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What an adventure


What an adventure

Inspire is delighted to have teamed up with Expat Life magazine to bring you more great content to do with Thailand

Joining a multi-stage running extravaganza underprepared and overpacked.

Running takes you to places. The local park, a nearby trail, exploring the surroundings of a holiday destination or, in this particular instance, a destination race in the middle of the Ica desert in Peru. Not your everyday destination, the organisers of the HMDS – Half Marathon Des Sables – chose a wild, inhospitable, remote location in one of the harshest environments on the planet to stage a four-day self-sufficient footrace.

“Want to join this race?”, the email in my inbox read early November. “…not really”, a sane person’s reaction would be. I had some lingering endorphins from my latest ultra-marathon in beautiful Nan province in my system and as a result, my brain somehow went: “Yeah sure, why not?”

Jumping into the unknown and embracing the experience is what life is all about, right? I emailed back to the organisers who also organise the famous ultra-event through the Sahara desert (the original Marathon des Sables). I told them I would happily join the ‘little brother’ of the iconic MDS race. “But what exactly am I signing up for?”, I asked.

The reply was a light-hearted email stating that this adventure was: “Just four days of fun in the desert with friends and like-minded spirits”. Sounds like fun. “What about the running bit?’ “As for the race distances, it will be around 120km of sand running (think Phuket beach style but just a little bit longer) and self-sufficiency.” Awesome. Wait, what? “Self-sufficiency?”, what does that mean?

Turns out that being self-sufficient means that you pack everything you need for fours days of survival – all your food – and necessities (sleeping bag, change of clothes, toothbrush) and strap it to your back as you are attempting to navigate the desert sand in the blistering heat. I was about to learn a few new lessons…

Giddy with race excitement, I arrived in Lima, Peru on November 30. Spending a day in Lima is no hardship. Beautiful views, amazing people and a fair share of Inca heritage excavation sites. Overnight, we were bussed to the Ica desert, about seven hours south of Lima. When I woke up, civilisation had disappeared.

“We are here”, the bus driver told us cheerfully. And with ‘here’ he apparently meant smack in the middle of an uninviting landscape that resembles the moon’s surface for as far as the eye could see. There was not a tree, plant or even a blade of grass in sight. Nor were there any manmade structures anywhere.

Disorientated and still somewhat jet-lagged, I stumbled off the bus. Moments later I heard the engine of a Peruvian military transport truck approach from behind one of the infinite sand dunes surrounding us. “This truck will take you to the race start, an orange vest-wearing host told us. An hour of forbidding terrain later, we arrived at what would be our camp for the next four days.


Source: Expat Life Thailand

Inspire is delighted to have teamed up with Expat Life magazine to bring you more great content to do with Thailand

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