Well that was yet another roller coaster year. It started off well with me deep into heavy duty Marathon des Sables (MDS) training. The MDS is 7 days in the desert carrying your own stuff so training involves jogging up and down our local hills with an 8kg back pack.
In early March I took part in my shortest ever event, the local Beausoleil Escaliers Race. It’s quite simply running up about 15 sets of steps in Beausoleil. It’s about 250m long with the end being about 70m higher than the start. In 2017 I completed it in 2m 46s. This time, 6 years later, it took me 3m 6s so I was happy with that. Even happier when I won my age group and received a magnificent trophy (centre of photo) from the Mayor of Beausoleil. Then, a week or so later, disaster struck.
At the end of one of my heavy duty training runs my right hip started to hurt. It felt very similar to the pelvis stress fracture that had mystically happened about 1 year ago during similar training for the 2022 MDS (postponed to 2023 – see The Class of 2022 post). Luckily scans determined it was just a damaged ligament so 6 weeks before the MDS it was feet up and no more training.
Luckily I was almost OK for the MDS at the end of April. It turned out to be a pretty tough event. We started with 8 people in our tent and by the third day we were down to 4. Strangely enough, like in 2017, one of those in my tent was my mate Ben. In the desert I tried to jog but soon felt the tendon again so ended up walking the entire 250km. The 90km overnight stage was the worst as it took me 32 hours. Fortunately the cut off time was 34 hours. However it meant I had almost no recovery time for the next day’s 42km marathon stage. I just made it time. Super happy to finish and receive the “little” medal. You can see my full complicated dramatic video here:
Next event was planned to be the Nice Ironman Triathlon at the end of June. Unfortunately about 2 weeks after the MDS I had a massive cramp in my right calf and afterwards my right foot was totally paralysed. That was really scary. I had all sorts of scans but no real problem found – apart from I couldn’t move my foot. The Nice Ironman was bumped to 2024 and 2 months later my foot was magically fully recovered.
My next event was the Nice Cannes Marathon in November. This was my 15th time making me one of (probably) less than 20 people who have the full set of finisher medals. Later analysis revealed that my split between first 21km and second is almost always 44/56 no matter what the overall time is. You can see the musical video below: A few weeks later my shoulder went stupid with a tendonitis so it has been no sport ever since.