You have almost 2 days ( 34 hours) to complete the “Long Day” on the Marathon des Sables, and a number of people do manage to finish before sun up the following day. These lucky individuals then have a day of rest to catch up on sleep, e-mails, eat, drink and chill out watching the day fly by as the remaining competitors demonstrate huge amounts of courage and endurance making their way to the finish. Many of whom will have been on there feet for over 24 hours in the heat of the desert while some choose to bed down for a few hours before finishing the remainder of the distance.
I managed along with all my tent mates to finish well before sunrise on the 2nd day, so a rest day for all.
The day went very quickly, however there was a noticeable difference with people hobbling around, covered in bandages (not just on their feet but all over where bits of clothing or bags had rubbed their skin raw) and looking incredibly dirty. It was also the day that saw some tents lining up in a row and using spare water to wash butt naked in the middle of the desert.
I spent a happy day eating (only 3 mild curried beefs were left by the end of the day), watching the hobbling people about camp and a spot of cleaning. I was hoping this would improve my now salt, sweat and dirt encrusted clothing in the and that they would feel as good as new when it came to wearing them the following day.
There was also the need to sort out our feet, with most of our tent now suffering from blisters. However having wondered round the camp I noticed how lucky our tent was I met many who’s feet were practically falling apart as blisters developed under more blisters. All the running was definitely taking its toll on people as the medical tent was packed from dawn till well into the night as a stead queue of people entered it suffering from everything from blisters, to upset stomachs and heat exhaustion. I certainly felt very lucky having not suffered too badly.