Meet the MdS Team 2020 - Col. Lucy Giles
The Marathon des Sables is fast approaching. Soon, a team representing WWTW will start their 251 KM race across the Sahara Desert, tackling intense heat and challenging terrain.
In the run up to the race, we are introducing you to some of the WWTW team members. Next up, Colonel Lucy Giles:
1. What inspired you take on the MdS?
A colleague at work approached me about doing this iconic event. I had always thought of doing this, but never found the time or justification. Additionally, I wanted to show my children that, at over 50 years old, you can still challenge yourself
2. Is this your first ultra-marathon?
This is my first ultra-marathon, although I have done some interesting events in my time; Devizes Westminster canoe marathon in 2002, KIMM in 2002, Mourne Mountain marathon in 2004, OMM in 2008 and 2013, Cycle ride around Ashes grounds in 2013 (300km in 3 days), cycling to France in 3 days from Shrivenham and I completed ‘Trailwalker’ in summer 2017, run/walking 100km in just under 23 hours
3. How are you training for it?
My training approach is very steady. Working on core strength and stability, a few miles under my belt and practicing with about 5-6 kg of weight at the moment. I am using poles and doing a lot of ‘forced marches’ as well as light runs. I plan to get fitter as the MdS progresses
4. The race is physically challenging, but it will also test you mentally. How are you preparing your mind for the event?
Having been in the Army for 28 years, my mental resilience is reasonably honed and I know myself and how far I can push myself mentally and physically. I do wake up every morning, however, and think…’how am I going to add value to increasing my success on the MdS’ and this can be as simple as reading blogs/books, testing food and practicing my admin drills. This should give me confidence when I am in the race and can focus on recovery as well as performance. I will also aim to look at previous road maps so that the routes can be broken down in to smaller chunks and I can pace myself for the entire six days.
5. What you envisage being the most challenging aspect of the MdS?
Ensuring my body can cope – my mind will!
6. Do you have any tips for other runners aspiring to take part in the race?
Just enter it if you have the opportunity – and make sure you have a charity that supports your own values to keep you on the straight and narrow!
7. What is the first thing you are going to do after finishing the MdS?
Have a cold beer.
8. Why have you chosen to support Walking With The Wounded?
I have friends who have been injured on operations (physically and mentally) and have also seen the power of a focus, such as completing the MdS, when you need it. The team at WWTW have also been extremely supportive and helpful. Moreover, knowing that my fundraising will directly support those who have served is also a great motivator for me.