Planning a Pilgrimage of Pain to the Sahara

In today’s age, it is not uncommon to be asked to sign a waiver acknowledging a long list of risks involved before indulging in everything from drinking a hot cup of coffee to bungee jumping or SCUBA diving … Rarely do we read these waivers in detail, but once in a while one pops up that gives us a pause.

Any event that requires a compulsory snakebite kit, flares and survival blanket but also an insurance for funeral expenses means that you are up to something serious – which I am since I signed up for the Marathon des Sables in March 2008!

Considered as one of the first modern adventure races, the MdS was founded in 1985 by a Frenchman called Patrick Bauer and has become an annual event, covering roughly 230 km of some of the Sahara desert’s harshest terrain.

Over 7 days running 6 stages, I will have to carry all my food, gear and water, sleep in two-sided Berber tents with 7 other people and endure temperatures as high as 50 degrees during the day and as low as 5 degrees at night.

The mental preparation is as important as the physical training – heat, sand dunes, salt flats combined with serious sandstorms create ‘The Toughest Foot Race on Earth’.

Something else to focus on while getting ready for Morocco, are the 3,500 AU$ entry fee which do not include neither equipment or airfare nor all the costs involved in months of training and racing.

I can think of more comfortable ways to spend money and time, but just like most of the 700 other runners who make this pilgrimage of pain to the Sahara, I decided to dedicate my time, training and race to a good cause.

My goal is to get to the finish line of the Marathon des Sables 2008 but more importantly to have saved as many people’s eyesight as possible by raising money for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Did you know that every 5 seconds an adult person goes blind, and every minute a child goes blind – but 75% of the world’s blindness is preventable!

If you believe that my effort is a worthwhile one, and you like to be part of helping me to reach my goal then please visit for more information and help me to help others.

Thank you and happy running!

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