Stuart Wilson Completes the epic Marathon Des Sables raising funds for the hospice

May 2019

Over the last nine months, Stuart Wilson has invested 100s of hours into training to put himself in the best possible position to complete the ‘Toughest Foot Race On Earth’.

Over the six back to back marathons he encountered relentless 40++ degree heat, exfoliating 100 MPH sandstorms, spiders the size of dinner plates, the longest continuous sand stage in MDS history crossing the Sahara’s highest dunes where every two steps forward were followed by one slipping back, and changes in brutal terrain from those resembling lunar landscapes to high mountain passes where he had to use ropes to successfully ascend.

Stuart slept in a ‘tent’ laying on a thin carpet mat with a blanket slung between four freshly cut branches, that was all that was between, him, his fellow runners and the stars. He tells us that 'Most days this would fall down several times in the wind and require us to rise from our slumber and search the local area for boulders to weigh down the corners'.

'We catnapped wearing every piece of clothing we carried, including those we had spent the days running in, such were the freezing night time temperatures. There were no washing facilities, the ‘toilets’ made the very worst festival ones look luxurious and we carried our week’s dried food for the whole 250KM. And it was BRILLIANT!!!!!!!'

'This was down to the extraordinary people who all play their part in making the MDS, not just the toughest, but also the most legendary race in the world. The organisation was seamless and executed with the highest level of military efficiency. 95% of those involved are volunteers and 90% come back year after year. In fact, there is currently a five-year waiting list to join. From the 5.30 AM wake up call, throughout the heat and stress of the day, past the long line of runners queuing outside of ‘Doc. Trotters’ to have their blisters cut away and bandaged, to printing out and delivering the evening emails everyone smiles continuously and exudes positivity. '

Stuart added:

'I have also never come close to experiencing anything like the instant bond formed between every ‘competitor’ taking part. This year’s age range was 16-76 and came from 51 different countries, yet everyone intuitively related to all those around them and were able to immediately tune in and support each other. Due to the extreme demands of the race, everyone had made significant sacrifices to train and were committed to achieving their goal of finishing, but this would never be at the cost of others. No one was ever left behind and I for one probably wouldn’t have made it through the ‘long’ day without the encouragement, friendship and sheer ‘never say die’ attitude of those I ran with whose names I had never previously known but who would just not contemplate failure as an option.

Now back at home I am doing my best to return to the ‘real’ world and would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to my family and especially Nicola who has supported me without question over this protracted period. I understand how tough it has been dealing with an obsessed and selfish individual whose single focus for most of the last year has been a certifiable madcap desert race. Please believe me when I say NEVER AGAIN!'

 

This has been called the toughest challenge on Earth, and you can certainly see why. Thank you, Stuart, for all you have done and put your body through. What an incredible journey you have been on what a wonderful way to raise funds too!

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