“It’s all about food, recovery, sleep, run”
Ray O’Connor has made it home in one piece after completing the 250km Marathon Des Sables, 6 stage race across the Ica Desert in Peru. Ray had a chat with Joanne upon his return from Peru about his experience – covering many aspects of the race, from performance to nutrition, conditions and daily routine to the camaraderie out on the course.
“Marathon Des Sable Peru was absolutely amazing,” says Ray. The scenery and landscapes were the highlights for him. He recalled that they were like something you’d see in a movie. However, the landscapes weren’t enough to take the mind off the tough event itself.
Breakdown of the 6 Stages
Day 1: 13k
Day 2: 42k (Full Marathon)
Day 3: 32k
Day 4: 68k (Ultra Marathon)
Day 5: 42k (Full Marathon)
Day 6: 20k
Ray talks about how the MDS Peru was in his experience much harder to complete than the original MDS event that takes place in the Sahara Desert. There are a number of contributing factors such as the heat, the winds and the sand was soft making it a not ideal running track. The biggest hurdle for Ray was the terrain. MDS Peru was littered with hills around every corner.
The Daily Routine
Ray took us through what a day in the MDS camp would be like and he said: “It’s all about food, recovery, sleep, run.”
Ray didn’t wear a watch but the stirring of the camp and the rising of the sun usually woke the camp around 5 am. All the participants have their breakfast and pack for the day ahead. You make sure you have 2 bottles of water, one just plain water and one with electrolytes in it. When the run is completed it was back to camp to set up the tent which could take 10mins to an hour depending on the conditions of the ground and winds. Ray said he would be into the tent by 6 pm and would sleep right into the morning.
Flying the Flag for Ireland
The Irish contingents of Ray O’Connor, Ruthann Sheahan & Thomas Reynolds flew the flag high for Ireland. Ruthann was 7th female, Thomas 19th male & Ray finished 60th male. A fantastic achievement by all 3 runners.
Ray has now clocked up 149 marathons, 3 of those credited to MDS Peru, his final event of 2017 will see him at the Marathon Club Ireland Race on December 27th in Portumna, Co. Galway.