My Desert at Last

After a short three hour drive through the desert the tent city appears. I know then that this is a big race, one that I must finish! The essentials of the race are that each competitor must carry all of their food and sleeping gear. In addition to carrying a minimum of 2,000 calories of food each day there is the mandatory gear which is carefully checked by a team of observers as part of the desert t check in process. Among the must gear are a sleeping bag, flashlight, compass, lighter, bacterial disinfectant, a whistle, signal mirror, anti-venom pump and 10 safety pins.

The race support crew supplies emergency flares and at check points along the route furnishes carefully rationed amounts of water sufficient to prevent dehydration but inadequate to wash off the filth and grime for each days arduous competition. Organizers also set up a tent camp each night with each black burlap accommodation fitting about 10 neatly cramped competitors. The tents are not tall enough to stand up in. It is not a problem. We only have to cover 150 miles in six days. I’ll survive.

Walking to a village in nowhere

No Room at the Inn

The big tent housing the Americans was already full. “You’ll have to stay with the Canadians”, a race organizer told me. And normally a tent houses fourteen competitors, ours only had nine. “Don’t, worry there’s another foreigner. He’s Korean”.My tent mates were five fire rescue workers from Montreal, a runner from Toronto, and a young Korean. I was delighted. This was a good group. Alas, I was the oldest in the tent by a long way.

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