AN endurance runner experienced a range of emotions when he battled the heat and terrain of the Sahara in the 2014 Marathon des Sables.
Scott Kendall, 39, of The Chase, in Findon, finished 101st out of more than 1,000 runners in the gruelling week-long 156-mile footrace in Morocco, which is also known as ‘the toughest footrace on Earth’.
His efforts raised more than £1,000 for Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice.
“The experience was great,” said Scott. “It’s very difficult to describe. I went through a whole range of emotions from elation to isolation, from highs to lows and needing my friends to pull me through.”
Scott buddied up with two other runners and the three supported each other through the duration of the race, finishing side by side.
The longest stretch of the race saw the runners tackle an 81 kilometre route – made up of ‘a lot of ups and downs’, according to Scott.
He finished the distance in 12-and-a-half-hours and returned to the finish line to clap on other competitors who took 33 hours to finish the same stage.
Scott said the mental battle, especially on the longest day, was the hardest part of the event.
“It got up to 48 degrees, the most difficult thing is trying to drag yourself out of tunnel vision.”
The event organisers provided runners with a tent, water and salt tablets. A minimum pack of 6.5kg had to be carried, which consisted of compulsory items including a venom pump, disinfectant, sleeping bag, knife, mirror; at least 14,000 kcal of food and ‘luxury’ items.
After completing the race, Scott visited a school built entirely from the funds raised by the Marathon des Sables. Children were taught sport and language, and their mothers learned French and how to sew.
“The school was really rewarding, it was amazing to see the kids,” he said. “There’s not a lot around for them and if they can’t speak French they can’t get on in Morocco.”
To prepare for the race, Scott ran up to seven days a week and took part in seven, two-hour, heat acclimatisation sessions at Chichester University in the week leading up to his departure.
He will now turn his attention to the South Downs 100 – a single day event covering over 100 miles between Winchester and Eastbourne.
He said: “My training is already there, it seemed daft not to capitalise on that.”
To see a gallery of photos from Scott’s trip, visit www.worthingherald.co.uk