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Meet the WWTW MDS Team 2021 – Emma Carpenter

In October 2021, an outstanding group of 19 ultra-runners will be taking on the infamous Marathon des Sables (MDS), a seven-day ultra-marathon in the heat of the Sahara Desert, in order to raise funds for WWTW’s work. In the lead up to the race, we will be introducing you to some of the team. Over the years, WWTW has invited different teams to take part in the event on behalf of the charity. In this interview, we hear from Emma Carpenter.


Why did you sign up to the MDS?

For my 50th Birthday in 2019, I wanted to take on a challenge and create an incredible memory for a good cause rather than have a party! Almost two years on, I still haven’t had either! I have done a couple of full Ironman triathlons, but I wanted to challenge myself in a completely different way from what I have done so previously, alongside truly inspirational people.

Why have you chosen to support WWTW?

Not being from an Army background, I first came across the charity through a great friend: Guy Disney.  I used to teach Guy in Pony Club! After his own injury and the global challenge events I saw him achieve with fellow injured soldiers, I took an interest in WWTW and the good work that they do. I was truly inspired by the resilience demonstrated by so many veterans and appalled at the lack of government support given to our soldiers after they had endured so much. I got the Charity involved at Abberley Hall school where I used to work as a PE Teacher and Sports Coach with the aim of educating and inspiring the children.  Collectively we raised quite a lot of money.

How’s your training going?

It’s going well (touch wood)! It has been tough getting ready to go and then it not happening on three occasions now! Hopefully, it will be fourth time lucky.  The ironic thing is that my son got run over by a tractor on our farm on the actual day we would have been leaving in April 2020! It’s been a tough year rehabbing Henry mentally and physically and he is still awaiting a hip replacement which he can now have now that he is 16. I was really ready to go in September and to be honest, wasn’t ready this last April as everything had caught up with me and I had slightly disengaged over the winter.  I am at present trying not to overtrain and get too tired mentally as well as physically. We still have 4 months to go, so I’m running a half-marathon distance regularly at the moment, slowly building it up and doing more back-to-back work with lots of hills and strengthening.  I’m also getting out training in the sun and gradually adding weight to my backpack.  My main aim is to keep enjoying my training and not get sour!

How did you keep motivated during lockdown?

For me, lockdown made it slightly easier as I had less work going on as I am a Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor.  I just try to keep to my schedule and focus on the fear factor of being out there and not having trained enough! For me, it is all about routine and sticking to it.

What do you see as the biggest challenge?

Definitely the heat – without a doubt!  Keeping myself properly hydrated and managing that aspect of things.

What luxuries will you treat yourself to during the Mds?

My Go Pro.  I want to record this amazing experience to look back on in years to come.  And a spare pair of knickers so I can rotate every other day!

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

Still trying to decide on this one!  I’m not sure what will feel more of a treat in that sort of heat. I love wine gums but probably very gooey and sickly when hot.  Salted nuts I think.

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

I love all kinds of music; it depends on what sort of mood I am in! I am taking a mixture of big vibe beats when needing motivation, some Moroccan when savoring the atmosphere, and some classical when chilling and being quintessentially English!

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

Yes!  Finishing! The hotel, being in a pool and an ice-cold HUGE beer!

If you would like to donate to Emma or the team, visit the team fundraising page here. 

And if Emma has inspired you to get your running shoes on and take on the mighty challenge of the MDS, please email tom.grimshaw@wwtw.org.uk who can talk to you about the places we have in our 2022 and 2023 teams.