I learned about the Marathon des Sables about 10 years ago and it fascinated me. The fascination manifested in to a desire to complete it. Like most people life can get in the way of achieving your ambitions and that's what happened to me.

I was told early on that you should tell as many people as you can that you are running the MDS and that you should do it for a charity. Both of these are incentives to see through the commitment and not find an excuse to back out - Best Beginnings is a fantastic charity supporting families during challenging times.

My fundraising target is £8,000 - as this will enable Best Beginnings to support 500 families for a year with Baby Buddy. (£16 a family for Baby Buddy for a year).

I've taken part in sport my whole life and running has always been a passion, but in more recent years exercise took a back seat. I decided last year that I wanted to achieve some of my bucket list ambitions.....the MDS was one of them.
So for the last 10 months I have been spending hour after hour running...a good thing in last years summer heat, not so good this winter at 6am running with a head torch cross country. In total I have run around 3,000km so far to get myself ready.

The race doesn't carry the title of 'the hardest footrace in the world' (not my words) for no reason...it's 250km across the Moroccan desert in April. It's definitely not for the feint hearted.

Read here updates from Matt in Morocco:

Final update

The race was an amazing experience and for me it was a race of 2-halves….the first 3 days were great fun and I am certain that that there were around 100 people that Gavin (my south African buddy that ran every step with me) that knew us by the end of day 3.  We spent time enjoying the experience and talking to as many people as possible.  I think we had gained a reputation of being a bit mad by the end of it!

The long day and the marathon day we pushed on and raced harder and it saw us gain around 200 places on the overall field.  

Remarkably I finished with no blisters and will only lose 3 toe nails.  This might sound bad but some people in my ‘tent’ had their feet (literally) peeling off their feet by the end.  The hours they spent with the doctor getting treatment I spent lying down getting rest!


Day 3

Hi, today was the longest day at 37.5km..guess what..it was hot! Hotter than yesterday. from a terrain perspective it was diverse..some rocky flats, dunes and some river beds. you quickly learn to read the sand and basically dont run where others have, if you can help it. even on te dunes theres a thin crust that stays in tact if you are the first foot print. it makes things 'easier'. i think on average we are using around 5000 caleries per day and taking on something ike 2500. you never feel hungry but you know you could eat more. i'm glad to say my hydration is good (and you know how to check!). also consuming up to 15 salt tablets per day. tomorrow is the long day at 76km and will see us run through part of the night. in a perverse way its the stage im looking forward to the most. it does mean that there wont be an email tomorrow though. were trying to work out our food plan as we arent planning on stopping to cook. might be cold curry! extra water today means a wash tonight! xxx

Day 2

I can only describe today as being like put in an oven at about 100 degrees whilst running up a mountain and being sand blasted...it was damn hot! survived it with a smile on our faces and good foot management is paying off. Some soreness but no blisters. the hardest part is carrying the pack.

Day 1

It was 8.2kg and in theory i should have eaten 1kg of it by now, but it doesnt feel lighter. scenery today was spectacular and involved running through the highest range of dunes in morocco. stunning to admire in between traversing them. our running poles paid off and were worth the additional weight. tomorrow looks a bit more 'standard' but is 5km longer at 42.5km. if i stay positive we have completed more than 30% already. the way that this whole event runs is incredible. you are woken at 6am with your bivouac being taken down (whilst in it) and its setup and ready for you when you get back. well theres a carpet on the floor! now for some lovely freeze dried food for dinner xxx

matt sims