Desert and other similar "hostile terrain" ultra-running events are increasing in popularity. The Marathon des Sables (MDS) in Morocco is just one of the many extreme stage races that take place around the globe each year. There are similar events in Africa, Asia, South America, Australia and even in Andalucia where the July heat and tough mountain trails make the Al Andalus Ultimate Trail (AAUT) an extreme challenge.
The Marathon des Sables attracts a field of over 1000 runners from all over the World. Many come from cooler climates like Northern Europe and the UK. As the MDS is held in late March or early April, for many it comes on the back of a cold winter of training and not an ideal time to prepare for one of the world’s toughest challenges.
The Paul Bateson Desert Runner Training Camp enables you to experience just what it takes to compete in a hot and dry environment over hostile terrain with instruction and guidance from Paul Bateson, founder of the Al Andalus Ultimate Trail multi-day stage race and the Ultima Frontera Trail one day ultramarathons.
An MdS veteran himself, Paul has experienced racing in many hot countries including Israel, Jordan and Tunisia as well as here in Andalucia where he has competed in all types of events from Duathlon (on and off road), trail, mountain, road and ultra-endurance races, tallying an impressive number of age category wins at all distances along the way.
Desert training camps can be arranged for any time of the year but for runners looking to prepare for events held in hot conditions June to August are the hottest months in Andalucia.
" I'm just back from the 2012 Marathon des Sables and, despite everyone's concerns that I would be lucky to survive as I've never even run a marathon before, I came in 478th out of about 860 including finishing 232nd on the last day. Your Desert Runners' Camp gave a huge boost to my training and an insight into stage racing and what it requires to get up day after day and do it all over again. If anything, the terrain in Andalucia was more challenging and definitely hillier than the MdS so I had no problems at all on the 1000m jebel ascent on Day 4 or the 800m dunes on Day 7: my highest rankings were on the hilly days! My wife also had a great time walking in and around beautiful Al Hama with Kiko and felt very welcome too. Thank you again for your hospitality, spot on training that definitely lifted my confidence and my game and also for all the email advice and answers to all to those questions in the months before and after the camp. All the best, "