Thursday, April 22, 2010

Marathon Des Sables 2010 - South Moroccan Sahara

Back in Dubai!

Home finally!! I have done it, and all because of your great support during the week I was out in Morocco. What a week it was, really the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I know there are many hard endurance races but I believe the MDS is very unique in how it is set up and the many different challenges it throws at you.

Emotionally I have never experience so many highs and lows in 7 days. I have hit rock bottom so many times just to be picked up by your support, the support from the tent 124B boys, fellow competitors and race organisers. I will post a day by day account with pictures and videos and I hope it will give you a good insight of what we all went through during the MDS week. I will also post messages from my journal that friends left and also thoughts from my tent mates. Thanks again for all the support, this medal is dedicated to every one of you!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

images from the last stage

Final stage - He did it

Yesterday Adam finished the 42km stage in just over 10 hours.
Today - the final day - was 21km, the shortest distance during the whole race.
Adam finished the course in 4 1/2 hours - Well done!!!!
He will now be sitting on a bus and making his way back to civilisation in Ouarzazate.
Here he will spend the next 2 nights in a hotel and attend the awards ceremony tomorrow before travelling over to the UK.
A massive thank you to everyone who has supported Adam throughout this whole journey.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 5

Sorry for the delay in updating today. I have been travelling back to the UK and just got to a computer. Day 5 is 42.2km - Oued el Jdaid - Erg Znaigui.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

He did it

Stage 4 was the toughest stage of the toughest foot race in the world - 82km and Adam finished it!
He did it in 32 hours 14min - well done!!!!

I haven't heard from him yet but I'm sure he has got all the emails from everyone - thank you for sending them it is really helping him along the way.

Artists impression

This year, there are 2 artists following the MdS - Ceza and Vincente from France. They will be sketching and painting scenes from the race and by the end they will have 15 pictures. These will be exhibited on Sunday 11 April at the opening of the Maison Solidarite Marathon des Sables in Ouarzazate. Then they will be sold to raise funds for Sport Eveil Acadamie - a project to teach children through sport and Femissima - whose goal it is to teach women to read and write.

Images from Day 4

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The longest day!


Km 0 : Go East (bearing 99°) until CP1. Series of sandy ground with vegetation and more stony terrain
Km 7,5 : Deceptively flat uphill section as far as CP1.
Km 12,8 : CP1. Go North (bearing 07°) to return to the path which climbs towards Zireg jebel.
Km 14,4 : Start of climb up path.
Km 14,6 : Succession de montées et descentes sablonneuses jusqu’au Km 18,6.
Top. TAKE CARE! Follow the small track carefully for 200m to go down into sand. Series of sandy uphill and downhill sections until Km 18.6.
Km 18,6 : Stony path by the trees. Sandy downhill section.
Km 19,7 : Follow the wadi bed into the gorge.
Km 21,1 : Exit gorge. Go North (bearing 25°) and cross the sandy valley.
Km 22,6 : Middle of pass between the Mziouda and Ras Khemmouna jebels.
Km 24,6 : Sandy pass up small ascent
Km 24,9 : Stony valley
Km 25,6 : Top of small ascent. Quite steep sandy descent, then follow wadi bed.
Km 26,1 : CP2 at exit of the wadi branch. Go N/NE (bearing 19°) to cross a dried-up lake.
Km 29,5 : End of lake. Enter El Maharch gorge.
Km 31,6 : El Maharch oasis. Wells (solar equipment installed for the 2006 MDS). Follow the track towards the rocky peak so that you take the right-hand side avoiding the very stony fields situated to the right of this.
Km 32,5 : Cemetery on the right-hand side.
Km 33,3 : Rocky peak on the right-hand side. Go N/E (bearing 46°) until CP3 leaving the rocky terrain to your right.
Km 38,7 : CP3 on the left of Tizi n’Guidou pass. Cross Tizi n’Guidou pass.
Km 40,7 : Tree as you exit the pass. Go S/E (bearing 132°) to cross the clear part of the Rheris wadi.
Km 41,5 : Enter Rheris wadi. Beaten earth, more or less undulating, small dunes. Same direction (132°).
Km 48,1 : Area of trees (tamarisk). Crevasses on the wadi bed.
Km 49,1 : Sortie de l’oued.
Exit wadi.
Km 51 : CP4 at the foot of the dunes. Go along the dunes on the left-hand side, then cross the valley until Km 52.8.
Km 52,8 : Enter erg. Take bearing 120° to cross dunes.
Km 57,8 : End of erg. Cross Jouijel wadi for 200 m then sandy uphill section.
Km 59 : End of uphill section, top of the pass. Sandy descent.
Km 59,7 : Edge of dried-up lake. Take a general E/NE direction (bearing 60°) until CP 5.
Km 62,5 : CP5 before the dunes. Go along the dunes on the left-hand side, bearing E/NE (bearing 72°) until CP6.
Hilly and sandy.
Km 71,3 : End of dunes. Climb towards the small pass.
Km 71,7 : Small pass. Laser beam. Descend towards CP6.
Km 72,5 : CP6. Go North (bearing 8°)
Km 75 : Cross sandy wadi bed.
Km 76,2 : Touh Ilh jebel peak on left-hand side. Direction N/E (bearing 37°) until B5. Follow the course markings
attentively to avoid the crevasses to the left.
Km 77,5 : Series of more or less stony undulating slopes
Km 82,2 : Arrive at B5

Images from Day 3

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It was a tough one!

Day 3 has finally finished and it was really tough today.
Adam had it into the bivouac in 10 hours 37 min - 20 mins before the cut off time for today.
He said that it has been really hot - he was walking across a salt pan and it was 50 degrees! The organisers have been giving out extra water as everyone is getting dehydrated. It has been difficult for him as other people around him are struggling - people being sick/fainting - but he has just had to get himself through to the finish.

Unfortunately for Adam his blisters have got worse and this has been the biggest challenge for him today. He said he was about 7km from CP3 when he just had to take his socks and shoes off. He just sat for a bit and then got his flip flops out and carried on to the CP where he got some treatment before carrying on. He said he just pushed himself on to the finish singing Shosholoza.

He will go to the medical tent now and get the blisters on his heels (which are the size of golf balls) and the rest of his feet seen too so that he is ready to start the long 80km stage tomorrow morning at 7.30am (Morocco time). He thinks it will take him about 20 hours to finish the stage so I will only hear from him again on Thursday evening.

He is getting all the emails and really appreciates them - really helping him through this challenge - so keep them coming.

Centre of Excellence

As you know that one of the charities Adam is raising awareness and funds for is the Els Foundation for Autism. Ernie and Liezl Els started the foundation in early 2009 and have since embarked on a campaign to raise US$30 million for a 300 student school and research facility, the Centre of Excellence, to be built in Florida. The centre will be the first of its kind in the world, incorporating all the services a child with autism requires in order to become a productive member of society. It will combine education, therapy and research for children in the autism range.
We just wanted to say thank you for your donations which all go straight to the Els Foundation for Autism to help them reach their goal of building this Centre of Excellence.

Layout of the bivouac

I have found a map showing a layout of the bivouac.
The small black triangles at the top is where the competitors sleep.
The proper tents at the bottom is where the officials and media stay.

Day 3 - 40km

Jebel El Otfal - Taourirt Mouchanne

0km: go w/SW until 9.6km to cross the valley

1.8km: sandy wadi bed. Mounds of sand and grass for camels for 700m

4.4km: relief on LH side, fine pebbles

9.6km: sandy climb up Rich Chouiref jebel. Go back down following the gorge

10.6km: end of gorge, sandy and stony

12.8km: CP1. Go S/W over stony ground. Aim for area of trees

16.2km: tree lined wadi bed then stony plateau. Go W/SW

21.3km: less stony

22.7km: start of Ma'der El Kebir lake

24.1km: CP2 in the middle of the lake. Go S until 30km to go around the field of crevasses and the calotropis forest (small tree)

29.2km: cross a large track

30km: external boundary of forest and crevasses, change direction go S/SE to CP3

32.5km: approach small dunes beaten earth

33.5km: scattered small dunes

35km: CP3 go S/E until the finish. Mounds of sand and grass for camels

38.2km: Marabout Sidi Ali bou Moussa on LHside

39.1km: samll chain of dunes

40km: arrive at bivouac

Mountain climbs

Here are some pictures from yesterday's stage.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Phone Call

Just as I finished the last post Adam called. He sounded a little tired - no surprise as he had been walking for 7 1/2hours. The day started off with a climb up a mountain and ended with one too. Adam said that it was really tough - he would walk for 5 min and then have to rest for 5 min. Unfortunately he has picked up some more blisters on his heel to go with the one on his toe so will need to manage these very carefully.

He was going to sort out his feet and then get ready to sleep so that he will be ready for tomorrow's stage.

End of Day 2

It hasn't been easy to follow Adam's progress today due to the website not playing nice. However, our friends Steve and Katherine invited me over for dinner during which Steve persisted and managed to get the webcam link open and also the page showing the times which Adam went through the 3 checkpoints.

He went through the 3rd checkpoint in 5 hours and 44 mins and then came through the finish line in over 7 hours (no exact time as the site froze again) however after refreshing the webcam page several times Steve timed it just right - we spotted Adam waving his SA flag and crossing over the finish line for today!!

Hopefully his feet are still holding up - no more blisters and he will have a good rest tonight so that he is ready for another long day tomorrow.

Day 2 - 35.5km

2nd stage map B
2nd stage Map A

Khermou to Jebel El Otfal
0km: Go S/SE (166) to enter Amessoui jebel pass
2.1km: cross track, stony ground
3.8km: start of pass go S/SW (209)
4km: 1st Amessoui jebel crossing, cross the valley
4.8km:start of 2nd uphill section
5km: descend following the small path
5.5km: undulating terrain go S(188) to avoid the very stony ground until CP1
6.2km: flat terrain go SW until CP1
11.4km: CP1 on the banks of the Tijekht wadi, go W (282) until the foot of the jebel
13km: deceptively flat uphill section, slightly undulating
13.7km: climb up Hered Asfer jebel. Follow marked path over the crest then cross hilly ground
17.8km: go down into the valley a little way before the rocks in the form of a ruin
18.1km: go W/NW until CP2
20.3km: CP2 in the middle of valley, Go W until 22km
22km: cross the Rheris wadi going W/SW
22.6km: exit wadi, continue in same direction over flat terrain until CP3
24.2km: cross track
28.3km: hillock on the RHside
28.8km:CP 3 before El Otfal jebel. Go SW for a difficult uphill climb. 25% gradient on average until you reach the top
30.8km: top of jebel. Turn left for around 100m
30.9km: turn right to return to the wadi bed
31km: rocky wadi bed. downhill stretch
32.3km: end of downhill stretch in the wadi bed, cross the very stony plain
33.4km: enter dunes
34.7km: exit dunes
35.5km: arrive at bivouac

April is Autism Awareness Month!

Don't forget everyone - April is Autism Awareness Month!

Visit for more information on what autism is and how it affects people.
If you live in Dubai please also visit to find out how you can help.

Images from the first day

Here are some pictures from Day 1 - showing some of the different terrains that Adam is walking across.