On Thursday 20 October, 19 intrepid Colliers graduates departed England to tackle the dry and arid lands of the Sahara Desert in Morocco. They aimed to cover 52 miles, the length of two marathons, in just two days. Georgie Griffiths and Sam Keeling, two of the graduates, describe how they got on:
A 4am start awaited us on the Friday morning and high spirits were soon met by high temperatures as we set off with 52 miles ahead of us. A strong early morning pace soon succumbed to the growing realisation of the scale of the distance. Dusty roads were replaced by rocky mountain tracks as the heat started to rise.
The afternoon brought more incredible lunar scenery as we passed through some small leafy villages encouraging the inevitable property chat’. Our ten-hour day of trekking concluded with one final uphill push to reach the 26.1 mile marathon distance, where we were greeted with our overnight campsite. The halfway point was met with the breath-taking backdrop of the Draa Valley and we all settled in to catch up on the day’s events.
Day two began at 5am as we loaded up our bags, taped up blisters and took on water ready for the 35-degree heat forecasted. Stiff joints were quickly forgotten after a group warm up and we set off with dawn meeting us during our first 8 miles. By now the incessant demands of the Saharan terrain meant the majority of us expended less energy in photo opportunities and more into walking through respective pain barriers to reach the next checkpoint. The halfway point on day two, while previously a milestone, only acted as a reminder of the 13.1 miles that lay stretched out ahead. Day by day had escalated into stage by stage and later step by step.
The final leg of our double marathon trek proved to be the toughest both mentally and physically. The softer dune terrain was met with harsh westerly winds, throwing up sand as we crossed open desert near Zagora. The final three miles were a real test of endurance as the finish line in the distance tested us with its reluctance to be reached. The joy, relief and pride in our achievement upon crossing mile 52 will never be forgotten!
The Sahara Challenge proved to be significantly more demanding than any of us had ever expected, but at the same time considerably more rewarding. Action Challenge did a brilliant job of organising everything – it was an amazing bonding experience and a personal achievement for us all.
As a team, we are exceptionally proud to have exceeded our £15,000 fundraising target, having currently raised over £17,000 for LandAid to give young people facing homelessness safe accommodation and a brighter future.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported us including our sponsors MS Maintenance Solutions, Virtuoso Interiors, Pro Care Maintenance and The Inception Group, as well as a special thanks to Colliers International as a company for enabling us to undertake such a fantastic challenge in aid of LandAid.