Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Why am I running a marathon?

Why am I running a marathon?

Hi, I'm Ben and over the last 12 months I have run a couple of the, now extremely popular, mud runs in the UK. Both were 10-12 miles long with umpteen obstacles and both were excellent fun. Having done them lots of my friends were up for signing up for the next one but I somehow felt that I'd "done" them and didn't need to do them again. 

They weren't challenging enough...

Me running Tough Mudder in the first TM race in the UK
Me in the middle of Tough Mudder
So talking with a friend of mine, John Morgan, who ran with me on one of the mud runs and was of the same opinion, we decided that perhaps something a little harder was in order.

We settled on a marathon, but we both agreed that we weren't particularly interested in doing a normal, run-of-the-mill marathon in the UK. We wanted this to be special and interesting, not that running any kind of marathon isn't interesting and special, we just wanted it to be especially challenging (and therefore rewarding).

John and I spent some time Googling and searching the internet and finally came across the Sahara Marathon. Being a bit of an organisation nut, I quickly tracked down the affiliated charity in the UK (Sandblast) and called them up to find out more.

From the initial conversation I was extremely excited. There seemed to me to be many many reasons to run choose this particular marathon:
  • Sahara Desert - sand, huge open spaces and nice weather. Check.
  • A marathon to run in a challenging environment and incredible scenery. Check
  • An interesting and not often visited country to see (Algeria). Check
  • A chance to raise a substantial amount of money and make a real difference to people who need it. Check.
  • Living and surviving with refugees in their family homes (huts and tents) for a week. Check
  • A holiday with a mate (not to be overlooked in its importance). Check

The more I read and watch about this marathon, the more excited I get about being there and enjoying it!

I'm really nervous about the running but I think overall I'm more nervous about staying in the refugee camp for a week. It's totally going to test my modern, western comfort levels. 

No showers! 

Bottled water only - which means I'm going to spend the whole week paranoid about getting the runs or worse.

Sharing endless cups of Sahrawi tea - is it safe or nice? What if it makes me sick!? Will they be offended?

Entertaining the kids - apparently we are recommended to bring lots of small gifts and bits to give to the families and the children which is going to be difficult with a very small luggage allowance and 250-300,000 people to share the stuff with... 

Worrying about security and our safety given that Morocco have a tendency of attacking the camps every now and then and that they've recently chucked the UN international observers out of the country.

I don't even know if there's going to be electricity to charge things like camera batteries and laptops.

It's going to be so awesome and I'm going to be so far outside my comfort zone! 

This is why I chose to run a  marathon in the Sahara.

Please think of the people who have to live in the refugee camp and if you can't think of them, please think of me and support me and them on my JustGiving page.

Thank You.

1 comment:

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