Mark Gillett

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Posts Tagged ‘Runners

Marathon des Sables – A Picture Story

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This is a portfolio of the Marathon des Sables 2013… Click the “more” to see all the images.

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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 »

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 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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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

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

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April 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

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

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.

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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 :

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

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 

‘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

Marketing – A bit more for those about to run the MDS…..

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MDS Start Line 2010


…You are about to run the event of your life, or at least most of you are, so don’t be overly worried about ‘stuff’; if your shirt is the right material, has great wicking properties, shoes that support better than any others, or do my gaiters stop all the sand?

It does not matter a whole lot. You need enough food for a week so choose that well and pack it well as you have to carry it. Your shoes are to protect your feet. The best are those you have been wearing for the last 3 years. Read the rest of this entry »

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January 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Its how we spin it…….Be your own spin doctor.

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I love words…. I always have. Even as a young child I remember playing with them. I think most children probably do this. I would put the emphasis on different syllables or letters. Change the tone. Sing them….  I would do anything to see what they sounded like in as many different ways as I could. Then I would notice that the word would often sound silly once I said it more than 5 or 6 times..

What I noticed was that just by small changes in the pronunciation or tone, the effectiveness or even meaning of that word would change and sometimes quite radically. Try saying “I had a great day” in as many different ways as possible and feel the difference. Just say the word “great” in different ways too…. Said sarcastically of course it means the opposite. Said with passion, it comes from the heart. Said blandly it means nothing at all.

When I started coaching Read the rest of this entry »

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January 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

Montane Lakeland 100

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Here are a few images from the Montane Lakeland 100. A great race around the fells of the Lake District.

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July 24, 2010 at 3:53 pm