As the countdown for the Marathon des Sables 2020 is on, Sean Clark chats with some of this year’s Walking With The Wounded Team Members. Looking into each member’s reason for embarking on this incredible challenge and how they’re preparing for April, Sean dives deep into what running the Marathon des Sables as part of the WWTW team means to everyone.
In episode three, Sean speaks with Duncan Slater, who is returning to the Marathon des Sables for the third time in April. Duncan was in the military, but left after his truck drove over a roadside bomb. As a result, Duncan had to have both legs amputated. As if that isn’t a challenge enough in itself, Duncan then proceeded to run the London Marathon, and has gone on to run the Marathon des Sables multiple times- the first double amputee to do so, it’s worth noting. Organisers were hesitant to say the least, but Duncan knew he wanted to do it.
Even for someone like Duncan, this didn’t come without its challenges. The first year, Duncan experienced extreme pain due to rubbing and blistering on his stumps- the doctor said these were more like burns than blisters and Duncan was not able to complete the cross-Sahara ultra marathon that year. But rather than seeing this as a chance to slow down, Duncan saw this as a chance to improve on his weaknesses, ready to return (and complete!) the race just one year later.
Duncan talks about the transition from thinking Ed Parker was crazy for returning to the ultra marathon, to being inspired to run the race again himself. He talks about his excitement for MdS in April, and how having such a large team for the 10th anniversary will help everyone get through.
Duncan shares his experience on how going back to basics in the desert, explaining the importance of rehydrating before bed, keeping your hands clean and keeping an eye out for other runners. He also has a handy tip for water stations and for cooking dinner cooker-free!
He talks about managing the weight of packs, and how music helped him decompress at the end of a hard day’s running.
Sean asks Duncan about his personal challenges for Marathon des Sables 2020, and what people should do if they’re approaching the challenge for the first time.
If you want to know support the team and this brilliant cause, you can donate at www.walkingwiththewounded.org.uk/. You’ll find information about how the charity supports ex service people, as well as preparation for MDS 2020 and other events.