top of page

The Marathon des Sables: Was it mad to go back?

There are many things that we are grateful for at Camino - one of these is the unique and personal relationship that we find ourselves in with our coached athletes - especially when they are facing their fears.

Anna's story is exceptional. It would be difficult for us to even begin to share the ins and outs. If you check one of Anna's last Camino blogs you get a small window into the regular and serious nature of Anna's many operations. The act of running post operation is everything. The sheer determination that Anna expresses to not only run but to return to a podium level of running is where the story is.

Add to the mix Anna's appearance on Netflix's Human Performance Episode 1 where Anna is being pulled from MDS with extreme heat exhaustion and then the programme of training both mentally and physically to get back on that 'camel'!

So Anna asks the question 'Was it mad to go back?' - Only Anna knows - however we know that it was far from an easy. No stone was left unturned in the pursuit of this challenge. So many dramas happened in version 2. Whatever Anna did - we were already so proud of her - we continue to be proud of her x

Anna's MDS Story Mark II:

Two days before I flew out to Morocco I arrived home to find a package had arrived from my friends at Walk Once More – the charity I had bought my place from for the Marathon des Sables. I wasn’t directly fundraising for them, I didn’t even know them personally, I had just given them a small contribution by way of purchasing the place from someone who could no longer take part. The package contained a good luck card, an origami camel, a four leaf clover and some inspirational charms including a couple which said ‘fearless’ and ‘brave’. The kindness and thought that had gone in to it was too much – I had been on the brink of a breakdown for weeks and I just sat down on the sofa and cried my eyes out. The support everyone had been giving me in the lead up to this attempt had been overwhelming and although I know it was only as they wanted me to succeed for my own sake, I was really scared of letting everyone (and myself) down.

I have needed to go back to the Sahara to prove to myself that I could do it, but I had been in peak physical condition in October 2021 – smashing PBs all over the place and with 3 years preparation in the bag – yet I DNFd when my body had just not coped with the conditions. I’m not sure why I thought I should be able to complete the event this year with only 10 weeks consistent training following 18 months of surgery and disruption and a lot of tapering/recovery from four 100 mile races with little training in between. I wasn’t ready, it felt like madness and I panicked.