From the track to the sand of the Sahara


Hard to imagine a pure track runner participate in MARATHON DES SABLES, and yet! John MAYOCK (GBR) ran at the best international level on 1500m and 5000m. He has represented Britain 60 times as an athlete, and was a finalist at the Olympic Games in 1996, 2000 and 2004. With personal best scores of 3:50 at the mile and 3:31 at 1,500, he remains still in the Top 5 fastest British athletes behind Coe, Cram, Ovett and Farah. Amazing performances!


But from the track to the desert, there is a chasm! John does not approach the MDS like any other race: “I’m very excited to be lucky enough to get the chance to participate.  My two goals are to not arrive with any injuries and then to finish strong each day.”


If he keeps his competitive spirit, John is well aware of the limits he will face on the MDS: “I weigh more than 12kg compared to back in my Olympic days. Plus training is limited due to family and job commitments. Running with a backpack is alien to me as running round a track is light and free! Not sure if this will be fun.” "The sand worries him particularly - “I worried about getting cramp.”


But so far, John is particularly determined, as can an athlete who has experienced the highest level. “I expect I will have the right attitude to push on when it gets tough.“ And then the British can count on his friends from the same company as him, INEOS Petrochemicals: “Three are fit young spring chickens, one is a crazy South African sand lover and the other is an injury prone 50+ wannabe adrenaline junky!”