Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Runner 383

I can not believe that D-day has finally arrived! 10 Months or so of training, saving, begging sponsors to come on line, blogging, on line fund raising, and covering the miles to ensure that I am ready for Morocco and the 25th Marathon Des Sables 2010. There is a overwhelming sense of pride I feel that I have made it this far and the support I have received from my wife, family, friends and complete strangers. This is for every single one of you!

When I decided that I`ll run this race for autism I knew that this would make this an emotional journey for me. How I under estimated how emotional this journey would be, I have learned how hard it is for families with autism to be part of society and fit in without being judged on your child`s behaviour. Autism is a epidemic. More children in the US have autism than diabetes and HIV put together. You have a 1 in 94 chance that your new born will be autistic, and this number is dropping lower and lower every year. I need your help to spread the word on autism, read up on it, Youtube it, support it by volunteering, making donations and providing equipment to the Dubai Autism Center. They really need our help. If you have not made a donation yet and would like to make a contribution, please log on to:

I am off to Paris today at 3pm and will leave for Morocco on the 2nd April 2010. From Ouarzazata we will be loaded onto buses that will take us on a 5hr 30 min journey to the first Bivouac which will be our luxury hotel for the next week or so! On this day we will also receive our road books, which will be very cool to see what the first stage would be like.

On the 3rd April all administration and medical checks will be done, and we will have the rest of the day to park off and repack, explore the site, maybe even get a game of desert cricket in and getting to know the folks around the camp!

From the 4th - 10th April 2010 the Marathon des Sables will be run over a distance of 250km, and each competitor will be self sufficient carrying all equipment and food required to finish this lovely race. The terrain will consist of Wadi`s, salt flats, rocky plains, desert dunes, and the occasional oasis! If the weather plays along it will be around 30 degrees and otherwise high forties should be in order! This is not a walk in the park, it is an adventure of a lifetime!

My blog will be updated by my dear wife as I will be able to send daily updates to you all keeping you posted on my progress and daily reports. You may also track my progress on the MDS website and use my race number to track my standing:

I look forward sharing my adventure with you when I return to Dubai and will have loads of pictures. All that is left now is to thank everyone who has followed the blog, made a contribution and supported and believed in me through this journey. Without you it would have been very dull.

All I now have to do is RUN ADAM RUN!

Better People - This one is for everyone who has supported me through my journey to Morocco!

Monday, March 29, 2010

One and a half days till I leave for Paris

I can honestly not believe the time has finally arrived to board the plane and head to Paris and Morocco. It feels like a week ago when I did a 96 days to go post and now I am almost standing on that MDS starting line! What great adventure awaits me!

The last week has been a roller coaster of emotions with the Dubai 92 Hook Up as well as the prospect of being without my wife for almost two weeks. I must thank Fiona for taking this journey with me, it has been a long 10 months and Fi has been my motivation and rock through this all. Taking on something like this is a pretty selfish thing to do as there is obvious worries about my health ect, but not once did Fi get negative about my adventure and supported me 100% all the way. Thank you babe!

And then of course there is everyone who has support me through this and your comments like HeadCase, Why Why and Seriously Dude kept me going all the way. My running partners, for the early mornings and afternoon grids, without you it would have been 100% less fun......if you can call running fun. Everyone making a donation to the Ernie Els Foundation, thank you very much. It humbles me when someone takes money that could be used for a 1000 other reasons and putting it forward to help the fight against autism. Ernie and the folks at the foundation really appreciates your contributions and keep on spreading the word! Togehter we can make a difference.

So, all that remains now is to make sure all the equipment is in the bag and double checked. I will post a complete equipment update tomorrow and share my final thoughts before I head out on Wednesday afternoon. After that I will leave you in the capable hands of Fiona who will be posting my daily updates out of Morocco. I am very fortunate that I have been given the talent to be able to even consider taking on a challenge like this.

When I am in the Sahara, you will be in my thoughts Seano, you have always been a great inspiration to me and I will dedicate part of this run to you my friend!


Sunday, March 28, 2010


Today I went to meet Robert and the team of Nivea, as Nivea has come forward and sponsored $ 7144 towards my MDS expenses. What a bunch of Legends! I am extremely humbled by their massive contribution and would like to thank Robert and Jan for making this all possible. You have made it possible for me to go to Morocco and run to raise awareness for the Dubai Autism Center and the Ernie Els for Autism Foundation. Thank you so much!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hook Up Pictures!

A pretty emotional morning

Me and Helen Barrett - Helen donated AED 5000 and cancelled her trip to Paris.....

Me and Jan from Nivea

Feet is still OK......for now!

Massive thank you to everyone involved!

Dubai 92 Hook Up - Audio Clip

Thank you for making this possible Dubai 92.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Dubai 92 HOOK-UP!

I woke up at 1am this morning wondering what the Dubai 92 team of Catboy, Geordiebird and Louise had in store for me during the Dubai 92 HOOK - Up? If I only knew......

We arrived early at the studio and from the moment we arrived I felt that today was going to be a very special day. At 7h30 a mystery guest made an appearance, Janice Lambert from Nivea and announced that Nivea will supply me with a goodie bag with various products to help me when I am Morocco, as well as treating me to a day at the Male Spa in Dubai Mall when I return back from Morocco. On top of that the MD of Nivea and his lovely wife decided to donate a return ticket to Paris that will help me so much. Thank you so very much Nivea!

At this stage I felt I was going to burst into tears and cry the biggest man tears ever, this last couple of months have been very emotional with the anticipation of going to Morocco and the reality of how tough this will be. Fiona was good form in the tears department and I tried my best not to look at Fi as this would have triggered me into a full on man cry!

My second hook up was also very special and I am deeply touch at Helen Barret`s contribution. Helen and her partner came in later and at this stage I could feel this will be a special next few moments. Catboy grabbed a box of tissues, and I thought to myself, what`s going on here......Well, Helen had planned a trip to Paris over Easter with her sister and partner, and after hearing my hook up yesterday Helen decided to come forward and donate Dhs 5000 that would have been used for her ticket to France. So in short, Helen gave up her holiday to help me with my Autism awareness campaign. I was blown away by her generosity and good will. Thank you so much Helen, I cannot thank you enough for this.

So thinking this is all over Catboy put Jan back on and revealed that Nivea will also donate a massive $6000 towards my trip to Morocco and the Marathon Des Sables!! I am speechless and humbled........ Thank you so much to Robert, Jan and the team at Beiersdorf Middle East for their support and donations. Nivea has been actively involved with the Autism Center and also donated Christmas present`s to the center! Thank you for supporting people with Autism and your help is greatly appreciated.

After this morning`s experience I will make sure I cross that finish line on the 10th April, no matter in what state my body is, you have inspired me! When I return from Morocco I will make sure I take everyone involved in this out for a really good dinner! You have made my day and your support will mean so much when I am in the Sahara!

Thank you Dubai 92!

This morning my day started of with a classic big BANG! I got a call from the team at Dubai 92 and was informed by Geordiebird that they are going to try and hook me up for my race in Morocco. First response is that I feel pretty emotional, I am humbled to think people would want to help me to go to Morocco. It has been very hard getting any sponsorship due to the economic downturn and I had to finance the whole trip out of my pocket. However, I am not complaining as I was always going to do this regardless, I am willing to live of only toast and water to be able to go to Morocco and raise awareness for the Dubai Autism Center and the Ernie Els for Autism!

I will be on air with Catboy and Geordiebird tomorrow at 7h30am and find out if we managed to get some folks to hook me up! All I can say is THANK YOU VERY MUCH 92!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Compulsory ECG Test

The MDS requires every athlete to undergo an ECG test with a doctor to ensure runners are physically able to participate in this tough race as the combination of heat, lack of nutrients, dehydration and heavy backpack. I had this done today with Dr Sohail at Dr. Nicholas ASP clinic and the doctor was very happy with my results. Pulse at 74. blood pressure at 138/80 and ECG was normal for an athlete. I will need to submit this documentation on admin day before the race and the results will then be reviewed by a race doctor who`ll make the final decision whether you may run or not! Good thing they did not make us take a sanity test as you must be a little bit crazy to attempt something this hectic!

Velcro strips glued!

I have managed to glue my Velcro strips to my running shoes and as the as they say in this part of the world, it will last In Shalaa! The name of the glue is Plio-Bond and is an industrial strength glue . The application was very straight forward and I am very chuffed with my efforts. I will let it set for two more days and then I`ll attach the gaiters to it and do the pull test to see whether the strips will stay on the shoes. I am confident that my DIY job will be good enough for the Sahara sand and heat.......Otherwise I am in for a real treat!I will post more picks of the shoes with the gaiters once I am happy with the bond!

Monday, March 22, 2010

These are the shoes that will take me across the Sahara sands! I have ordered these from Likey`s and they are extremely light. I have also gone one size bigger as this was a common tip I have picked up on various blogs from MDS veterans. The issue I had was to try and find a person here in Dubai who could attach the velcro strips for the gaiters, and so far no luck. Veronica knows of a guy in Satwa but I could not manage to find his shop.

I have gone for the glueing option and got some industrial super bond this afternoon and have attached the velcro to the shoes. I am stoked with the results so far and will post the end result once I am happy that the strips will hold! Fingers crossed, if I can find the shoe shop in Satwa I`ll also have it stitched as well just in case. Keeping sand out will be top priority to ensure your feet does not get any sand that will cause some serious blistering. Gaiters may look silly, but at the end of the day it will make a massive difference on how well your feet holds up and this piece of equipment is probably one of the most essential pieces of equipment.

Visas done!

Today I received my last visa from the French consulate, I am now truly on my way to Morocco! I was stressing about the visas a bit as I was running out of time and if one of these came back negative I would have been rushing to apply again, not even mentioning the cost involved. When I first set out to run this race I knew it would not be a cheap in terms of entry fee and flights, however, there was so many hidden costs involved and when this is all over I will tally it all up. One thing I know that if I did not change jobs in December, I don't think I would have been able to afford entering this race! The Lord works in mysterious ways!

Bring on the desert!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shot Holmes, Lekker Marxie!!

For a very long time I have been a solo runner, and not since Sun City have I had a permanent running parter. My running partners here in Dubai have come and gone as the summers and sometimes distance became an issue. Mariana was my steady running partner till I moved out of the Gardens and I must say that Marxie is as tough a runner as I have ever seen. I believe that Mariana will complete a Comrades marathon as well as a Marathon Des Sables, and if I have my way the Kalahari Ultra!

In January we stayed with a good friend and ex colleague, Haydn Holmes. Haydn has always been famous for his objection to run anywhere! During our Beach time trials we had to run about 400m before entering the water for a 1k swim, so Hayd`s would wait till most folks are in the water before moving from the starting line and leave everyone behind in his wake......did I mention Haydn is a human jet boat.

Long story short Homer started running with me while we stayed with them and surprised me with his running skills and commitment. As with Mariana, Haydn will go one to run a few marathons and who knows, hopefully a Ultra or two! I would like to thank my two friends for getting me on the road on those days I did not want to run and inspiring me to work hard towards my MDS goal. I dedicate day one to Haydn and Mariana for their support during the training runs and I hope we cover many many more miles together!

Make your donation today and help me raise $ 10 000 for Els for Autism


Lets not forget why I am doing this.....April is Autism Awareness month.

One Raidlight bag on the way.......AGAIN!

So have have told you how efficient the folks here at the Dubai postal services are that they have sent back my Raidlight backpack after it was only in the UAE for 1 week without informing me that the bag has arrived. Lesson learned......

Sue and the chaps at Likeys have posted a second 30 L bag and this is on the way now. They will refund the bag as soon as it has cleared customs in the Uk, thanks for the help guys. I would recommend Likeys to anyone who is looking for quality and variety. My first order arrived here within one week with everything I ordered.

Tomorrow morning I am heading the the French Consulate for my biometric and hopefully I get my visa shortly after that. Once the visas are sorted I`ll start packing and get my running kit. I have a bit to do still, shoes need to get velcro for the gaiters, need to have my medical exam done and back to the physio to let me know when I can start trotting again!

Two weeks till I leave for France, this dream is being reality very very fast! I am as ready as I can be, will not let anyone down.....Thank you to my lovely wife for putting up with me through all this, I owe you a big fat holiday on a beach somewhere!

I am so looking forward to this!

I believe in the run....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Injury Update

Today we played some golf at Jebel Ali with Carel and Cules, or is that Mark.....Long story...... Was nice catching up with the boys and the golf was cool. I was planning to get out and run again today but while going up a steep bank on the golf course I could still feel the pain in my leg, still very tender. Tomorrow I`ll get some anti-inflammatory tabs and see if that would help. I will just it the pool and keep the fitness up as best as I can. only 15 days till I fly out, so I am going to be very cautious over the next week to ensure my leg is ready come the 2nd April.


This week is my visa week. Being a South African citizen I need to apply for a French and Moroccan visa to be able to take part in the Marathon des Sables. My first visa I applied for was my UK visa as I am going to see my mum in law and recover from the race in Southhampthon. The second visa was the Moroccan visa which I thought would be the trickiest as you have a lot of red tape here to get through to be able to apply for a Moroccan visa.

Firstly I had to get an no objection letter from my company in English and Arabic. I then took the letter to be stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs just to be turned away as the letter needs to be stamped by the UAE Chamber of Commerce first. So I went off to the COC, took a ticket and fell into a line waiting for my turn. After about 45 minutes I approached on of the clerks just to be turned away, they have assigned me to the wrong area, get another ticket and fall in line in another zone........After about two hours I got the letter stamped, just!

The next day I went back to Abu Dhabi on my day off to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and got my second stamp. With the GPS set I headed towards to Moroccan Embassy with fingers crossed that the process there is less painful! When I arrived at the Embassy I was a bit surprised at the state of the Embassy on the inside. It was very dark with a couple of fused lights and I and took my place in the back of the line. 5 minutes later I left the embassy with the instructions to return in 3 hours, and voila, my visa was ready and passport handed over! Classic, only one more to go, the French Schengen.

Today I submitted my visa application for the French Consulate and have to go back on Thursday to do my finger prints and eye scan, hopefully the visa will be ready by early next week. Fingers crossed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

First Injury

Over the last couple of weeks while I have been running with Haydn I started thinking just how lucky I have been in terms of my injury count. Over the last couple of months I have been lucky to be completely injury free......until now. A week ago we set out for a short, easy run on our regular route as Hayds was a bit tired from all his paddling. When we got back after the run I felt my left calve feeling a bit stiff but was not too concerned. The next day it was a bit stiff but again nothing feeling too serious.

Our next run two days later was a long run near the Palm Jebel Ali as we are trying to mix up the terrain a little bit more as the old run is getting a bit boring. I took the Raidlight and made it a heavy for the run. At around 8k`s I started feelign the calve pain again and at 10k`s I had to stop as the pain moved down to the area between my heel and calve. I walked back to the car and for the first time I felt some serious pain in my leg. This is obviously a massive concern with the MDS little more than 20 days away.

I went to see a physio and she applied sonar, deep tissue massage, electrotherapy and ice to my leg and it feels a little bit better. Her recommendation is not to run for 10 days, so I`ll hit the pool and keep an eye on how my legs gets better. I am not going to do anything stupid now and just nurse it through till the departure date. The rest on the legs should be good and I have my fingers crossed that this goes away quickly and that I have a great run in the MDS!