The Marathon des Sables:

Ultra Endurance Running in the Heat of the Sahara


The Marathon des Sables is often claimed to be the toughtest footrace on Earth.  It is a seven-day, multi-stage race in the Moroccan Sahara, during which competitors must carry all their food, clothing and equipment across the ~150-mile course.

The Marathon des Sables was my first excursion into the world of ultra-endurance adventure races.  With a background far removed from endurance fitness, this book catalogues my training, preparation and successful completion of that first great race.  Whilst the subsequent titles on the Jungle Marathon and Yukon Arctic Ultra clearly demonstrate a sort of evolution into a more accomplished ultra-runner, the Marathon des Sables was where it all began.

My training was fairly unrefined at first and the equipment I used during the race was far from the best.  This latest edition has allowed me to put into context all the decisions I made, and within the appendix can be found my true 'desired kit list' for such an event.

As an exercise physiologist, I include references throughout on the adaptations involved in training for an ultra-endurance event.  This culminates in an in-depth analysis of the 'athlete's heart', which is featured in its entirety in the appendix.  This chapter alone should be considered a must-read for anyone preparing to begin training to become an endurance runner.  The Marathon des Sables is an incredible race, described in this book through the eyes of a novice racer, but a novice with an academic background that I think balances well with my natural approach to training and competition.


I give lectures and courses around the UK on subjects relevant to endurance athletes, coaches, personal trainers and therapists.  Details of these can be found here.



The Books


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