LONELINESS really started to get to Mick Marshall in Peru.
He arrived dehydrated and tired, his body having not fully recovered from a 150-kilometre trek through the Simpson Desert three weeks earlier. The party in the youth hostel next door the night before race day did not help either.
Mick was determined to reach the finish of this 104km desert challenge by the 24-hour cut-off. But language, with no other English speakers, made it hard to articulate to others how he was feeling, how much he was struggling.
He reached the first checkpoint feeling okay. The rest was a blur of nausea, vomiting and naps punctuated with moments in which Mick forced himself to regroup.
Peru marked the second of eight desert runs Mick has lined up to both crack a Guinness World Record (most desert runs in a year) and raise awareness and funds for charities close to his heart, including child and welfare charity Berry Street.
- READ MORE: Mick Marshall’s Running 4 Change mission
Starting in desert oasis Huacachina, there was no joy for Mick when he cross the line in coastal town Paracas. Just relief.
“I picked so many lessons I could improve on along the way. But I’m not playing down the arena I’m in,” Mick said. “I’ve never seen sand dunes like in Peru. They were as big as Mount Buninyong but you’re just running on sand. Absolutely incredible.”
In less than a week, Mick will be back in the desert. His next challenge is Run Lapinta, a four-day trail run in the Northern Territory.
His body is only just feeling recovered from Peru.
Sleep is the big lesson Mick is making sure he acts on. He knows he needs to be well-rested before travel.
That, and gaffer taping up his shoes to prevent sand getting in – a handy tip he brought home from Peru.
The key message Mick hopes his run is making is encouraging others to have a go. He wants the children he works with through Berry Street to feel they can set a goal and achieve it, no matter how daunting it might seem.