Monthly Archives: April 2012

Follow runner 428 in the Marathon des Sables 2012…me!

Here is how to follow the Marathon des Sables 2012 which is taking place from 8th April to the 14th April.

You can follow the race on line, where there will be a webcam live from each stage’s finish line – the website is

To leave me a message during the race click on “write to a competitor” and follow the instructions.  My race number is 428.  Receiving messages in the desert is a big highlight of each day so if you have time to drop me a line, to urge me on or send me a silly message to make me laugh or cry then please please do so.

Many, many thanks

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So – here I go folks, off to the Sahara Desert where at least the sun is shining!

So here it is, the days have finally passed, I have done my last shift on the ward at work and to be honest I feel like I am heading to the desert for a rest!  No, seriously, in a few hours 200 odd Brits will be cautiously making their way to Gatwick Airport – we will be easy to spot, the ones with the backpacks that get stopped going through customs because of all the powdery drinks we are carrying.

I had my final physio session with the quite simply awesome Brett Davison of the RFU.  I am declared to be in ship shape form and fighting fit. I have repacked my kit for the umpteenth time and managed to shave off a few more grams here and there, and add a couple more again!  So here is what I am taking:


I know it doesn’t look like it, but in amongst all of that is enough food to get me through 6 arduous stages of the desert… around 2500 calories per day, all carefully measured and weighed to the smallest grain.  I will be sampling the delights of sweet energy drinks and gels, a porridgy dried fruit mixture in the mornings, and delicious and varied forms of freeze dried hot meals in the evenings such as Shepherd’s Pie, or Beef and Potato Hot Pot – for those of you who have never sampled the delights of the freeze dried meals, well they are more like sheperd’s mashed up and Beef mush! But they do the job.

Here is what it looks like all packed up and ready to go…Image

It’s actually not too heavy, well around the 10kg mark which is lighter than 5 years ago, and it will get lighter each day as I eat my way through it.

The down side of being a nurse as opposed to a secretary from 5 years ago is that I am far more aware of the risks of bad personal hygiene.  Not that I was unclean in my approach 5 years ago, but I think I am compensating for too much knowledge and seem to be packing rather a lot of cleaning products!

Anyways, folks, as the evening draws to a close, I must head for some shut eye and savour my last night in my bed and with my moggy who has been surveying my packing abilities with a rather wry expression.

My brother Nick will be posting my daily reports on my blog for me so keep following…

Love to you all, and thank you for your wonderful words of support, I will listen out for the voices across the African skies from Malawi and am sure I will hear them in my heart – thank you all, and good night

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Sands of the desert fast approaching… the countdown begins

Well folks, in exactly one week I should be tucked up in my sleeping bag having completed the second stage of the Marathon des Sables 2012… Am I excited? I can barely sleep I am so excited, and for those of you who know, it takes a lot for me not to sleep well.

It’s been a strange last week as I lead up to Thursday 5th April, when I fly out to Morocco.  I finished my night shifts last week and went for a gentle but enjoyable run last Wednesday with my full pack – a couple of niggling issues raised their ugly head – the main one being where the areas chaff.  I am now unable to run with my pack until race day on Sunday in order to allow the chaffing sites to heal properly. I would post a picture of the sore areas on my back but am struggling with the acrobatics of trying to do this.   A long weekend at work has I suppose helped me in the mindset of being on my feet for long hours, and the heat of the ward certainly is more like the desert than anywhere else I have been of late.

My final few days are mainly going to be spent at work, but they’ve not been without their elements of fun.  I sufficiently stuffed myself with a glorious Sunday roast along with my good friends Lin & Andy and little Albie whom I shall blow hundreds of kisses to from the dunes of the Sahara.  I savoured every drop of gravy, every morsel of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding – a week of dried food and sweet electrolytes really does make you taste everything just that little bit more, even in anticipation…

Today I taught my weekly spin class at the Third Space gym – I intended to simply shout out instructions and coast along myself in order to theoretically “taper” my energy and save it for the desert – but as many of the people who attend my spinning class would say, I’m not very good at simply coasting along and get a tad too involved and so end up doing as I am demanding of the class…and as it is meant to be a level 3 class, after 60 minutes one’s legs feel very similar to jelly, clothes are drenched in sweat and I had nearly lost my voice!  Four of us then headed out to St James’s Park for the Interval Running Class.  This time I did hang back and just make the class do all the work whilst I stood and watched (and occasionally shouted for them to run faster – I don’t have a fierce reputation for nothing after all).

Still to go is a session with Jon, tomorrow morning – hopefully relaxing and not too taxing, (she says with a wry smile!)… And then on Wednesday after work a final physio session with Brett – awesome!

My kit is packed – a tad heavy, but I will attach a photo of this on Wednesday evening, after my final panicked repack and repack!

So many of you have started sending me supportive messages – please keep them coming, they mean so much to me.

Just two days to go…and counting!

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Fantastic new total so far for the Tiyanjane Clinic

Folks you are all amazing.  So far many of you have donated and pledged money to the Tiyanjane Clinic (for details please see my website… and the new total to date is a whopping



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