Oh what an adventure awaits in the Sahara Desert. The 2012 Marathon des Sables (MdS) is about to begin!
This race has been on my training and life radar since February 2011 when I found out I was one of the lucky North Americans who was chosen to play. Between then and now, I’ve run thousands of miles and participated in at least a half-dozen ultramarathons. Almost all of this adventuring has been with the goal of this race in mind and body. Does this sound silly? It does. But, a girl’s gotta’ have goals and this one’s mine.
I’m a lucky, lucky creature in that I have family, friends, and the complete strangers of the Internet world supporting me in my endeavor. This means more than I could ever articulate. If you’re reading this, I owe you a massive thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for buoying me along the way.
I’ve been hanging out in Morocco for a while, having fun, acclimating to the Sahara Desert, and learning from the best in the biz, the Morocco runners who routinely finish close to first in this race. This experience has connected me to this country–its people and land–on a level I didn’t feel in my 2009 and 2010 MdS outings. Morocco possesses a beauty that fills my heart so full that it aches with love. I feel blessed to take this positive energy along on my journey across the desert. Here are a couple photos that show the kind of experiences I’ve had:
This Friday, April 6th, the MdS race administration transfers us from civilization into the desert. On Saturday, we 900-ish runners check into the race, an all-day endeavor of weighing packs, checking mandatory gear, and being patient. The race begins on Sunday, April 8th and concludes on Saturday, April 14th.
If you’d like to follow along on this seven day, six stage, 250-kilometer race, you can do so on the race website and over on iRunFar, where daily updates will be posted. If you’d like to send me a note out there in the desert (Believe it or not, you can! Messages are delivered to us competitors most nights in the camp we make between each day of racing.). To do so, navigate to the race website and click on “write a competitor” between April 7th and 13th (The link will only exist on the race website on those days.). You’ll need my full name, Meghan Hicks, and my race number, #973, to send a note. Feel free to write once or as much as you want! You can imagine how amazing it is to hear from people who care out there in the desert.
There is so much more I want to tell you about this place and this race, but I’ll save it for afterward when I’m back home recovering. For now, I’m off to the 2012 Marathon des Sables!