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Training for an Ultra-Marathon: Racing The Planet Training Camp

I have just one more month to prepare for my first ultra-marathon.  The SAHARA ULTRA MARATHON RACE is part of the “4 Deserts”, named by TIME magazine, as one of the top 10 Endurance Competitions in the world.  On October 3rd, I will be joining this year’s race along with 150 other competitors from 35 countries, who are running 250 kilometers through The Valley of the Whales in Egypt.  The 6-day Marathon finishes at the Pyramids of Giza.

So, how does one even begin to physically prepare for something like this?  The truth is, I had no idea until last weekend’s adventure with Racing the Planet’s Training Camp, hosted and created by endurance champion Eric LaHaie.  Details as follows:

Day 1 – A morning discussion about the logistics of a 250K race: packing, training, gear, nutrition, etc.  Later in the afternoon, we arrived at Sai Kung Country Park and quickly split into 2 groups: runners and fast-walkers.  The scenic and moderately intense Luk Wu Country Trail led us to Sai Wan Beach where we set up camp as the sun set and stars revealed themselves.   The ambitious runners donned their headlamps and hit the trails again while the rest of us heated water and enjoyed freeze-dried Expedition Food for dinner.  Following dinner, we all chilled out under the moonlight – a perfect ending to the day, as the beach was stunning, quiet, and presented a remarkably special side of Hong Kong… complete with cuttlefishing boats in the distance.  Unfortunately, the once soft sandy beach soon felt hard and unforgiving, and sleeping was a restless challenge.  A priceless indication of what desert sleeping may be like!

Day 2 – I watched the sun rise pink over the sea and we were all up at 6am.  Expedition Food breakfast and we hit the trails by 7am for a glorious morning of training before the heat of the day.  The air was cool and fresh as we climbed.  I split from the group before they made it to Sharp’s Peak and looped around the NorthEast trails which brought them back to our Sai Wan Beach starting point.  Meanwhile, I jogged on with my backpack for another 2 hours, then ultimately walked …until I caught a ride home.  Arriving home, I felt extremely positive about the entire 2-day event, but also exhausted, incredibly sandy, and realizing I needed to make serious modifications to my racing wardrobe before hitting the desert.  And… I noticed a place on my foot where a blister is likely to form during the race, despite wearing Injinji socks, SmartWool, and trail running shoes which are 1.5 size too large.  Good to know these things now rather than later.

The verdict: this training camp was a fun, well-organized dress rehearsal for the Sahara, and I know what I need to do for the next one month.  The next post will highlight my training plan for the coming three weeks.

I am running to help raise funds for HOPE for Charity.  If you care to donate, kindly refer to the below donation details.  Thank you!

The charity’s account details (Hong Kong):

HSBC Account no: 813-284411-001; Hope for Children

Reference mentioned “Jennie Running The Sahara”


Cheque payable to “Hope for Children (Hong Kong) limited”

GPO Box 947, Hong Kong

Please reference “Jennie Running The Sahara” on the back of the cheque

Cheers Friends,



Filed under: 4 Deserts, Classes, Exercise, Hong Kong, Racing, Racing The Planet, Ultra Marathon, , , , , ,