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Crystal takes on the Ultra-Marathon

From feeling like a fraud to finishing the Marathon Des Sables

Crystal, Up & Running Southampton

Despite all my training through our seemingly never ending winter, two weeks prior to the race, the doubt set in. The “Who do you think you are?” “What on earth made you think you can do it?”

I had to stop to listen to the voice and realise it was fear, it was growth, it was about moving forward into the goal and about trusting my training. I was so focused and did not do my final run as I was afraid of injury.

Rule number one of the MdS is: Get to the start line and it all started to make sense.

Upon arrival in Morocco, we were taken by coach into the desert, given our tent numbers and then meandered towards the tents. Within moments the shouts of “Look! And I turn to see a sandstorm heading towards us, being told to run is useless as I haven’t established the layouts of the tents yet, let alone where to find my tent.

I'm second to arrive and I just lay down clutching onto my possession, talking isn’t really an option as you’re swallowing and chewing sand as you speak. In the next few minutes, my tents mates starts to trickle in. I say a quiet prayer of gratitude as the three men to enter happen to be engineers from the military and they have a desperate need to get things in order.

Tents sorted and they suggest we go to have dinner in the beautifully laid out Moroccan tents. I had no intention of eating but it seemed to be the right thing to do in getting to know my tent mates and I'm so very glad I did. Three army officers and two gentlemen!

As brutal and ruthless (they stopped telling us the temperature at day 3 when it was 54 degrees) as the Marathon de Sables was, it was also the happiest 10 days of my life. I have reached my £2000 target that I always wanted to achieve as my farewell to Big Dave, Rest in Peace my friend.



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