You can support Jason’s MdS challenge here:
Colonel Jason Rhodes is a forty six year old Army officer with twenty eight years’ service, currently stationed in the Ministry of Defence, assessing Defence-wide capabilities and providing strategic lessons on behalf of the Minister of State for the Armed Forces. Amongst his operational tours, the latter and – most relevant to this challenge – was commanding the Counter Improvised Explosives Device Task Force in Afghanistan.
Witnessing the devastating injuries sustained over the campaign – by both the civilian and Armed Forces communities – pointed him emphatically towards raising funds for Walking With The Wounded. His target is £15,000 on the back of running 2,000 pre-race training kilometres, including ultra marathons and a static 100km running challenge, through to selling a number of his paintings through the Army Arts Society’s exhibitions. As for the reason behind his race entry, it could be summed up very succinctly as: a mid-life crisis. With an Aston Martin Vanquish and a Bentley Continental out of the question, and unless he was going to have an affair or run off with a younger model, he was left with very little choice: find a physical challenge that would meet the crisis head-on and one that would affix a grin on his face. A friend once told him “if in doubt, do things that will enliven your obituary”; in other words live an interesting and challenging life.
Like many entrants, his ultra running background was utterly non-existent prior to signing-up. Before last October’s Beachy Head Marathon, his furthest race was a half marathon way back in 1990, when Stone Roses was around – for the first time. His competitive distance was 400 metres, so in endurance terms this whole event is so far removed from his comfort zone it is a trip into the unknown; which is exactly the point. The Marathon des Sables is such a natural fit with WWTW that it made complete sense to combine the two, and running alongside some of those who have been injured will be a humbling experience and a privilege: bring it on.
What do you see as the biggest challenge?
Managing my expectations: matching my actual ability.
What luxuries will you treat yourself to during the MdS?
A change of socks and a small token from my daughter and, suggested by a friend, T E Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom (still debating the weight versus symbolism!).
What 1 item of food are you taking which is your treat?
Crisps (my Achilles’ Heel)…smashed up of course to minimise space; most likely salt and vinegar or pickled onion Monster Munch.
What will you be listening to on your iPod?
Something in keeping with the terrain; I don’t want to feel separated from it: carefully selected from David Bowie (of course), through Handel, to ACDC.
Is there anything which you know you will be looking forward to at the end, before even beginning?!
Boring my friends and family about it!