Early next month, Selina McCole will set out on the journey of a lifetime, running what has been described by the National Geographic Channel as “the toughest footrace on earth”. The race, covering around 257 km across the Sahara Desert, is the equivalent of six marathons, run or walked over six days. Aside from water, runners must carry with them all that they need to survive. We caught up with Selina to find out how her final preparations are going.
Written by: Kate Shepherd
Monday morning selfie on her way to work in preparation for the Marathon des Sables
Taking up running in her early thirties, Selina has been a passionate runner for the past thirteen years. She has completed nine marathons although none, it has to be said, are quite like the challenge ahead of her now! Running such a long distance and in such extreme conditions presents both physical and mental challenges but Selina believes she is well prepared. Over the past nine months she has run more than 2,000 miles, has trained on sand, and in hot, dry weather conditions and has checked in with a psychiatrist (just to check she isn’t completely mad!) who, after chatting to her for an hour, has pronounced her good to go!
Of course, it’s not going to be easy but Selina looks forward to meeting fellow runners who will match her pace and to enjoy the whole experience. She says, “When you are on your deathbed, you want to remember things that you have achieved. Nothing else matters at that moment. Running the Marathon des Sables will be both an achievement and a phenomenal experience.”
A family affair at the Safari Zoo Run 5.5 km
Planning for such a big race has been a big commitment for Selina and her family in terms of time and money but, as she tells us, this is nothing compared to the trials faced by many foreign domestic workers who make the tough decision of leaving their families in order to earn money overseas.
From L-R (seated): Karen Fernandez (Aidha CEO), Selina McCole (Goldman Sachs), Angelo Roxas (Barclays) and Aurelie Dhellemmes (Deutsche Bank)
By running for AIDHA, she hopes to empower more women and bring hope to those who haven’t had the opportunities in life that she has had. You can donate to her fundraising campaign here.
Please note below how you can track progress of the race through live feeds and you can write to Selina during the race (every evening MdS print off the emails and give these to the runners, so words of encouragement will be very much appreciated)
1. Live feeds – http://live.marathondessables.com/ – Selina’s race number is 809
2. Write to Selina during the race – there will be a section on http://www.darbaroud.com/en/ where you can “write to competitors”; your email subject should note “Selina McCole #809“
We wish Selina the very best of luck and look forward to hearing about her adventures on her return.