Mark Gillett

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Posts Tagged ‘Ian Sharman

James Cracknell’s Marathon des Sables

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James Cracknell – Superhuman?

I first met James at the bivouac on the Marathon des Sables, also known as the MdS. One of my commissions was to supply images for Discovery TV as they were filming James during this years race for a scientific programme analysing how the body reacts under such pressure in the desert heat. I was keen to examine his performance.

Is he superhuman or just a normal human being who is able to achieve the extraordinary? Like athletes Daley Thomson or Jesse Owen, or Richard Branson and Steve Jobs of the business world; these are individuals who found or find it hard to achieve anything less than perfection in their chosen fields.

The Marathon des Sables is a 250km run over some of the harshest terrain the Moroccan Sahara can throw up. It is a stage race where competitors run increasing distances each day until stage 4 which is 82 km long. They have to battle through of sand, mountains, rocks and wadi beds. Stage 5 is an official marathon and finally stage 6 is a mere 20 km but over some of the highest dunes in the world. And that brings them to the end of the race. It is a self sufficient run so James had to carry everything he needed for the 7 days and water was rationed and handed out at checkpoints and at the end of each stage.

The highest ranking Brits prior to this year were the two previous years at 13th. Ian Sharman in 2008 and William Davis in 2009

“I am not a runner and I weigh in at 90kg” James told me. “I will be pleased to finish top 50”. I was a bit sceptical at first as I have run the event and not being a runner and that heavy is incredibly hard going. Most of the top racers weigh in at 65 kilo’s max! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by markgillett

September 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm

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