I’m not sure that it’s all that important how a dream is born. That is, if it’s a good dream and it signifies something you want out of life, what’s more important than its roots is that that you seek that dream out -that you chase it with such unbridled passion that you’ll make it your own reality. In doing so, you’ll likely experience many twists and turns — triumphs and defeats — expected outcomes and utter surprises. If you dream of finishing a big race, your dream is often of the finish — not of the long journey to reach the finish line — especially not the months (and even years) of preparation it takes to even reach the starting line. In the end, maybe you’ll get that Finisher’s shirt or medal. Even better though, maybe you’ll make a new friend or experience something that enriches your life in a way that will leave you a different person – or some wonderful combination. The beauty of chasing a dream is that the dream itself is often outcome-focused, but the reality that’s delivered brings some of the most cherished rewards to you.
Today I want to share with you a dream that I’m pursuing. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll share with you the journey to get there and the unexpected rewards that I’m sure the pursuit will bring. The dream is an event some call the toughest footrace in the world. It’s the Marathon des Sables, a 6-day running race across the stunningly-beautiful Sahara Desert in Morocco. The route varies each year, but is typically 145-155 miles (230-250 km) in total. The temperatures variations are wide, from just above freezing at night to 120F (50C) during the day. Competitors run wearing 18-22lb (8-10 kg) backpacks, which are full of all their food for 7 days, a backpack, clothing, and survival gear, such as emergency flares and an anti-venom pump. The only things that the race organizers provide is a daily ration of water, large canvas berber/Saharan-style tents to sleep in, and emergency services.
I’ve dreamed of competing in the Marathon des Sables for many years now. While the extreme nature of the event offers quite a challenge physically, it’s the reported camaraderie that convinced me to finally sign up last summer. Chasing this dream also brings a chance to help raise awareness for a wonderful charitable initiative — more on this in the coming weeks.
The dream becomes reality in April, but the journey is already delivering its bounty. Please feel free to stop by my blog from time to time to learn about what it’s like to train for such an event and to see what surprises I’m sure to experience and lessons I’m sure to learn. I’ll include many brief video updates on the site as well — to capture the training techniques, as well as some of the emotion, drama, and entertainment.
Thanks for reading!
Jeff Grant is the author of Flow State Runner: Activate a Powerful Inner Coach’s Voice, Hill Running: Survive & Thrive, Run Faster: Unlock Your Speed in 8 Weeks, Running Heavy, and UltraRunning: Coach’s Handbook. Based in Switzerland, Jeff is a coach and writer who specializes in mental coaching, peak performance, and transformation. Jeff’s popular newsletter is a digest containing inspirational and instructional resources, including his latest content. See recent issues and subscribe for free here. Refer to Jeff’s bio for more information, and please check out Jeff’s Coach & Author page on Facebook.