The youngest son is home from his Marathon Des Sables and largely in one piece. I say 'largely' advisedly:
- Left Foot: 9 blisters. Big toe-nail gone (through blister underneath)
- Left Ankle: Torn Ligaments - very swollen.
- Left Shin: Pulled muscles.
- Left Knee: Inflamed - ITB syndrome (runners knee)
- Right Foot: Numerous blisters.
- Both Feet: Both very pink from iodine dye.
So, apart from being on crutches for a short while, the lad is fine... Tom has a suspected broken bone (stress fracture) in one of his feet and countess blisters as well. Felix lost 6kg in 5 days; a pretty impressive weight loss.
Even though nattily equipped with a Backpackers Club buff, Fe suffered from nosebleeds from the constant irritation of the incredibly fine sand and dust ever present in the air. There were periods of near delirium on the third stage (hardly surprising as it was a day / night run). They ran over huge sand dunes, climbed small rock faces out of valleys, ran though huge areas of ankle turning boulders and ran through temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius.
As for the race: The first day's stage was rained off - and Felix and a few other Brits were left stranded by the French organisers in a flooded camp, sleeping in pools of water and shivering all night. They weren't quite expecting this sort of weather and it took quite a bit of effort to get his down sleeping bag dry again!
So the remaining stages were lengthened and made slightly tougher than usual to make up for it. Wasn't that thoughtful? This meant that the longest stage, stage 3, ended up 93km long. In total he thinks the race ended up 151 miles, over four stages. They allow you two days for the third stage. You have to carry your own gear and food the whole way. The organisers provide tarp tents to sleep under. Fe started out with an all up pack weight of 9kg including the food for six days.
The amazing thing: Fe finished in a respectable 50 hours or so in about 700th place out of 850 or so starters. He thinks he was the youngest Englishman taking part this year and he assures me that there is 'no chance in hell of ever doing it again'.
He & Tom made a video diary and that will be posted onto U-Tube (is that is what it is called) in a week or so's time. As soon as I know where it is I will post details on here. It all makes the TGO Challenge look like a stroll in the park.
Felix would like to thank all those kind people who read this blog who has already sponsored him for Sue Ryder Care. And! If anyone would like to add to his sponsorship out of sheer admiration for the lad's efforts, they can find Felix's 'JustGiving' page HERE