Jim Chow conquers the Sahara Race!

Jim Chow is back in the states after finishing the Sahara Race, a 6-day, 250-km trek through the Egyptian desert. Jim finished this incredibly grueling race in 53:02:24. Jim will eventually write up a race report, but he’s supplied us with some highlights:

  • although temperatures reached 116F, the heat bothered me a lot less than the sand did.  Sand, sand, sand, and more sand made the going very rough.  Despite full gaiters, fine grained sand managed to get into shoes/socks and made for messy blisters.
  • the White Desert section of the Sahara was absolutely stunning.  Numerous white rock formations gave rise to the aptly nicknamed area “Animal Kingdom”.
  • the dunes were as beautiful as they were tough.  At times my hiking pole would sink to handle level while clambering up the dune.  It was hard not to be discouraged when, finally at the top of a dune, seeing the series of other dunes that had to be traversed.
  • stage 5, the long 100K stage, was aptly named “The Black Desert March”.  We could see upcoming checkpoints miles ahead … making it feel like we were working hard without making any progress as we slogged toward the checkpoint.
  • like events of this sort, there were many truly inspirational athletes and competitors around – Ryan Sandes, winner of the event, handily beating the ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes and yet being as humble and low keyed as anyone else; the blind Korean runner and his guide; Jack Dennes a 73 year old finisher; and the many competitors with trashed feet who labored day after day.  
  • the event was as intellectually/culturally stimulating as it was physically.  I was in a tent with a couple of Germans (both of whom I’ve met at the Mother Road 100, the Gobi March, and at a race in Leadville last year), a Spaniard, a couple of Italians, a Japanese, and an Australian. 
  • people who do these sorts of events are a bit crazy.

[Jim — we knew the last one :)]