Seven-day Sahara marathon was ‘life-altering’

Jeanne Posey PNL-140617-164216001
Jeanne Posey PNL-140617-164216001

A woman who has completed the world’s toughest marathon, across the Sahara desert, said it was was “a life-altering experience”.

Jeanne Posey, from Canada, who is a law student at the University of Buckingham, recently competed in the week-long Marathon des Sables, a 240km ultra-marathon – the equivalent of six marathons.

Jeanne Posey PNL-140618-094833001

Jeanne Posey PNL-140618-094833001

Incredibly Jeanne, who is president of the University of Buckingham Running Club, relished the prospect.

She said: “I decided to take part just for personal enjoyment. Running is my passion.”

And she added: “It was surprisingly a great experience for the amount of suffering that was involved.”

She received extra training from running club head, Prof Bob Watt.

Jeanne said: “We met every Sunday at 7am for a 21km run before meeting up with the running club at 9am for a further 20km run”

She also used a sauna for a couple of hours to prepare for the hot climate.

“I had a lot of support from family and friends who came over from Canada to support me,” she said.

After arriving in Morocco, Jeanne was transported to base camp in the desert.

“It was in the middle of nowhere,” she said.

Jeanne, who lives in Buckingham, received helpful advice from her fellow runners.

“It was a really supportive environment,” she said: “Everyone was very kind and really encouraging.”

And she explained: “It’s a self-sufficient race. You have to carry your own food and equipment for seven days.

“We were subjected to temperatures reaching 51⁰C.

“I used 11 litres of water a day to stay hydrated and my feet blistered, which slowed me down.”

Sheer determination kept her going and her family and friends were waiting for her as she crossed the finish line – the 620th out of 1,047 competitors to do so.

“I wanted to come back and say I had finished the race,” she said.

“It was very exciting, but at the same time I was sad that the journey was over.”

A glutton for punishment, Jeanne now plans to run two more marathons in Canada – and has already registered to do the Marathon des Sables again next year.

She said: “It was such a life-altering experience to push your body far beyond the limits you set for yourself and prove to yourself day after day that you are capable of much more than you think.”