This blog site captures stories and information about my runs through the deserts of the world in support of social causes and campaigns making a difference in Africa.
I have always been intrigued by deserts – their size; unique beauty and isolation. But running is most probably the one thing which you won’t associate with deserts. The idea of running for many days through sand and in temperatures of up to 50°C probably borders on craziness if not stupidity. And as much as this might be true, multi-stage desert running is an emerging and fast-growing running discipline. With significant scientific improvements in running gear, nutrition and training methods over the past few years, in addition to the “attraction” of extreme sports and testing the endurance of the human body, desert running is the new running craze!
Since 2010 I have developed a crazy love affair with the world’s harshest and most remote deserts, and the unique challenges – fitness, endurance, mental toughness, etc. – which multi-stage desert foot races present both elite athletes and ordinary runners, like myself, when running in extreme conditions.
Most multi-stage desert races are done on a self-sufficient basis – the organisers only provide participants with water and overnight tents – everything else you need for the duration of these races (e.g. food, equipment, etc.) you have to carry in your backpack which usually weights between 8 and 10kg at the start. Running a marathon per day for 5-7 days in desert conditions – with a “monkey on your back” – is a challenge for even the toughest and most experienced athletes. Furthermore, after a week in the desert, you develop a new appreciation for life’s “easy-to-take-for-granted-luxuries” – running water, a bed, food, etc.
Having worked with NGOs and development organisations for the past 25 years, it is not too difficult to find the correlation between the challenges associated with making the world a better place and the challenges of completing a multi-stage desert foot race. As a result, I have used my participation in each of my eleven desert races around the world since 2010 to raise money, awareness and support for social causes and campaigns dedicated to development issues in Africa.
On 1 September 2018, by crossing the finish line of the 250km Fire and Ice Ultra in Iceland, I became the first African, and one of a small group of people, to complete a multi-stage desert race on all seven continents.
My most recent desert race was the 250km Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (KAEM) from 20-26 October 2018 in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. I dedicated my participation in this race to the work of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH).
So, please join me on my journey from “desert2desert” around the world.