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Beach holiday anyone? Photo credit: John Bell

Marathon des Sables 2014, a great adventure - Day Two


Last updated: 20-Aug-18

By John Bell

Stage 2: 07/04/14, Znaigierg to Moungarf Wadi, 41 Km

Shoulders ached this morning but otherwise felt great. A day of long, long straight sections covering salt flats, dried up river beds, rocky terrain, stony ground and the inevitable soft sand. Colours were in striking contrast, charcoal grey/black of the rocky plains, orange hue of the sand, white of the dried up lakes and green of the acacia trees. We passed through various ruins and again it was so hot, with no shade other than that provided by our legionnaire hats and sunglasses. P20 factor 50 did an excellent job and the only area to suffer a little was the back of both hands.

Back in Marathon des Sables camp it was amusing to already see the breakdown of normal inhibitions. We were recovering in our tent and swapping stories when a group of three guys walked past and out towards the outskirts of the camp, probably 60 feet or so from where we were. Off came the clothes and they started having a ‘shower’ in full view. Having a wash during the MDS is a complete waste of time and water ration. This was followed relatively quickly by a female competitor who decided to squat for a pee about 20 feet in front of us. Hilarious at first but we quickly became immune to the experience by the time she had completed her third visit to the same patch of sand.

We received the first batch of messages from home, which was a real boost. It is such a lift to receive even the shortest message of encouragement…luckily this time there were no tales of a financial crisis or banks going bust which was a welcome change to our last big adventure in 2008.

There were plenty of competitors struggling today. It got to a point where the organisers raised a blimp (part of the solar panel energy supply provided by iLand), which was lit up to help show the way home. A number of people didn’t get back in until well after dark and others, whilst they eventually made it, failed to complete the distance within the 11-hour cut off time and were disqualified. That must have been soul destroying after the effort it took for them to complete the stage.



Review Marathon des Sables 2014, a great adventure - Day Two

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