Hi Russ and Rob!
So 273 km in 7 days. They say the second toughest self supported stage race in the world (Marathon De Sable is first). What to say now that it’s over? A marathon or more a day except stage 3 which was an 87 km day/night and over 20 hrs. Temp fluctuations were extreme from 35+ C in exhausting desert heat to below freezing at night. God, the dirt was an endurance test. Extreme winds at times and terrain that was everything from unrelenting soft sand to steep inclines, canyon descents, to sand dunes 30+ feet. The dunes took raw to tears determination as I went over each one with my friend Lishe at 3 am laughing like idiots at the difficulty of it. I lost a fair bit of weight and yes Rob those were my feet in the pictures. The photographers and media crew seemed to love to film the pain which at times was overwhelming. You were pretty much on your own for care and repair. Nutrition was solid thank God. I loved the landscape. My tent mates were exceptional; 4 men and 3 other women from the UK, Ireland, Canada and the US. Very talented adventure racers and just plain good and supportive. The camaraderie was a definite factor to success; sharing food and assisting the one hurting the most each night. The emails sent from family and friends including you two was a highlight each night. Thank you. The event was organized pretty well although some improvements are required. I was satisfied with my performance. Not one sore muscle. Running with a 20 lb pack is hard. If my feet hadn’t been so bad I could have pushed harder. That said, a lot of the course was not runnable beyond a trot. Tarantula, cacti and snakes were a reality.
I asked myself repeatedly why I chose to do this. I guess we all push ourselves to see what is possible; to remind us who we are at our core. This one was different. Todd was waiting at the finish which kept me going (although he didn’t see me finish as the organizers made him move his car before I crossed the line- really????- how bloody short sighted and insensitive). I also found myself thinking of you Russ along each stage. Before and after the accident; how life can shift under you with no notice; how everything now will be an adventure and test of endurance for you; at least for awhile. I would examine the terrain and think ” Russ could kick this part; how could he navigate this stretch, etc”. The thoughts just made me even more determined to do everything I can to support you and get you back in the game. People overcame horrendous odds to enter and finish this race. Everyone had a story. You will too Russ. Will send photos! Lots of love- Monique.
Crazy bloody foreigner – Russ xxxx