MENCAP has some guaranteed places for those who want to take on some of the greatest desert races in the world.
Spaces are up for grabs to enter the Atacama Crossing in Chile, RacingThePlanet in Jordan and the Gobi March in China next year.
The races are self-sufficient and participants are expected to carry all food, clothing and equipment for the whole race.
There is no minimum sponsorship to be raised; Mencap will give us fundraising and training support and can even offer us 40% back from the funds raised to help cover the entry cost. Sweet.
Richard Cheetham is a former participant of the Atacama Crossing, raised money for Mencap and says,
“The Atacama Crossing is one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had, the desert is absolutely stunning. It’s a tough trek and there were times it got really challenging in the heat but you get an incredible sense of achievement when you cross the finish line. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I would recommend it to anyone.”
Those who join the teams will be invited to Mencap’s extreme team free desert training day, led by qualified coach and experienced ultra marathon runner, VOTWO’s coach Eliot Challifour.
And if the following tips from Eliot don’t put you off then maybe these desert races are the adventures you’ve been looking for:
1.Wear a weighted vest during the day at work under your normal clothes to condition your body to carrying up to 10kg of weight for long durations. When you start to run with weight in training, increase the load in small increments. By using a weighted vest you can decrease and increase the weight easily.
2.Train in the sand either on beaches or UK sand dunes. Running on the sand is very different to a solid surface and you will encounter a lot of it in desert running.
3. Doing some heat acclimation training by exercising in a heat chamber such as the one used by many desert race competitors at the Porsche Human Performance Centre will enable your body to get up to 70% of the physiological adaptations to heat.
An information evening is being held in central London on 2 November 2011. More details here > http://www.mencap.org.uk/extreme