Race Report: 4 Deserts Sahara Race
Written By: Inia Raumati
Day one is over and it was fast! There are some really fast runners here and with a relatively flat course today they went out fast. I got carried away a bit early on a nearly blew a gasget in the later stages. Comedy of errors so far, Sth African airlines left about 30 competitors bags behind and we all had to go out shopping yesterday for race food an electrolytes. My bag curse continues and now I pulled others down with me.
Firstly thanks guys for all the supportive emails, Janene I hope your son is planning his escape to do one. Cheers also to the boys I raced with in 2014 for your support I miss you guys Mark send me your race details to my home email firstname.lastname@example.org and if I can come over I’m in. Today was apparently one of the harder days, a lot of beach costal sand that I hated but once we hit the harder surface of the plains I was away. The body is holding up at the moment but its reminding me that it’s a couple of years older than last time. I need Atul and Brett in my tent though so I can steal tasty snacks. We raced past some old ship wrecks today and past seal colonies that smelt worse than Robs socks. It’ really quite barren here, I did the entire last stage today alone across the plain thinking I could catch the people in front but it was all just a mirage. Got some pretty old sore feet and my back is peeling a bit due to pack friction but I’m otherwise in good spirits. I forgot how much I missed sitting around at night by the fires eating dehydrated meals and listening to the locals sing, if you haven’t done one of these yet you need to and I will help. Hope everyone is safe and well, we saw a jackel this morning and I think one followed me a bit today while I was alone, probably never seen a maori and was wondering what I would taste like if I fell over. All the best, keep safe.
Hey guys loving the emails, especially the ones about being an old, or a fat bastard keep them coming and for the record things did get a bit tooty in the tent last night, 3 days of dehydrated food will do that. We had an awesome night last night as the locals started singing again as I went off to sleep. I wish I had enough energy to get out of the tent but the arthritis had set in. Today was a true desert day as the heat really kicked in and caught a lot of people by surprise. I really struggled with the heat and it upset the stomach to start with but luckily it settled before check point one. The scenery is amazing but harsh with no shade on the course at all, think I drank 4 liters during the middle 10km and was still thirsty. Got my first blister today and will probably lose a couple of toe nails for my effort. My gaiters have failed and the sand is just pouring into my shoes and starting to rub, but she’ll be right. I seem to be creaping up the ranks every day, mainly due to other people struggling with the conditions. I feel like I’m eating more than I do at home especially in terms of carbohydrates and may be the only competitor to put on weight during this run. Today was just a real slog I don’t know how hot it got but I felt like I was cooking. Even when you finish there is no let up from the dry heat, I’m outside in the breeze with no shirt on and its still hot as the wind is coming from the interior. I may have snuck into the top 20 today as I came in 15th I think which was a real shock, the energy levels feel good its just the heat that limits your running ability (and the old age). Remember to check out the Men’s Health Trust NZ website and purchase tickets for the charity breakfast on the 1st of June, a couple of the speakers are really good, and the other one is me.
The daily grind. Wake up at around 0500 when he camp workers and volunteers get up and start singing, laughing or typically making a noise. Hunting around in the dark for your headlamp, trying not to roll onto the person next door. Then its out the tent, shake out your shoes to check for scorpions, head to the fire pits to warm up and get some hot water from the locals who are always smiling so you can rehydrate some meal that never really tastes like it says on the packet. To be fair the Absolute Wilderness scrambled eggs have been going down a treat, followed by a Jeds coffee bag. Then it’s the compulsory line up at the porter loos, which have actually been a treat compared to the hole in the ground of Gobi. Once that’s done its packing up and wondering how you still have so much shit to fit into your pack considering your eating your way through it. The days running starts at 0800 everyday after a race briefing and its already starting to get hot by then. You usually have about 5km before the heat really kicks in then its slog your guts out time. Check points are roughly every 9-12km where you can fill up your water and recently I’ve been drinking a full 2 liters every 10km. The Garmin with its GPS has been gold, as I can judge every km and during the midday heat run 2km then walk 1, which keeps me sain. The Inov-8 pack has been a bit of a disaster, being so light and with no padding it has rubbed something awful, my entire back is pretty much covered in tape and is gonna be a bitch to pull off. The Pics peanut butter slugs have been going down a treat with the tent mates post race each day, but are hard to stomach during the race day heat and I probably should have brought more Goos or easily digestible food shots as unless I can swap some for tomorrow Im gonna run out. My gaiters have failed again and I have resorted to putti g tape across the front of the shoe to keep the sand out which seems to be working. You can see why they shot some of Star Wars here its pretty desolate, barren, hot and quite red in places. I managed to get a few shots on my phone so hopefully they will come out ok if not there is always the race ones to buy. In terms of race strategy at the moment its pretty much all about survival, I really wish I had the mentality to just back off and enjoy the run but I always end up running myself into the ground every day. At the end of each day its collapse, rehydrate, set up your tent space and take care of your feet and air out your race kit before anything else. Visit the medical tent for blister control then a hot cup of oxo cube. Followed by waiting for your tent mates and trying to get your legs raised and stretch before another dehydrated meal at 1730 around the fire, talk some shit and back to that comfy air mattress and listen to the singing. In short eat, sleep, run, repeat and I wouldn’t have it any other way.