Mark Gillett

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Archive for the ‘Expeditions’ Category

Trans Atlas Marathon Videos

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Stage 1

Faces of The Race

Its more than just the runners…

Mad In Marrakech

 

Written by markgillett

June 15, 2014 at 9:56 am

Trans Atlas Marathon Winners

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The Trans Atlas Marathon has been a truly beautiful experience from every perspective. The mix of the best Moroccan runners, some European runners, small Atlas villages, local people working the race and fantastic “tough race” conditions has culminated in a brilliant last stage. It set out from the village of Siti Fatma deep in the valley and took the following brutal profile.

6 etapa TAM 2014As you can see, its no walk in the park as with any of the stages. I will post the profiles of the previous days later in this article.

Trans Atlas Marathon 2014

Ali Naciri

 

The lead mens runner Ali Naciri by this stage was always going to win barring a major accident and he rolled home in Imlil in 32h57 for the 280km to cheers as he came down the street packed with residence cheering on their local heroes. He was followed closely by Samir Akhdar a regular at the MDS.

Winning lady was the incredible Aziza Raji, in 39h52. Aziza is a marathon runner of 2h 50 and the hills just never seemed to affect her. What a great competitor and role model for other Moroccan women. Another female competitor, Aicha Mrabet-Bensalah who ran her first race ever also completed. Half Moroccan half swiss, she came in at the end of the day to massive cheers and admiration for a truly brave and well run race.

Aziz Raji, Womens Winner

Aziz Raji, Womens Winner

The final stage of the event is a stand alone Marathon stage as well as being part of the Ultra. This allows other locals to enter without the fear of a huge first race or simply just to run a marathon. This years race was won by 2014 Marathon des Sables winner Rachid El Mourabity in 4h 46.

To summarise, as a new race I can only say good things about the Trans Atlas Marathon. I think it will grow fast but it will also be restricted in terms of numbers to keep the atmosphere that makes it so special. Sign up now if you are tempted. www.transatlasmarathon.com

Mens Results: 1st – Ali Naciri (Maroc) 32h57, 2nd – Samir Akhdar (Maroc) 34h40, 3rd – Smayri Rachid (Maroc)

Womens Results: 1st – Aziza Raji (Maroc) 39h52, 2nd – Magdalena Martini (Ger) 48h32, 3rd – AichaM’rabet-Bens (Maroc) 61h54

42K Results: 1st – Rachid Mourabity 4h46, 2nd – Abderahim Goumissa 5h02, 3rd – Abdeallah Ait Tazert 5h14

Team Winner UVU.

Here is a portfolio of the final stage to browse through.

Other stage profiles

Stage 1

1 etapa TAM 2014

Stage 2

2 etapa TAM 2014

Stage 3

3 etapa TAM 2014

Stage 4

4 etapa TAM 2014

Stage 5

5 etapa TAM 2014

As you can see, some pretty awesome days! Enter now.

Written by markgillett

June 15, 2014 at 8:04 am

Trans Atlas Marathon

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Last night I arrived in Morocco for the first time in just over a year. The last time was to shoot for the Marathon Des Sables but I am here this year for a new race, The Trans Atlas Marathon. Travelling and filming with Chris O’Conner of CojoFilms, We were greeted by Mohamad Ahansal. The last time I saw him was winning the 2013 MDS. Since then he and his brother Lahcen have set up their own race and, wow! What a course this seems to be…. Read the rest of this entry »

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June 10, 2014 at 10:21 am

Yukon Quest 2014 (or #yq2014 for those who speak in hash tags…)

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It finally got underway this morning with an on-time start of 11am. Snow was trucked in for the street start which was moved from the river last minute for safety reasons.. What an exercise! And the efficiency and organisation of this race is just incredible.

Once the mushers left by noon we hopped off and edited a few shots and then drove to Pleasant Valley Stores in Two Rivers – Such great names! – and we are now at the checkpoint editing, writing and uploading more stuff… You can find us on my Facebook, The Yukon Quest Official Facebook or probably just about anywhere to do with dogs on the internet.. Just search or hash tag search #yq2014

Here is a small gallery of shots from our arrival in Fairbanks.

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February 2, 2014 at 4:16 am

The Yukon Quest

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I have never seen the moon as in I did in Yukon

I have never seen the moon as in I did in Yukon

I find myself back in the Yukon having said I would probably miss this year. Its now the 5th year I’ve ventured and more and more the North seems to suck me back into the wilderness and beauty that it exudes.

The team this year is myself, Tom Barber and Heidi McGuire. Tom has been with me the last three trips I’ve made and Heidi I met in 2009 on the YAU. I can’t imagine better people to work with and combined with the OTC team and Yukon Quest team, I am really looking forward to the next two weeks of trail, fun, tiredness and usual battles to get the job done.

Yukon Quest 2012, Day3

The Thinking Musher

Already the curveballs have started and the main one has been the weather. The heaviest snow the Yukon has seen for years has all but been discarded by the spring like temperatures of the last week or so. The roads are near clear and the trail is very different. But this does not hold the Quest back. In fact it probably enhances it. Teams will have to be at their best to win this year. Now that the temperatures have fallen again, there will be ice, and possibly overflow. All great stuff for the thinking musher!

Its these conditions or changing conditions that make this such a great race. Like some of the desert stuff I cover, it can be very unpredictable, very demanding and a great challenge. If it were the same each year, how easy that would be to calculate? How boring would it be to follow? The North will always have its say whatever.

We drive up to Fairbanks tomorrow and a few nights of functions before the action start and then we set off back to Whitehorse. We will be posting videos and images along the route and your participation is vital. Comments, posts, opinions (not to strong of course) and questions on Facebook and Twitter.

Yukon Quest

My favourite

Give us your thoughts on who you want to win, or if you don’t mind.. Our stories will be unique as they always are as the trail will, Im sure, give us plenty to talk about.  Can Hugh Neff do it again or will Allen Moore pip him to the post. Or will we have a new winner this year? Will Normand be the darling of the race? Or will that go back to Brent Sass again.. Is it Brent’s year to hold that trophy?

Well, by the 10th Feb we should know the answers to those questions so here’s to the Yukon Quest 2014. Im toasting with a glass of red in the High Country Inn, Whitehorse!

See you on the trail

Marathon Des Sables Time

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MDS Dunes

The Desert – Somewhere to Enjoy

I am sure there are many of you out there starting to get a little nervous about your last 12 weeks before the start of your MDS. I know exactly where you are at so just keep believing and training up to departure. Remember that tapering is no use, gathering calories does not work, go light, pack light and take the food you need. You have everything else to succeed and no reason to fail. You have water, shelter and food. The rest is in your head! Here is a little piece just published.. Good luck!!

http://www.sidetracked.com/marathon-des-sables/

Mark

Written by markgillett

January 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Big Ask!

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OX1A9242

Some of you will have read about YES 2014. Its a part of what I do and I give my time for six months to hopefully make a difference to 12 young peoples lives. I can’t do it regularly because its all consuming and I do not want tomake business out of it. The cost for 12 children to go is around £40,000 and I am reaching out to anyone who might be able help. Very soon we will have a giving page but in the mean time I am looking for one or two people who might like to underwrite this in its entirety. I meet many people who could afford this but the key to wanting to help is, if you feel a connection to helping? Basically the youth today are the future and will be here long after we are gone.. They will be making decisions that will correct a lot of what we have done wrong in our time. This is why its close to me. Please read the info on our FB page, share it or send to someone who might help. If you want more information please private message me.

Or call me on +447973 690087

https://www.facebook.com/pages/YES-2014/697106353641124

Written by markgillett

December 5, 2013 at 10:45 am

Youth Expedition 2014

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OX1A9491-1We have now set up the third YES expedition which will take place in 2014. Its been on the boil for a couple of years now and because of the success of the first two, I have been keen to run another.

There is a difference this time in that we are not solely working with bereaved youths or charities. We are now reaching out to any young person who might have a history or that has experienced a disruptive development or teenage years, no matter what. There are so many young people today affected by environment, parents, divorce, food, drugs, gangs, you name it, its out there. We live in a world that throws so much crap at us from an early age and then tries to make us feel better with a few gadgets and toys.. YES is a whole lot more that. It offers its participants the chance to get away from the environment they are currently in. It throws some huge challenges along the way and most importantly the desert does its “stuff” and gives us all a chance to reset. A little like re formatting your hard drive, re installing the operating software and then getting on with work.. Only YES is in a life sense.OX1A9242

Go to our Facebook page to find out more and if you really are interested, contact me through any of these platforms for an initial chat.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/YES-2014/697106353641124

Twitter @YESDESERT2014

 

Marathon des Sables 2013

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This is now my 7th Marathon des Sables and as usual it was very unique. The format was slightly changed which disturbed a few people but I think this will settle down soon and people will accept it in its new form. But this was just a tiny part of the MDS. What really makes this race is the people and the colour they bring each year. The emotions were running fully from start to end.

Stage 2 was one of the toughest I have seen for a while and the heat really kicked in from stage 3 reach the high forties in the sun. Sometimes fifties. The race provided many faces as usual. Some of sheer pain and some of sheer joy but all full of a human’s most powerful emotions.

As a photographer this year I was extremely busy but no more or less than normal. We could not get out much during the race but over the next few days I will be able to catch up with some specific stories, write my press articles and get back in touch with some of those beautiful times of the last 7 days.

If this is a race that is in your mind to do, dont hold back. Go to http://www.marathondessables.co.uk and sign up. I believe anyone can do this race but there has to be a want.

Here are a few images from the week..

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Toughest Race Yukon Quest?

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This is now my fourth year in the Yukon since 2009… I first came for the Yukon Arctic Ultra which starts a day behind the Quest and runs the same trail.. Its a very tough event and competitors really put themselves through a lot of pain. A real endurance event. I have run in marathons everywhere and also the Marathon des Sables in 2006… Of everything I have done, the Marathon of 26 miles is still by far the toughest. The MDS which is 250km in the Sahara was different.. Certainly tough but also a great laugh and I had a great time… So the nearest description I can find for that is a “running holiday” However, a marathon of 26 miles is certainly not that and its far more painful with an indescribable intensity in the training and the race…

Read the rest of this entry »

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February 4, 2013 at 6:17 am

The 1000 Mile Yukon Quest Starts

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http://on.fb.me/12jgTbH

The Quest finally got underway today and it was warmer than any year I have attended… Out car read 1 degree on the way to Braeburn.

Here are a few photos and I will blog post stories as they emerge.. For today it was just important to get the first images out. We are now at Braeburn editing, posting and creating our first short video for the race….. The first mushers are due in around 11pm so it could be a long night… Posts coming…

Written by markgillett

February 3, 2013 at 2:40 am

Oman, Truly Raw.

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We are all now back from Oman and the filming project. New Year has passed and the tree will come down this weekend. We also have a puppy to collect! ha…

This last week in Muscat and nearby places has been more beautiful than I could have imagined. The work element was just a privilege and over the next two weeks you will see some of the work released. Other bits you unfortunately will not see but I can assure you it was very special and very beautiful.

But as usual it was not the work or place, alone that made it so special but the people who I was with, met and reunited with that gave me so many memories that photography and filming can never do justice to to. I have always advocated that a photographer does not need a camera or video. Its more about what you “notice” and not what you see or capture.. The camera is just a tool to share that beauty.

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Emily and Becky

My daughter was blown away. A little scared at first when we wandered the souk for the staring eyes unsettled her. But not for long as we talked to shopkeepers and photographed our way with ease. She began to relax until we had a chai in a shop that maybe alone she would not have dreamt of entering…. I chatted to two Bangladeshi men who were delightful and we ordered some bites to eat. More and more Emily and her friend Becky could see the peace and respect that the people had for each other as well as themselves. How friendly everyone is. But also how the staring is merely an inquisitive nature that we all possess when presented with something so different before our eyes…

We met with some old friends who hosted us one evening…… This was one of my most memorable times this last week.

CT3A0529

Royal Race Day – Backstage

Our filming also allowed us many privileges. We filmed horses running in the sea at sunrise, rehearsals of the Royal Cavalry for the Royal Race Day and were permitted access to a different part of Oman. A part equally beautiful, and equally friendly and trusting. Read the rest of this entry »

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January 4, 2013 at 9:05 am

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

Cairo Ramblings Continued

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My time in Cairo has come to an end. I spent my last day wandering the city again. I have to say I had no desire to visit some of the sights that I perhaps should have but the real city life is what I wanted to see.

I caught my bus to the centre, got a short taxi ride, then walked most of the day. I found myself never going more than a kilometre or so before stopping for a tea, or shwarma.

Streets of Hussein Azhar

Streets of Hussein Azhar

I then found myself talking to some great people…

One shopkeeper told me how slow the business is right now. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by markgillett

December 14, 2012 at 12:46 am

Cairo Ramblings

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If I were going to LA people would say, “have a good time”, When I told people I was coming to Cairo they said “Stay safe!” however is LA I would fear being out alone after dark, being shot, raped or mugged, and would have a hell of a time at the Airport. Cairo? Read on……

Now I know you cant judge a country on a few hours but I have…I’ve now reached 50, so I can. Ha!

Its all a bit surreal.. tired and back in the Middle East but North Africa this time… I arrived in Cairo by bus from Sharm. The road was fast and the journey so easy. One stop for food and one for a police check, nod off and wake up in Cairo.

On the flight I spoke to two passengers next to me who asked where I was going.. when I told them Cairo, their immediate reaction was “oh? thats off limits. No flights in or out”. I couldn’t believe that they had heard the Foreign Office had stopped flights.. My bus was pretty full and everyone was friendly.. Asked where I was going and helped if they could..I paid my €8.

Read the rest of this entry »

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December 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

Winter Workshop, Yukon Alaska

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I have never seen the moon as in I did in Yukon

I have never seen the moon as in I did in Yukon

Take a look and get in touch if you are interested.. I will write some more about it from Cairo!

http://junglemoon.co.uk/AlaskaYukonWorkshop

Written by markgillett

December 7, 2012 at 7:33 am

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”

 

 

Written by markgillett

November 30, 2012 at 10:47 am

SuitCase Media

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I finally put together our first showcase representing our first 8 months of filming projects and looking through the footage was such a pleasure.

I also learned a lot about what SuitCase Media is all about. Yes, we travel, yes we take some great imagery in some fantastic locations and get to make this into short films. We manage to pack all our kit into normal travel bags without the need for 20 Peli-cases of cameras, rigs and equipment – hence the brand SuitCase. We also manage all sorts of projects from large and extreme events to small business web videos to advertising shorts…. But the overriding theme behind all our films is ordinary people. Cooks, runners, extreme sportsmen, pilots, therapists, dancers, organisers, military but mainly ordinary people who have a story or are part of a story.

Take a look at our last 8 months work visit our Vimeo portfolio to see some individual event films we have made and if you have a story to be told or commercial proposition please let us know. We are simple, unique and love people…..

Mark

Written by markgillett

September 9, 2012 at 11:33 am

African Safari DSLR Workshop Link

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Here is the link to the African Safari Workshop… It really is a unique poortunity to join Rebecca and myself in South Africa.

http://rebeccahartmedia.photodeck.com/safari-workshops#

Written by markgillett

July 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm

African Safari DSLR and GoPro Workshop

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I have now finalised the African Safari DSLR workshop thanks to Rebecca Hart who worked so hard to pull together much of the information for the trip.

We will work together on personal filming projects and are inviting participants to join us, work alongside and learn from the workshop sessions between game drives and bush walks that I will deliver during the time on Safari.

All the details are in this document – African Safari Workshop – so please contact me/us if you are interested in joining the trip.