The staff here at Mountain Equipment just want to give a shout-out to one of our favourite customers. I'm sure she's been popping into the store for a lot longer than this but a couple of years a go we got acquainted with Heather Hawkins and her family when they were making preparations to trek the Great Himalayan Trail. Although sections of this trail are hugely popular for trekkers you don't encounter too many people taking the time and effort to walk the whole thing! We sometimes get a little worried when people come in with plans this big, like trekking 5 to 6 months across the Himalaya, however we were quickly put at ease when we learned more about Heather and her family.
On the surface of things you'd probably class Heather as an ultra runner. What started out as city marathon running turned into running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. Then that turned into adventure marathons and ultra runs. However all this is put into perspective when you learn that Heather is an ovarian cancer surviver and basically began this journey while in remission. When you take into consideration all the other aspects of her life and career you can see that she doesn't just train hard and turn up to races or events; her whole life is geared towards raising money for ovarian cancer research and using her experience both through speaking and writing to inspire both those touched with cancer and those who haven't alike.
Next month Heather plans to stand at the start line of the Marathon Des Sables. Now the word on the street is that the Marathon Des Sables is the toughest foot race on earth. I don't know anyone personally who has done it, so I can't confirm or deny, however here are the stats - It's a 250km race broken in to 6 stages, so a marathon run everyday over 7 days across the Sahara Desert in Morocco. The terrain basically changes from soft sand dunes to rocky sand dunes without a tree in sight. It is all self supported with contestants carrying their own food and shelter for the entire race, however they are supplied water and the occasional local Berber tent for some shade (got to give them something hey).
As usual, Heather has been using the event to raise money for ovarian cancer research as well as speaking and raising awareness. She has been fitting many a sand training run in between all of that obviously, and if you check out her Facebook and Instagram profiles you'll see the work that has gone in. If you can give to her cause I'm sure she'd be extremely grateful but at the very least pop over to her social media page and give her a thumbs up 👍
Good luck Heather!! We hope your training remains injury free and the Marathon Des Sables lives up to it's reputation! We wouldn't want it to be too easy for you... :)
For the latest information on Heather's lead up to the MDS visit:
If you would like to donate To Ovarian Cancer Australia on behalf of Heather in the lead up to the Marathon Des Sables you can visit her funding page HERE
For more information on the Marathon Des Sables visit their website HERE