In our local paper, the Coeur d Alene Press (CDAPress.com) in a story dated 3/12/08, there is a great article about a 3rd grade teacher from Sandpoint, Peggy Gaudet, who is entered in the Marathon des Sables, or the Marathon of the Sands, a 160-odd mile romp through the Sahara Desert in Morocco!
This is a monster… it takes about 7 days, and is a “stage” race, with legs between 20 and 50 miles, with a final 8 mile “sprint.” It is also unsupported except for daily water, so you have to carry your food, gear, tent, etc with you… 20 pounds or more.
The winner for the last 10 years is a Moroccan named Lahcen Ahansel, who completed the course in 18 hours of running time… FYI, this is about 6:50/mile, THROUGH SANDDUNES, CARRYING A 20 LB FRIGGIN’ PACK AND SNAKE BIKE KIT! Oh, and BTW, it’s a trekking race… you orienteer the whole way.
I am going to try to get in touch with Peggy and wish her well for us (the race is in 2 weeks!) and see if she wants to run with us, or at worst, get together to tell her story when it’s all over.
Check out the website at www.darbaroud.com. There is an English version button at the bottom, in case your en francais is nes pas bien.
There are also some cool things in their online “boutik.” The backpack looks great, as does the mesh “flap cap.”