It’s here – one day until the desert! MDS 2017….

…and how excited am I? Very excited…actually I can’t believe 5 years have been and gone and here I am having a delicious brunch prepared by my lovely mummy, sitting in my kitchen in Cornwall all ready to set off once more to the Sahara Desert!

I said farewell to work colleagues and patients on Tuesday, and was wished “happy holidays” and “good luck”.

I’ve scrambled around Wadebridge gathering the last minute bits of kit/food/stuff that I need to take to the desert.  I’ve been through my kit and rucksack several times…trying to argue the case for every item I am taking, sawing off the handle of my toothbrush to save a couple of grams in weight here, explaining to Mummy what the venom pump is for, and also how I will manage with only one wet wipe per day to clean myself with.  The difference between this time preparing for the desert and the last two times is having Mummy watch me pack my kit.  It’s the look of horror on her face when I say I only need one pair of pants for the whole week that makes it all worthwhile!  We are having a lot of giggles interspersed with her saying every so often “I’m so worried about you, I don’t know why you want to put yourself through it all again!”

And that brings me to you, all my wonderful friends and family, supporters, colleagues old and new, and patients.  You have all been so wonderful in supporting me again, and helping me to raise money for Medecins Sans Frontieres – I am currently nearing £2,000 which is just fantastic, so thank you all so so much – you are all brilliant. If you would like to make a donation please go to 

So, I fly up to London tonight and have the stylish luxury of staying in an airport hotel, as I am on the 7am flight to Ouazuarzat in Morocco.  There are two flights of runners after mine.  All my tent boys are on the second flight (Kevin, Aiden, Mark, Matt & Alastair).  On arrival in Morocco we then have a 5-6 hour bus drive to the bivouac. As first person from my tent to arrive it is my dubious responsibility to bags a good tent! No pressure!  We are fed by the race organisers on Friday evening, and all day on Saturday throughout which we have our admin & medical checks.  And then from Sunday 9th April we are self sufficient relying on whatever delicious nutrition we have deemed calorific and light enough to bring to the desert! MMMMmmmmm! Right now I am indulging on some local toast and mum’s homemade marmalade – and a very fine vintage it is this year!

From Sunday 9th April, when the race starts, you my good supporters will be able to follow the race live on line, and as technology has improved you will be able to follow me closely as I “run” through the desert, and cross each day’s finish line, where there is a web cam to capture those painful moments! Here is some blurb from the race organisers as to how follow me and the race:

My running number is 813

You will want to send supporting emails and track my progress during the race – you can do both of these via the organisers’ website:  and you can pre-register to follow me.

 HOWEVER, none of the facilities will go live until Saturday 8 April, so if you click on it now, you won’t find anything! Once they are live, the instructions are easy to follow. You will need my running number for the email – number 813.  If you have any problems using the site, please call 08444 874064 and speak to Sarah in office hours.

All competitors are issued with a GPS tracker that will allow the staff on the course to track their position, to monitor if they are off course and it also has an SOS facility in the event of emergency. The GPS tracker also allows friends / family to track competitors progress in real-time. You should be aware, however, that on rare occasions the tracker may lose signal or have battery power issues. This is usually a short term issue and should not be a concern for anyone following the race. Runner’s positions are updated approximately every 10 minutes and it is not unusual for a competitors position to remain static for a while….!!!!
Please, please please send me an email during the race – it is a very important part of each day when we receive emails from back home.  I have kept all the messages I received in 2007 and 2012, and it is lovely to reread them and to know that for one week no one in my family did any work at all.  It is moving and nostalgic to read the messages my wonderful daddy sent me, and gives me an idea of what he might send me this time if he were here – although he probably thinks along the same lines as everyone else “bonkers”! 

I will be sending my one email a day to my brother Nick, who will post it here on my blog – so watch this space!

Right – I have to go and pack my rucksack one last time so signing off here and wishing you all lots of love….



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2 responses to “It’s here – one day until the desert! MDS 2017….

  1. James Halfhead

    You said it – BONKERS! Good luck Harry and may you feel the sand between your toes and the wind in your hair. Actually scratch this as it would be mean blisters on feet and sand in your eyes!!! Happy running. Love Jim.

  2. Shona

    Fantastic, exciting and yes you are bonkers.
    Good luck, run well and steady. I will look forward to the updates. Shona xx

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