In 2011, I joined a team of 10 Canadians on an expedition to run across the Sahara Desert – and I was determined I would make it to the finish line. Well….I didn’t. Early into the 7 day race I would get very dehydrated, throw up at camp night 1 and on day 2 red line the motor – and no amount of water was going to revitalize this radiator. After ten months of training, I sat back against the wheel well of this expedition jeep, and the only shade in the 120 F heat, agonizing on a decision whether to pull out of the race. Days before, I had left friends and family back home; excited and nervous about tackling one of the toughest endurance races on earth and now was on the edge of an epic failure. This is the exact moment that I pulled out or the race and a picture that both motivates and haunts me till this day.
Later that day, I would have an important choice to make. Would I stay and volunteer in the camp and support my team mates, or be driven out of the desert in that evening back to the hotel in Cairo and relax by the luxury pool. The pool and licking my wounds in private was appealing however I felt a life lesson calling. I chose to stay. I didn’t know it then, but it would be a crucial decision in a long journey that got me here today. It’s a moment I recall often that allowed my mentors to model the way for me while I supported and brought youthful energy to revitalize their spirits. What I witnessed through the remaining days were examples of amazing courage to push ones physical and mental boundaries and how individual and community support can overcome any obstacle. I saw one friend who was badly dehydrated at the medical tent overnight rise to put one foot in front of another for 60 courageous miles over 18 hours through the desert heat and finish the race.
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