Mark Gillett

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Posts Tagged ‘Marathon

Are You An Athlete?

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Street Child Sierra Leone

Each year I provide media for a few races or events around the world. Some of them long and arduous some short and powerful and as the sporting leisure world, or more accurately the business of leisure pursuits, grows I find my self hearing the word athlete along with elite and high performance, being banded around so freely that I was beginning to feel I didn’t understand the definition anymore.. So! On my run today as it was buzzing around in my head I thought I would look it up when I got home and write my thoughts on what an athlete is….

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May 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm

MDS Roundup

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MDS 2013 Roundup

This years MDS was as unique as any. I suppose the only constant is the toughness. There were new faces, returning faces, young faces, and old faces. There were race winners and life winners and those who did not make the end. But without doubt everyone will go home with an experience of a lifetime.

Patrick Bauer's Briefing

Patrick Bauer’s Briefing

Covering the MDS has always been a real pleasure for me. Not because of the race but more for what the desert throws up at us. It strips us back to the raw. Show us who we really are. It then asks us to live it in a way no other environment I have visited has ever achieved. This bit I still cannot explain but if you ever have the privelege to spend time with bedouin, you will find no truer human beings.

I have travelled to deserts for 30 years now. Made private expeditions, taken children across them, many adults to the Middle East Empty Quarter and I have run the MDS as well as returned for the last 7 years to photograph it. It never disappoints.  Read the rest of this entry »

2012 And The Year Ahead…..

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I just came down my stairs this morning full of thoughts about the last year, people I had met and places I had been to.. I wrote to the closest person in my life all these fleeting thoughts to share them… And then I thought I would share a few here…

I have been so lucky for so long even if not always realising it. But one thing I hold dear is the the world we live and the people who make up that world.. In all my travels these last years I have met the most fantastic people in so many parts of the world. This morning I woke to an email form Friends in Yellowstone, a text from the top of Jebel Shams in Oman, a reply about a project in Kampala from a great friend in the US, a message from Madrid where a friend is realising her business dreams and last night I spent time on the phone to AK to sort some of my next project detail with a guy who really has become a great friend too….. Scott.

The last year has seen so many good projects happen but more important are the many relationships I have built along the way.. From the Yukon to the Sahara, Kuwait and Madrid to Cairo and Oman. I met up with my old friend of 28 years ago, Bob Brinker and his wife with a surprise party in Munich.. And I travelled back to another party in Paris of someone very special too…

The above video is just a snap shot of the year we have had making short films.. I have coached a few people around the world too and its been so good to watch their success along the way.. All with so much hard work attached and not always an easy road..

2013 will be another year of coaching and filming projects.. Some carrying on from 2012, some new. But this time next year you will see a different showreel. One that will see our first full length productions come to fruition. One that looks into the lives of some very special people in this world…

I would like to wish everyone who reads my blog, everyone I know or have come into contact with, a great Christmas and a beautiful 2013 and I would like to thank everyone who has worked these projects with me, put up with my grumpy 50 year old bits and given me huge smiles.. In order of projects, Tom, Ariel, Scott, Emily, Rob, Romain, Maite, Brett, Tracey, Becky, Angela, Chloe, Tez, Ines, Teresa, Alfonso, Jaime, All those at Street Child in Seirra Leone and to everyone who has allowed us to film, employed us, been a part of those projects or just simply bumped into us annoying everyone with GoPro’s and DSLR’s… And of course my daughter Emily for letting me be me!

A few more vids are here https://vimeo.com/user11352453

Marathon des Sables 2013 – Stories

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It’s that time of year again when all the MDS runners start to think seriously about what they have signed up for… “have I done enough training”, “Am I doing enough training”, “Oh God, what have I done”…… And so on.

But its a great time to as the next 16 weeks gives you some of your best training opportunities. With time off during the holidays and good food around, running for a few hours in the hills just makes it all such a pleasure.

Everyone who runs the MDS has a story. Some of them may seem quite simple some quite amazing but they are all stories and important to the person they belong to.

I thought I’d post this showreel from last year and also invite any runners with good stories to get in touch… I have a few commissions already but would like to hear your story if you are willing to tell it…  I can help you document it if you need me to… Some I will post here, some I will pitch to the press. Some I will leave… However, they do all matter.

Here is a teaser to keep you going and do a search here for MDS stuff. There is plenty to read under “coaching” Marathon des Sables” “Endurance” and “adventure”

 

 

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November 30, 2012 at 10:47 am

Sierra Leone…

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I finally finished my two Sierra Leone edits… What a joy to do.

Sierra Leone had, for a long time, been one of those destinations I have wanted to reach. I have seen horrendous reports of war, expedition logs from friends, charity banners, all sorts of stuff and I just needed to go to see for myself, and now I am not sure why it took so long….

But even so, when I was asked if I would go my initial response was “no.  Not unless you can find a commission fee.” Because at the time my head was too full, charity was not a priority and I just could afford to do it “on my own dime”… Also, charity in Africa has always been a contentious issue for me so to go and give when I was not willing simply didn’t make sense.

A month went by and SuitCase finished filming and photographing at the Diamond Jubilee in Windsor and I was exhausted…. I wanted a break. A holiday, some time in the sun and without any stress, maybe relaxing on the beach…. I pondered a few destinations, Morocco, LA, Scillies (too cold, though) but nothing grabbed me….  And then on about the third evening of no Jubilee, tapping my fingers or twiddling my thumbs, I called Lewis Alderidge, one of the organisers of the Sierra Leone Marathon.. The person who had called a month or so earlier…. “So! tell me more” was pretty much all I said to him…. Lewis “rabbited” (don’t take offence mate..) on for about 30 minutes but what he didn’t know was that I was sold in the first 15 seconds….

In short, I told him I would go if they found my flight and ground costs and I would provide images and a short 3 minute film for YouTube. I was very clear and said that I couldn’t afford to fund myself and I wanted a break…. Africa sounded like a good idea. Charity was not in my head but if it gave me a week away and I could help them a bit, I was up for it…. [Is that harsh?]

Anyway, he confirmed, booked my ticket and I prepped for it the night before going. Oh apart form the jabs I needed…

In all seriousness I was delighted to be going… I did think I would have a few days photographing the coast which I had read so much about but it turned out differently..  As with all charities they needed to get me everywhere.. To see everything. Film the lot and photograph a gazillion children in school and so on. They needed blood. But then that is what they do well.

As soon as we landed, my visions and memories were quite bluntly yet beautifully taken back 20 years to when I went to Nigeria.. I have visited South Africa and Kenya also but this was different. Raw in every sense. Nothing had changed in 20 years… The airport had its damp musty smell, bars on windows and unpainted walls, masses of people outside waiting to get your bags, take you to the hotel that paid them the most commission, or just stare at you as you walked through the doors to the outside humidity and mass of more people.

I was back in Africa and hadn’t realised how much I had missed it. How much it hit every sense I had. I stood happily for around two hours just waiting to find out where we were going. Stood and watched the organised mayhem that Africa is.

Eventually we were bustled onto three buses and taken to the ferry across to Freetown. Our truck made it on but the big one got stuck at the ramp. Not that anyone was bothered. The shouting began between the driver and boat people. But not in a nasty way. Just the way they discuss this stuff… Who was pushing, who was driving and who was propping up the back wheels to in order to get the bus on the boat…  I photographed it along with everything else I saw… The people on the boat, the runners who had travelled with me for the Marathon. Everyone sweating profusely but just accepting that this is Africa.

Eventually we sailed, beers were consumed and the journey really got underway.

I will leave you there for now and let the videos tell the story….  I thoroughly enjoyed working for this charity and would do it again… Street Child do a great but most importantly and honest job of getting education to kids and kids off the street into families… they gave me back my faith in charity done well…  Kiln who sponsored the race were the perfect match for the event and their runners did a great job in raising lots of needed cash too…

The Sierra Leoneon people are perhaps the most beautiful I have met for a long time.. They have true soul. A happiness we are missing so much in our own youth and a deep beauty I just can’t explain. So go, experience it and love it for what it is… And if you can help the charity, then give a little bit too..

I hope you enjoy the videos.

Drawing a Line in the Sand……

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From Suitcase Media & Productions uploading from the Sahara desert, our final GoPro video of the Marathon des Sables 2012, Stage 6:

I would just like to say a big thank you to the rest of the SMP team – editors Rob Antill, Maite Luque and photographer Romaine Sepulchre, for their collective inspiration, creativity and passion.

Home & Dry!

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A total of 791 competitors today crossed the line of the last stage of the Marathon des Sables 2012, with 4 ‘ranking in progress.’ The fact that 59 runners abandoned the course for reason or another, shows just how tough the conditions were this year. Rain, wind, hail, and lightning; baking temps of nearly 50 degrees C and sand storms – they had it all!

For final rankings visit darbaroud.com.

Written by markgillett

April 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Lia Ditton

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I am now out of the Sahara and I would just like to say a huge thank you to Lia Ditton…  She has blogged, Facebooked and tweeted on my behalf as we only had text (SMS) contact… She has made this years MDS come alive for so many of you with the work we have provided whilst there.. She has been simply a phenomenal member of the team and will continue to post over the next days… Thank you Lia. X

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April 15, 2012 at 1:26 am

GoPro VIDEO OF THE DAY, Woo-hoo!

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This film by the ‘Marathon des Sables’ media team was chosen as the GoPro VIDEO OF THE DAY, receiving 1346+ likes last counted & reaching an audience of 2 million GoPro fans!!!

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April 15, 2012 at 12:28 am

Another One Bites the Dust…

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As camp Marathon des Sables packs up for another year, both runners and volunteers are en route back to Ouarzazate.

For a showreel of the highs and lows and a slideshow finale of those special, finish-line-crossing moments, check back in a couple of hours. While the images and footage upload, I leave you with a poem.


Westward Bound
, by Jon Blais, the ALS Warrier Poet

Live…
More than your neighbours.
Unleash youself upon the world and go places.
Go now.
Giggle, no, laugh.
No…stay out past dark,
And bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are.
Understand that this is not a dress reheasrsal.
This is it…your life.
Face your fears and live your dreams.
Take it in.
Yes, every chance you get…
Come close.
And, by all means, whatever you do…
Get it on film.

Written by markgillett

April 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm

From Morocco With Love

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The British are known for their charity causes like Children In Need and Red Nose Day, where millions of pounds are pledged. This week I have witnessed something more than charity: giving from the soul.

Two years ago a team entered the MDS and pulled the length of the course, a specifically designed wheel chair that seated one of four handicapped children from their home town of Vannes. The children would take turns in the chair, while ten Pompiers (fire-fighting paramedics) rotated to pull the chair. This edition the Pompiers returned.

What they do for these children is simply phenomenal. They do not raise money, they do not run a charity. They just come to the desert, bringing the children and the chariot. They give four children an experience they wouldn’t otherwise have.

I am left here in the press tent full of emotion, having just watched them cross the finish line of the Marathon Stage 5. When they finish tomorrow, as it was two years ago, there will not be a dry eye on the finish line. These men are true givers, giving more than money can buy.

I leave you with a video-roll of messages, from runners to their friends and families at home.
 

Written by markgillett

April 13, 2012 at 11:31 pm

‘Only’ One + A Half Marathons to go…!

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As the road book for the penultimate Stage 5 becomes available and competitors contemplate running some more, several reflect on the longest (and arguably the hardest) stage so far…
 

Stage 4 recapped in GoPro HD:
 

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April 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm

MdS Runners & Home Viewers: A Pole Apart

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Face time with the competitors of the Marathon des Sables 2012.

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April 13, 2012 at 1:33 am

In Pictures… Before, During + After the longest day (Stage 4)

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Click a pic to engage slideshow.

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April 13, 2012 at 12:42 am

Runners share their Highs + Lows –

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Nobody at the beginning thought that it would be possible to run with a pack and the expedition aspect was an extra bonus. You need to manage calories, hydration, your effort, your rest, your recovery and I think it’s all these elements that make the event so special. It’s the concept, the cocktail of the desert, the running and the self sufficiency that create the success of the event.

- Race director Patrick Bauer talking to TalkUltra (Episode 5 MDS Part One)

A selection of runner’s share their experience at the end of day 3. Footage shot using multiple GoPro Hero cameras:

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April 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

They’re Going The Distance!

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STAGE 4  of the Marathon des Sables 2012 :
EL MAHARCH / JEBEL EL MRAÏER: 81.5 Km

Today is the dreaded long day.

At 8am the humidity was 20%, temperature: 23°C.
By 11am the humidity was 19%, but the temperature up to 29°C.
Number of runners on the start line: 821.

Meanwhile, 180 tents are being dismantled, transported and set-up by the volunteers needed to move them. The logistics are awe-inspiring! The traveling circus of the MdS is captured in this behind-the-scenes film by Suitcase Media & Productions:

Blog title inspired by the song The Distance, by the band CAKE.

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April 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm

It’s hot in hell, but it’s a dry heat.

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There is nothing like a trip to the desert to remind you of the precious commodity that is: water.
What we all wouldn’t do for a shower!

From camels to ruins; blisters to smiles, this video aimed to captured what is, after all a human experience.

Watch out for the dung beetle!

Written by markgillett

April 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

The Desert Runners – Interviews with Competitors of the MdS 2012

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“It’s a hot, hot, hot day out here and another incredibly windy afternoon! Whether you’re an athlete in camp or out on the course, the waves of sand the wind pelts you with are a major challenge. At present, visibility is about a half-mile because of the sand, which has totally blocked the sunshine. Race officials report today’s high as « just under » 50 degrees C!

Stage 2 was 38.5 kilometers and featured complete flatness. First it was rocky sand, then a series of low dunes, then a long, white, salt flat; then a riparian* zone containing residual water and mud from last week’s weather and finally, another five or so kilometers of dunes to the finish. (* Riparian Zone: the interface between land and a river or stream, Wikipedia)

The race administration notes 20 drops from today’s stage, which is very high, considering that in the past only 20 people in total have dropped out of the entire event. The race administration says that heat was the day’s limiting factor for many.” – Meghan Hicks, currently 5th in the women’s race, writing for irunfar.com 

‘It was a hell!’

‘I think today er, is better than yesterday!’

Mark Gillett interviews runners from different nationalities and shows us that while bodies may be sore and feet blistering, the competitors still have their sense of humour in tact!

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April 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

‘Marathon des Sables:’ Desert Run, Day 1!

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The ‘Marathon des Sables 2012′ starts this morning with 1013 competitors from 46 different countries around the world; from Chile and Mexico to New Zealand, to the Ukraine, Jordan and Japan!

“Today’s course featured a series of low dunettes, two jebels*, and several black-rock regs. Though the distance was a bearable one, the terrain made for the greatest challenge. After several days of mild desert weather, the heat and aridity are now back. Thermometers on course reportedly hit 40 degrees C (104F) and the race administration reported that between five and ten runners had dropped out of the race.” – Meghan Hicks, runner

*A jebel is a fairly flexible word that can mean either hill or mountain.The plural is actually jibal, although they’re known as jebels to most western Europeans. (Definition from Saudi Aramco World)

The film/s du jour were shot in GoPro splenti-colour, as a Suitcase Media Production.

E voilà:

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April 9, 2012 at 10:50 am

GoPro Sahara!

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Experience the Marathon des Sables 2012 in film!

The UK to Moroccan bivouac #1 in trippy timelapse…
 

 
And beamed via satellite from the Sahara, the check-in day where competitors enjoy their last big “feed” while kit is weighed and inspected by the race organizers.
 

Check back tonight for the next installment!

Written by markgillett

April 8, 2012 at 10:58 am

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