Adam Share is the Chief Executive of RED Industries. He will be spending 6 days running across one of the world’s most of inhospitable environments – the Sahara Desert.  The ultramarathon is 156 miles long across sand dunes, salt plains and steep rocks in the baking sun where temperatures regularly reach 50°C.

All to raise money for The Donna Louise Trust.

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About the MdS

my-journey

8th March 2017


Unfortunately I have had to postpone my MdS challenge. 

As those of you who know me or have been reading my blog, I’ve been suffering with pain in my heel and leg for months.  I’ve been trying to push through but it’s meant I’ve been unable to run properly without significant pain and days of hobbling afterwards!  I’ve been to see a physio, been doing leg exercises, have tried supports and braces, but nothing so far has helped. 

I’ve now been for an MRI scan on my heel and it’s revealed that I have Achilles Tendinitis.  This is inflammation of the Achilles tendon – in my case, the damaged tendon fibres have calcified, leading to bone spurs on the back of my heel.  Achilles Tendinitis isn’t related to a specific injury, but results from repeated stress to the tendon which could have built up over years.   The symptoms I’m getting are significant pain and stiffness in the back of my leg and heel – the pain worsens with exercise and any attempt at running results in severe pain over the following days.  Until this is treated, there is no way I could safely complete the MdS.

I will be going back to the doctors for further review and so they can assess the best treatment option.  The options are likely to be either shockwave therapy to stimulate the healing process in the damaged tendon and breakdown the calcified areas, or surgery.  Even in the best case scenario, I won’t be doing any running for the next 3 months.  If I need to have surgery, I could be recovering for more than 12 months.  Hopefully it won’t come to that, but I need to wait and see what the doctor recommends.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me so far. 

The Donna Louise is a fantastic charity offering much needed support and services to children with life limiting conditions and their family.   They remain the charity of choice for my company, RED Industries, and we will be continuing to raise money for them throughout the year.

Virgin Money

23rd January 2017


This week I’m at an intense training camp in Lanzarote.

Here are just a couple of pictures from the week so far, taken by Ian Corless.  Read the 2017 training camp diary here.

17th January 2017


I am heading off to the Lanzarote Training Camp this week.  The camp will provide me with practical experience and training to help me to prepare for the MdS.  It will allow me to test out my equipment, learn practical skills for coping with running in the desert, and evaluate my injury with some distance running.

Lanzarote has terrain similar to what I will experience in the Sahara Desert, so it should give me a good understanding of what the MdS will be like.  Sondre Amdahl (placed in top ten overall at the MdS 2016) and Elisabet Barnes (MdS 2015 ladies champion) will be at the camp providing help and advice on training, kit, food and making it successfully through the ultramarathon.  They know exactly what it takes to get through and finish the MdS, so their advice will be invaluable to me.

Running across different terrains and sleeping outside will be a good opportunity for me to identify any problems with my equipment or food etc., so that I can learn from my mistakes now rather than in the event itself.  It’s going to be a challenging week, but I’m looking forward to it – there’s no better place for me to train and prepare for the MdS.

My itinerary for the week is:

Friday 20th – Flat run along mixed terrain (sand, lava and rocks) with a volcano climb.  Followed by a training session on hydration and foot care.

 Saturday 21st – Coastal run over mixed terrain including some scrambling.   Followed by a talk on how to prepare for the race and what the MdS is like.

Sunday 22nd – Long walk/ run across terrain similar to what I’ll experience in the MdS.  Followed by a training talk in the afternoon regarding rucksacks and what to pack.  Finished with a 40min run.  There will also be an evening run with head torches.

Monday 23rd –  Morning training session.  In the afternoon, we’ll be setting off for a night outside – a 3-4hour hike, followed by sleeping outdoors to test sleeping bag, cooking options, clothing etc., then a 7am depart back to base.

Tuesday 24th – Return to base in the morning from the bivouac.  Followed by a debrief in the afternoon.

Wednesday 25th – Sand dune familiarisation run.  Followed by a talk on nutrition and how to stay self sufficient during the race.  Finished off with a coastal run.

I’m still training almost everyday – mostly swimming and cycling.  I’ve been doing a couple of runs, although my injury has meant that I’ve not been running as often or as far as I would like.  This training camp will be a good test of whether I will be able to complete the MdS with my injury as it is now.

To give you an idea of the training camp and what I’ll be doing, you can read last year’s training camp diary.

Please give generously.

adam

 

23rd December 2016


I’m still experiencing pain in my foot from the plantar fasciiitis, which has meant that I’ve not been able to get out running for the past couple of weeks.    I’m still doing stretches every day and I’ve also been wearing a support boot.  The boot is supposed to hold my foot at a specific angle to help the plantar fascia to heal in a stretched (rather than shortened) position.  If this doesn’t help, the next course of treatment is cortisone injections.

The Marathon des Sables is only 15 weeks away – so despite being in pain, I need to keep training as I can’t afford to sit back and take it easy.  It’s so frustrating that my injury has not allowed me to get out running the past couple of weeks.  Although I haven’t run as much as I would like during December, during 2016 I’ve ran 1,400km, cycled 5,800 km and swam 122km, which I would hope to give me a good fitness base for the next 3 months of training.

As we move into 2017, I would like to be injury free so I can start to ramp up my training.  In January I’ll be doing an MdS test camp in Lanzarote with former winner Elisabet Barnes, and I need my foot to be less painful than it is now so I can actually run on it!

Looking back on 2016, I’ve completed the London and Berlin marathons.  I raised over £3.5k last year for the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, but my target for next year is to more than double this.  The Donna Louise provides a much needed service to families of children with life limiting conditions, and my goal is to raise £10,000 for the charity next year.  The MdS is more extreme than anything I’ve taken on before, so I hope it will inspire people to give generously.

The below video gives you an idea of why the MdS is the toughest footrace on earth!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHNXh-ybQbo&t=2s

Please give generously.

adam

 

 

madrid-to-moscow

In 2016, I’ve covered the same distance as Madrid to Moscow… and back again!

5th December 2016


To keep pushing myself, I am doing the December running challenge.  1st December (day 1) was 1 mile, 2nd December was 2 miles and so on.  On day 16, I will be running 16 miles.  After this the distance starts to go back down again by a mile a day, so on 31st December I will finish the challenge by running 1 mile.  By the end of December I will have run at least 256 miles, which is the equivalent of nearly 10 marathons…. in a month.

Pushing myself to get up and go running in the dark and cold at 6am can be tough, particularly on a morning like today where it’s -2°C and very icy.  However, I’m determined to complete this challenge (injury permitting).  As the distances get longer, I will need to plan when I will fit in running – on the run up to Christmas there are more events to go to, shopping to be done, meeting with friends and family…  plus going to work during the day!  Thankfully by Christmas Day the distance will be going back down again, so I will only have a 7 mile run to do before the rest of my family wakes up!

My heel has been causing me issues again.  I had thought it was my Achilles, but it’s been looked at and it is plantar fasciitis.  After about 20 minutes of running it starts to ease, but when I first start running it feels like a nail is being driven through my heel.  I’ve got to keep stretching and massaging it, which I hadn’t been doing before, to help reduce the pain.  So my runs at the moment are rather slow and painful!December Running Challenge

I know I need to keep myself motivated and training each day to make sure my body’s ready for the MdS in April.  I can’t afford to take things easy now as it’s only going to get harder.

I’m doing all this to raise money for the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice.  Your donations will help provide support and care for children with life limiting conditions and their families.  Please donate whatever you can, even if it’s a spare £1, to help support this fantastic charity.

Please give generously.

 

adam

25th November 2016


I’m currently doing around 12 hours a week of training – running, cycling and swimming.  I’ve only really started running again in the past day or so because I had hurt my Achilles heel.

It’s not necessarily about how many miles I do or how long I train for each day, but to be ready for this race I need to be training 6 days a week.  The key thing about training is consistency.  On my ‘day off’, it isn’t a complete rest as I’m still going to be going for a long walk.   Whilst I’m out in the desert I won’t be able to run the whole distance, so I also need to do some distance walking – you use different muscles and there are different pressures on your feet when walking so I need to make sure I’m prepared and minimise the risk of developing blisters.  I don’t particularly enjoy ‘going for a walk’, but I have my wife to thank for coming with me and encouraging me to go out!

I’ve started treating my feet with a foot spray that is designed to toughen the skin and stop any blisters.  While we were at the MdS expo the other week, the main concern the doctors had was with blisters.  It’s so important to keep my feet blister free – apart from the pain, there’s the risk of serious infection.  I’m not sure if the foot spray is going to work, but I will certainly give it a try.

As we get closer to Christmas I’m going to ramp my training up to 20-25 hours per week, around 3-4 hours a day.  I will mostly be running, but also doing some swimming and cycling to keep up my core strength.  I’m currently getting most of my training in first thing in the morning, but as we get closer to the race, I’ll start training in the evenings too.

In a couple of weeks I will be doing a ‘mini MdS’, where I’ll be sleeping on the floor (although not outside!), eating the dehydrated food I will be taking with me, and going out for 15km runs, with a 30km run on the 4th day.  I’ve got a selection of different dehydrated food packets to try, and I’ll be seeing which ones taste the best.  While I’m out there, food will be the highlight of my day…  It’s sad to think that the thing I will most be looking forward to each day will be dehydrated food!  I’ve been advised to go for ones with lots of spice so at least there’s some flavour.

Sahara trek

This will be my home… The Sahara Desert

I will be doing another MdS test camp in Lanzarote in January, with former winner Elisabet Barnes.  This time I will be sleeping outside and running across sand dunes.  This will be the closest I get to the actual thing.

Three weeks before the event, I am booked in for heat chamber to acclimatise myself to the heat.  It can reach 50°C during the day, which isn’t something you can prepare for naturally in British weather!

My training is really going to start kicking in over the next few weeks.  My aim is to run to and from work a couple of times (18 miles each way), which I’m not looking forward to!

This will be a huge challenge, not just physically but also mentally.  There will be a lot of dark times during that race – I hope that by focusing on the support from my sponsors and the families at The Donna Louise, this is what will keep me going.

Please give generously.

adam

17th November 2016


I have signed up to doing the Marathon Des Sables.  That’s the easy bit – the challenge now is getting to the start line without injury and getting supporters on board to sponsor me.

I’ve done events in the past such as the London marathon and Ironman challenges, and earlier this year I did the Berlin marathon, but I’ve not doing anything as difficult and dangerous as the MdS.  This will be a real test of physical and mental strength.  My aim for the MdS is to cross the finish line.

I’ve just got back from Gran Canaria where I’ve clocked up around 450km cycling.  My aim is to do a couple of hours training each day, and then start to increase this to 3-4 hours a day.  The next 4 months are about consistent training to get my body ready for the MdS in April.

I’ve got most of my kit now – I just need to get my sleeping bag and titanium stove.  I’m aiming for my backpack to weigh no more than 7-8kg.  After the required items are packed, I need to make sure everything else I take is carefully weighed and only the essentials are taken.  The titanium stove I’m looking at taking to heat up the dehydrated food only weighs around 20g.  It’s a careful balancing act of making sure I have everything I need, but not being weighed down by my backpack during the race.

During the race I’ll be consuming around 2,500kcal per day, with double that on the long day.  That’s the recommended guidelines for an adult male normally, but I’ll be consuming that whilst running several back to back marathons.  I’m expecting to lose around 6kg while I’m out there.  As I have to carry everything with me whilst running, I can’t afford to take too much and make my backpack any heavier than it has to be, so the amount of food I’ll be taking will be just enough to get me through.  I’ll also be removing the packaging from the food and vacuum packing it to remove any excess weight.

I’ve got a great support network of friends and family, who are a real encouragement.  I’ve also been spending time with former winner of the MdS, Elisabet Barnes, who’s been giving me a ‘no holds barred’ insight into the challenges ahead.  I also don’t want to let down the families at The Donna Louise, which is spurring me on to train and make sure I’m as prepared as I can be for the MdS.

Please give generously.

adam

Why I’m Doing This!

Adam_LanzaroteWhat motivated you to do this challenge?

This is the hardest race I’ve seen that I have any chance of completing. The MdS will take me out of my comfort zone completely. 7 days in the Sahara Desert will be tough, but it’s nothing compared to the challenges the parents and families of children with life limiting illnesses go through every day.

I have done Ironmans and Marathons in the past, but I wanted to do something that would really push me to my limits. I think the more daring and difficult a challenge is, the more people are likely to donate and that’s the real reason why I’m doing this.

Why the Donna Louise Hospice?

The Donna Louise are a fantastic charity. They offer a service that no-one else in the area provide. The volunteers and staff there are wonderful and really caring. I know that the money I raise will go towards helping the children and families that use their facilities.

The Donna Louise is a lovely charity and I hope I can raise a lot of money for them by doing this challenge.

What are your biggest fears?

Death!  Seriously though, my biggest fear is dehydration. The distance is not an issue, it’s the heat and dehydration that will be the problem.

My other big fear is not being able to complete the course.  I don’t like to fail, so unless something catastrophic happens and the doctors tell me I can’t continue, I will keep going!

I’m also not looking forward to there being no toilets and having to crap in a bag!

What will be your driving force when you’re out there?

I don’t want to let people down – I don’t want to let my sponsors down and I don’t want to let down the children and families who use The Donna Louise.

All the money raised is being donated to the Donna Louise Hospice.

Find out how your donation helps.

Sponsor me on Virgin Money Giving

The Donna Louise Hospice are a Staffordshire based hospice supporting children with life limiting conditions and their families.

The Donna Louise Hospice is over 24/7 giving support to over 180 families in Staffordshire and Cheshire, as well as supporting nearly 70 bereaved families.

It costs £2.5 million a year to keep the services running 24/7.

The Donna Louise is a fantastic charity offering support to children and families going through the most difficult times.  They offer emotional support, end of life care, short breaks and respite care, specialist play and activities, and much donna-louisemore.

The Donna Louise Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered in England and Wales No. 3701610 and also registered with The Charity Commission No.1075597

About the Marathon Des Sables

The Marathon des Sables has been dubbed ‘the toughest foot race on Earth’ by the Discovery Channel.

The Race

  • The Marathon Des Sables is a six day ultramarathon.  The course is 251km (156 miles) long, with the longest single stage being 91km (57 miles).
  • The race is held in the Sahara Desert in southern Morocco.
  • Temperatures can reach 50+°C
  • Each competitor is self sufficient, they will run carrying a backpack containing all the food they will need, venom pumps, compass, pen knife, distress flare and all other personal items needed.

The Challenges

  • Water is rationed.  Anything in addition to the ration incurs a time penalty.  Any IV drips to rehydrate also incur a time penalty.
  • Competitors sleep in communal 8 man tents each night.
  • Blisters and sores are painful as well as carrying the risk of infection.
  • Snakes and scorpions are threats – each competitor must take a venom pump in their ruck sack

The 32nd MdS race will be held 7th April.  Around 1030 athletes take part in the brutal event each year.  Click here for more information about the Marathon des Sable.