I was recently talking to a friend of mine (Brigid) wrt her upcoming MDS in Sahara. This will be the 25th anniversary. She has participated in MDS 3 times already and this will be her fourth visit. MDS is the toughest multi stage ultra in the world.
My first question to her was - what has changed between the 1st and the 4th time. Since we are both endurance runners, there is no need to explain the mental toughness, familiarity with course, conditions etc. These were some practical points which stayed with me.... in her words -
"I started with 14 kgs the first time, had half a household on my back - was more than tough. Now I have a new Rucksack which spreads the weight on the back AND the front. I have managed to get incredibly light weight stuff like sleeping bag, matt, clothes for the night and this makes an enormous difference. The emphasis has to be on food. If you have enough food, you can move better. Plus salt tablets to keep the water in your body, managing your water...
I also now have everything I need in absolute mini-portions, as I know now how much stuff, like sun cream, emergency kit, wipes, bandages etc i will need. In addition, by getting a light-weight sleeping bag and matt, I've saved about 1.5 kgs. Plus taking more high-calorie but lighter weight stuff, like parmesan cheese instead of 800 grams of power bars (which I can't eat after a day anyways)........."
Anyway, here's the link to the Marathon des Sables homepage, where you can send email to a competitor from April 4 to 9: www.darbaroud.com
Brigid Wefelnberg, Germany, Bib no. 537
Do try and drop in a line on the dates mentioned above.