Marathon des sables

Portraits

Julie WIDDOWSON (GBR)

“It will be fabulous to share this experience! "

Sports coach in a sports hall, triathlon coach, Julie WIDDOWSON has dreamed of the MARATHON DES SABLES for twenty years. And at 47, this British will finally turn her dream into reality: "I first heard about MDS in my early 20s, that is a long time ago now. The final decision to commit came actually during the 2019 MDS as the photography was so compelling as I followed the race live – the landscape, the emotion of the runners, the camp life. That coincided with the sudden death of a friend and the realisation that life can be cut short so suddenly."

Younger, Julie accumulated a lot of sporting experiences, both as a hobby and as a reserve member of the army: "I spent a number of years doing adventure racing – mountain biking, trail running and canoeing a long course. And there were many adventures when I was in the Army Reserves. My main sport recently has been Half Ironman Triathlons – last year I made the age-group podium in all my races and qualified for and went to the World Championships in Nice which was a lot of fun."

But now, the MARATHON DES SABLES is not a triathlon: "On a triathlon it is just one day and you are given ice cold drinks, cold oranges and cold water showers every kilometer plus you get to shower and sleep in a nice bed at the end of that day." So of course like so many others Julie doubts her ability to finish the race: "I have many, many fears about the MDS. I need to believe in myself more. After so many years endurance racing there are definitely entrenched aches and pains I can’t get rid of and they worry me for MDS.  It’s pretty cold training for this in the UK winter so I am also concerned about how my body will respond to the intense heat – I can tire even running in the UK in the summer. I’m worried about missing my family too…"

Julie WIDDOWSON

If Julie admits some fears as for her participation in MDS, she knows that she can count on a very big strong point: "My main strength going into MDS is probably the fact I that I will be there as part of the Walking With The Wounded team. I think the team camaraderie will be amazing. I am part of a 36 strong team coming out to do MDS this year raising money for the charity Walking With The Wounded (WWTW). This charity helps ex-military men and women get back into a meaningful civilian life. Duncan was the first double amputee to complete MDS in 2017. He is coming back to do it again this year as it’s 10 years since his double amputation and also 10 years since WWTW was set up. It will be fabulous to share this experience with Duncan and the other WWTW team members. "

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ALEXANDRA HEINTZ (FRA)

« To return by avoiding all the errors of beginner »

Isabelle JOLY (FRA)

« WHEN WE GIVE, WE RECEIVE »

Abdelaziz BAGHAZZA (D0009-MAR)

A TOUGH GUY !

Rachid EL MORABITY (D0001-MAR)

LAHCEN AHANSAL'S RECORD IN THE CROSSHAIR

Rocio ILDEMARIO (VEN)

Maybe that is why MDS has appealed to me

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