This past October, Rose Kingscote ran her first half marathon — her longest footrace to that point.
This hardly seems like the hardcore running pedigree you’d expect of someone who volunteers to run 150 miles across the Sahara. And yet, Rose didn’t hesitate to sign up for the Marathon des Sables.
"If you’re going to take on a challenge, why look at the middle ones?" Rose says. Instead, she went straight for the toughest race out there.
It helps that she’ll also be able to support a cause she believes in strongly. Her father was in the military, and she’s had many friends who served as well. “I have such a big admiration for people putting their life on the line every day,” she says. She’s followed Walking With The Wounded throughout their previous expeditions and always admired the charity.
"I may as well show the boys how it’s done," she adds. She’s the only woman on WWTW’s Marathon des Sables team.
In all fairness, Rose isn’t totally new to racing in general. She’s been an avid cycler for years. But what makes the Marathon des Sables so interesting to her is the fact that it’s completely self-supported.
It’s one thing to participate in a multi-day cycling race, where each evening you’re provided all of the healthy food you need to keep going, Rose says. But during the Marathon des Sables, runners carry all of their own food on their backs. They spend the nights in tents similar to a Bedouin camp. The only supply provided for them is water. “It’s a completely different way of thinking about [racing],” she says.
We’re reminded of the difference between losing weight under the close supervision of a team of doctors and trainers a la Biggest Loser versus preparing your own food and workouts at home. It may not be easy, but it’s so much more rewarding — and at the end you’ve learned something really valuable about what your body needs.
The communal tent aspect of the run was also a huge draw. “I’ve heard that the tent camaraderie is second to none,” she says. “I would be surprised to find anyone who hasn’t had this take over their whole life.” That shared bond will help Rose support her Walking With The Wounded teammates, and vice versa.
While the runners won’t travel in a pack during the race, they’ll be ready to support each other each evening and share a tent each night. “We’ll go to some seriously dark points, as well as some massive highs,” Rose says. Knowing that her teammates will be there is a great reassurance.
Of course, teamwork alone won’t support Rose throughout the race. She’s done some major training, working with a coach who’s run the MdS 10 times. She has 12 training sessions per week, including some weight lifting, pilates, and lots of running and walking.
Everyone, she says, walks at least some of the MdS. When she get overuse injuries from running in the fall, she transitioned to walking — miles and miles and miles of walking. “You just have to get the miles in,” she says.
She’s also spent the past few months trying to figure out what food she’ll carry with her for the run. Her favorite recovery food so far? Baby food. Unfortunately, her mashed fruits and veggies will only last for the first few days of the race. They don’t fare well in 120-degree heat. She knows; she’s been testing out many of her foods in a 120-degree oven to see whether they can stand up to the heat.
Over the next two months, we’ll be following along as Rose continues to train for the Marathon des Sables, which starts April 4. While not a weight loss story, we hope that Rose’s journey helps to motivate and inspire you.
Noom is the sponsor of Walking With The Wounded’s Marathon des Sables team. Walking With The Wounded is a UK-based charity that funds both the re-training and re-education of wounded servicemen and women with the aim of helping them find long term employment after they have left the Armed Forces. We’re proud to support WWTW; you can help support them as well by donating here.