CleverTouch’s Technical Director .v. The Toughest Footrace on Earth

On 8th April 2016 our Technical Director Tim Mulcare will be taking part in the toughest footrace on Earth, the Marathon Des Sables. The race will involve running roughly 250km across the Sahara Desert over 6 days!! That’s the equivalent of 6 back-to-back marathons in one of the hottest and driest places on the planet. The rules require Tim to be self-sufficient, which means he’ll also be carrying everything he needs to survive except water.

Temperatures can reach 50℃ and the route will take him across 500ft sand dunes, through sandstorms and across mountains. The compulsory kit list also includes a venom pump; apparently snakes and scorpions are another hazard to watch out for…

We caught up with Tim to ask him a few questions ahead of this incredible feat.

“I can’t imagine this is something you can blag, so what has your training regime involved?”

I got a confirmed place in the race at the end of 2014. At this point I ran sporadically, but 10 miles felt like a long way. This obviously had to change.

Since January 2015 I’ve run over 2000 miles, running up enough hills to equal 4 mount Everest’s. I’ve completed 6 ultra marathons and now regularly run 10 miles before breakfast!

My diet has been clean and healthy, including no booze for the whole of 2015 (before a spectacular fall from the wagon on new years eve). I am now 5kg lighter than I was at the start of 2015 and aim to drop another kilo in the next few weeks. Lean and strong is the way to go.

I do a lot of training with a weighted pack (5 – 10kg) to emulate race conditions. My pack should come in at 7-8 kg and get lighter every day as I eat my way through my supplies.

Next week I start acclamation training i.e. training my body to adapt to hot conditions. The ‘pro’ approach to this is to pay large sums of money for sessions in a special heat chamber, which involves running under a heat lamp with a probe up your… well, not such a comfortable place. I’ve opted for the makeshift approach; I bought some heaters on amazon and an old exercise bike on eBay… but I might do without the probe.

“250km in 50℃ heat! You must be petrified?”

I’m not really scared, just nervous and excited. I’ve learned that when you do stuff like this you can bank on experiencing extreme highs and extreme lows from one moment to the next. Once you accept this its not so bad; even in the darkest of moments you can rest assured that there’s a joyful one in the post. I’m only scared of an injury taking me out… and possibly of scorpions crawling into my sleeping bag.

“Do you have any objectives you’re looking to accomplish?”

Just completing it will do me. Although I’ve had a few OK results in the UK there are too many variables here and I’m still a newbie. It’s all about the adventure and experience for me. Aside from crossing the line in one piece, my objective is to stop and savour every single moment. Apart from the really horrible ones. The charity bit is also a big factor.

“What is the charity you are running for?”

Sadly, my friend Dave was diagnosed with cancer over Christmas and passed away in February. An interest in running was something we shared, so it felt right to dedicate sponsorship to a charity of his choice.  His story and memory have become a big source of inspiration for me. So far I’ve raised just over £1000 for Macmillan, but really hope to increase this in the final weeks before I head out.

Wow.

Everyone here at CleverTouch is right behind you Tim! And as part of our commitment to the local community and charity, CleverTouch will be matching £ for £ every contribution that CleverTouch employees make.

To help support Tim’s cause you can donate here https://www.justgiving.com/tim-runs