for and will run in the Marathon Des Sables in 2010 to raise money for Els for Autism. The endurance contest requires competitors to race 243km/151 miles (equivalent to 5½ regular marathons) across Morocco’s Sahara Dessert over a period of six days. The 30-year old veteran of two Ironman Triathlons, Adam is currently operations manager of the Wild Wati Water Park in Dubai. He feels close to the issue children with autism and will run the race on behalf of Els for Autism and and the Dubai Autism Center.

Ernie Els and his foundation commend Adam and are supportive of his efforts. Els for Autism is focused on finding a cure for autism and developing Centers of Excellence which include educational programs for ages 3-21, on-site medical and specialist services and on-site research facility and lifespan services for young adults 21+. Adam hopes to raise at least $10,000 for Els for Autism.

For more on Adam’s quest go to:

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Big Easy`s Autism Story

It is three years since our seven-year old son Ben was diagnosed with Autism. We’d suspected for a few years that something was wrong. I mean, there’s a process that every kid goes through. Crawl at nine months, walk at 12 months, and then start talking and so on. With Ben we started thinking: ‘Why is he not crawling? Why is he not walking? Why is he not looking me in the eye?’ Things like that. We soon discovered he was quite severely touched by Autism.

One in 150 children is affected by Autism and that was perhaps the most shocking thing about all of this; the number of people it affects. And you know, it hits the whole family hard. For a long time you are trying to figure out ‘What just happened to my life?’ You feel sorry for yourself and for your kid and for your family. And the tragedy is that even in this day and age, the kid who has Autism is often forgotten about. The feeling is that he’s almost a waste of time, which says a lot more about society than it does the child. It’s heartbreaking.

Ben’s condition was the main driving force behind our decision to relocate our base from Wentworth to West Palm Beach in Florida. The move has benefits for my golf, but more importantly we have been able to secure a more intensive form of therapy for Ben. And he’s doing great. He might act and say things a little differently from other kids, and he obviously has some difficulties, but he understands everything we say and is particularly in tune with our emotions; it’s almost like a sixth sense. And thank God he’s got such a nice nature. He’s a very friendly, very happy, very shy kid and the more loving attention he gets and the smiles that he sees, the better. Samantha, his older sister, is great with him.

Liezl and I are private people, but we are also very much in the public eye and we recognise that this gives us a platform to help raise funds and awareness for the causes of Autism and its possible treatments. It is something that we both feel very passionate about.

We established our Els for Autism Foundation in the Spring of 2009. My first goal was to help fund an Autism Center of Excellence, a model for the world of what should be done for children with Autism. The Center will include an educational program for children age 3-21, an on-site services component for doctors, speech therapists and other specialists, a continuing services program for adults, and for me, most importantly, a research facility where scientists can study what causes Autism and possible treatments for it. That’s just the beginning. In the coming months my foundation will also be funding cutting edge Autism projects at some of the best universities and research labs around the United States. I’ll keep you posted on progress.

Years from now people may remember me as a golfer and a major champion. But I’d like also to be remembered as somebody who took the issue of Autism and did something with it. The rest of my life, I’ll be fighting this thing…I hope you’ll join with me.

/assets/ERNIE ELS SIGNITURE.jpg (50.59 kb)

Why am I doing this event?

The first time I saw a child with autism I knew that I would like to help the affected children and families. Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. The cause and cure remain unknown.
The Els for Autism is a non-profit organization started by South African golfing legend Ernie Els after his son Ben was diagnosed with autism. The foundation was established in the spring of 2009 and aims to:

1. Fund scientific research aimed at understanding Autism and developing knowledge-based treatments.
2. Fund Centers of Excellence which include all of the following:
- Educational programs for students age 3-21 years
- A services component of doctors, speech therapists and other specialists
- An on-site research center
- A continuing services program for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

I contacted the Els for Autism as I wanted to enter the 2010 Marathon Des Sables and run the event for Ben and raise awareness of autism here in Dubai and around the world. Funds raised will go to the Dubai Autism Center to assist with special education programs, creative and speech communication therapies and assist families affected with autism here in the UAE and assist them to get through very testing times.

The response I got from the Els for Autism foundation`s Executive Director Susan Hollo was very positive and her email from the 12 June 2009 reads:


How thrilling, we’d love to have to have you running under the Els for Autism banner. It appears from some of the press information I read that you will need our logo. I’ve attached it.

You’re right that finding a cure for Autism and providing all the necessary services for children on the autism spectrum is a top priority for Ernie and he’ll be delighted to know that you share his passion. We’ll be anxious to know how you’re progressing and wish you great good fortune in the race.

Stay in touch,

I have also approached the Dubai Autism Center as i wanted to support a local charity. I am now in the process of establishing fund raising events, so if you have any ideas give me a shout!

Big thank you must go out to Rebecca Prelle who has been amazing in helping me with setting things up for fundraisers and spreading the word! We have some exciting meetings lined up with media representatives here in Dubai.
Watch this space!

A taste of things to come......

Marathon des Sables 2010 – The toughest foot race on earth

This extraordinary outdoor race is both a great human adventure and a sporting challenge as competitors try to conquer the vastness of the desert. It also takes you on an intense voyage within yourself, uniting a multitude of languages and cultures from all over the world.

The race covers 243km/151 miles run over 6 days – equivalent to 5 ½ regular marathons. In addition to that competitors have to carry everything they will need for the duration (apart from a tent) on their backs. I will carry my own backpack containing food, water, sleeping gear and other material.

I will need to carry and prepare all my own food during the race, unfortunately Spinneys hasn’t made it to the Sahara yet! Water is rationed and handed out at each checkpoint and it is absolutely essential to manage consumption throughout the race.

I will experience:
· midday temperatures of up to 48 degrees Celsius
· running or walking on uneven rocky stony ground
· between 15% - 20% of the distance being in sand dunes

The heat, distance and rubbing will trash my feet and may cause severe trauma if incorrect shoes and equipment are used. Mental stamina probably constitutes at least 50% of whether I will complete the distance or not.

One of the longest stages take place on the 4th day, I will set off across the barren wilderness to complete a 72-80 kilometer stage. Few people complete this before dark the same day and some will not come in until after dark the next night. This is immediately followed with a full marathon distance. Remind me why I am doing this again....?

About Adam

I am a 30 year old South African living and working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I am currently working for Wild Wadi Water Park as an Operations Manager, where I was part of the preopening team in 1999. I have worked in various aquatic facilities around the world, Kroonpark Holiday resort, Wild Wadi Water Park, Waterworld Water Park in Cyprus, Valley of Waves in Sun City South Africa, National Aquatic Center in Dublin Ireland, and finally Jumeirah Beach Club Resort and Spa in Dubai.

From a young age I have always been very active, looking for new challenges to push my endurance level to the limits. I have competed in 2 Ironman Triathlons, ran 2 Dubai marathons and swam in various open water races. While working in Sun City I took part in various cross country races and 10km road races with a personal best of 37 minutes in the Rustenburg Spar 10km night race.

Over the last two years I have not been as active I would like to be due to work and climate conditions. Here in Dubai the summers are very extreme and I am not your typical gym/indoor guy. I like being outdoors and testing myself against the elements!

About 6 months ago my wife told me of a friend of hers who would be taking place in the toughest footrace in the world, the Marathon des Sables in April 2009. Being curious I Googled the MDS, one of the greatest races I have ever came across, and I immediately wanted in! Having competed in 2 Ironman Triatlons, I knew this is something I`ll have to do!! Hopefully I`ll be the proud owner of a MDS 2010 medal come 12 April 2010.......