CONQUERING THE SAHARA ON FOOT
People do marathons for many reasons, but some marathons pin you to your goal and push you past any boundaries you thought might exist, to spit you out the other end a different person.
Marathon Des Sables, 250km of pure personal challenge across the Sahara over seven days, is one of those marathons.
Kate Sanderson was part of this year’s event and along with several other contestants, had to draw on extra inner strength to deal with the gruelling conditions plus her own physical challenges.
Kate suffered extensive burns plus had a foot amputated after a fire during an event in the Kimberleys in 2011.
“Sport and being outdoors was a huge part of my life and I wasn’t going to let my accident take that from me, so I always knew I would be back.”
She competed in several events over the intervening years before deciding she was ready to tackle the Marathon Des Sables.
She had heard great things about Travelling Fit and with the event on her radar, made it a goal. She found Travelling Fit ‘amazing, faultless and first class’.
What drew her to it in particular was that it was gruelling, self-sufficient and a real test of physical and emotional strength.
“I also love deserts and arid scenery; I think it is stunning.”
Was it harder than anticipated?
“Yes it was hard, but I knew it would be and that was the drawcard.”
She struggled with the heat but had anticipated that. She wouldn’t have done the event if it was labelled ‘easy’.
Kate got through with mental strength and having done tough events before, knowing that it was short term pain for long term gain.
Her training regime also helped. She walked and walked for four months, doing lots of hills, kilometres along beaches, through national parks and repeats up and down sand dunes.
She started the training carrying seven kilos and took it up to 10 towards the end.
“At the start, the weight was so taxing but it paid off and I didn’t notice the weight by the time the race came around.”
She also did Bikram Yoga and heat chamber sessions to get ready for the heat, which was between 40 and 50 degrees each day.
While she is happy for people to be inspired by her determination and willingness to achieve her own dreams, she has total belief that anyone can do it.
Of course training is a key but if people put their minds to it they can achieve their goals.
“When you finish a challenging event like that, it gives you confidence and empowers you in so many indescribable ways. ‘The sky’s the limit’ is one saying that is so true when you keep striving to achieve the things that mean something to you, because you realise that anything is possible.”