Running across salt pans, up desert mountains and through the occasional sandstorm. The Moroccan sun doesn’t allow for weakness. It demands everything from each of the runners from all over the world…including me. The Marathon des Sables is ranked as the toughest footrace on earth – covering an overall distance of 250km across the Sahara desert where the daily temperature rises up to 50 degree Celsius. The rules require you to be self-sufficient and to carry everything you need to survive – including water, of course – on your back. During the nights you sleep in tents.
Imagine yourself to be in the middle of the Sahara desert
The moment I presented my Marathon des Sables adventure to the Amsterdam office at an All Employee Meeting roughly a year ago was the moment I committed myself to this desert challenge. In order to commit yourself to a goal, I think it’s important to tell as many people as possible, so you can’t back out. Telling almost 500 colleagues was definitely my point of no return.
Why did I commit myself to such an experience? Only a day before I flew out, I was still not sure if I could really answer this question. Most of the time I would say it was for the adventure; although I would be lying if ego hadn’t played a role. The third reason, as I mentioned during my presentation last year, is that we as western people do have the choice to take on such challenges; whereas many other people from poorer countries don’t.
“I’ve run close to 3,000km, spent more than 160 hours in the gym and even more hours on reading and other preparations. In all honestly, I must admit there were a few moments where I had to remind myself why I started all of this.”Gijs Dekker, Senior Manager Variance Controlling
This was more than enough reason to use this race to support the charity ‘Right To Play’. This is the most beautiful thing where kids can forget their misery by doing sports and are given basic education on health, basic life values and management skills to give them better odds of a better life.
Telling 500 colleagues about the plan – my personal point of no return So many people have helped me in this adventure. Some by spending hours and hours of their private time because they liked the challenge, some by providing advice or asking me how many miles I did over the weekend or simply by wishing me good luck. The closer I got to the race the more energy I got out of this and the more I understood that this project is so much more than a crazy initiative of a lunatic clown. This blog post reaches you live from the Sahara desert, with more updates coming soon here on the blog. #7daysinthedesert