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Meet the MdS Team 2020 - James Gleeson

Each year, the Marathon des Sables challenges runners from around the world to take on the Sahara Desert to run 156 miles in 7 days.


 To mark our 10th anniversary, we are taking a team of 32 runners to tackle the race and over the next few months, we will introduce a few of members of the team to you. In this interview, we hear from seasoned MdS runner- James Gleeson.

1.       Why did you sign up to the MdS? 

This will be my 8th MdS, despite the fact that year after year I say that I won’t do it again. Unfortunately, I have a bad memory.

2.       Why have you chosen to support WWTW?

 I am supporting WWTW because of all the wonderful things it achieves for our ex-service men and woman. I believe that they have sacrificed so much, but too often, they are under appreciated.

3.       How is your training going so far? 

My training is on hold at the moment due to a knee operation. However, I am very aware of what is waiting for me during the race. I’m hoping to get my training underway very soon.   

4.       What do you see as the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is always the long day, this is a day when participants run 52 miles (80 km). It is one of the toughest days of the MdS.

5.       What luxuries will you treat yourself to during the MdS?

 I know that I need to keep the weight in my bag to a minimum, so I will not be taking many luxuries with me. Perhaps just a few Haribo sweets.

6.       What item of food are you taking which is your treat?

You have to be self-sufficient during the race, so that means you also need to race with all of your belongings on your back. This means that I will forego food treats and wait until I cross the finish line to indulge in treats.  

7.       What will you be listening to help you through the marathon?

I do not tend to listen to music whilst I’m running. Instead, I try to focus on my surroundings. You also have the chance to run alongside some incredibly fascinating people, so if I have the chance, I try to talk to those around me.

8.       Is there anything that you know you will be looking forward to at the end, before even beginning?

I’m looking forward to a cold beer and seeing my wife, children and grandchildren. From experience, I know that I will not be planning to do it again ever, ever, ever!