Sorry for not updating here for a few days. The i2P Tunisia team continues to do well.
Day 3 – April 20
On Day 3 (April 20) the team ran a marathon! 262 miles (42.2K) – amazing! The Youth Ambassadors reported that they woke up in the morning feeling exhausted, stiff, sore and needing an ice bath. They left camp around 7:30 a.m. heading towards the town of Douz. As they moved along their legs loosened up and they were able to pick up the pace. The youth reported: “Today we made it into the dunes, which were incredible! The sand was loose and textured like flour, but absolutely beautiful! It felt like we stopped for photos every few steps. Our guide, Arida, decided to come with us on our run, in his long pants, sweater and cheche (pronounced sheesh). While running, he taught us traditional Arabic songs and games, and showed us a variety of different animal tracks including scorpion, scarab, camel and warthog. It was amazing to hear all his stories and learn more about the nomads of the Sahara!”
They completed 15.5 miles by lunch time. Local guide Mohammed Ixa said it would be really hot, so they waited/rested/napped for about an hour after lunch, until about 1:30, before starting again. The heat had subsided some and was “manageable” for the final 10.7 miles. Along the way they ridges got bigger, and they came to an oasis “with palm trees, lush green shrubs and even a well!” As the Youth Ambassador’s noted, ensuring that everyone has access to clean water is the goal of the Ryan’s Well and Giving Water Foundations – something the youth are learning to appreciate first-hand!
The Youth reported, “We pushed for the finish and successfully completed a marathon in the desert! We were all very happy and even happier when our support team had oranges waiting for us – Tunisian oranges are by far the best oranges in the world!!”
The night ended with Arabic flute and drum music around the fire. “Another amazing day in the Sahara Desert!!”
Day 4 – April 21
The team started the day with the goal of running 31 miles, but it was already very hot at 8 a.m. when they started. Mohammed guessed that it might get up to over 100 degrees F. Whoa, that is hot! They saw tracks of a deadly snake (a sand/desert viper) and experienced breathtaking sand dunes. As the Youth report, “This is the real deal… sand dunes for as far as you can see… This is amazing.” They also ran past another well, stopping to have the local guides show them how it works. The Tunisia team ran about 18.6 miles by lunch, when the heat really did start. They Youth said that this was “Probably our toughest day, as a group” with everyone experiencing sore muscles and aching joints. They also needed to be in camp in time for a satellite conference call with students around the world, so “only” ran another 6.2 miles in blistering afternoon heat, for a total of about 24.8 miles.
Day 5 – April 22
The motto for the day was “Don’t Forget Your Goggles!” as the wind was already blowing in the morning. Connor, Jill, and Kajsa did have goggles, but Andy didn’t, and had some issues with sand in his eyes. Everyone else got sand in their ears, noses, mouths, and just about everything else. The Youth report “The sand of the Sahara is so finely ground that it can find its way into any opening; be it pores, cameras, shoes, tents, etc. We noticed that none of us drank as much water today as we have in the past week because there was a constant cloud cover until about two o’clock. As soon as the sun came out from over the clouds, we were drinking like camels. The blaring rays have an enormous effect on your body; sweat increases, muscles become more aggravated, more water is necessary (but it is less satisfying), and it is much harder to carry on.” And carry on they did, covering 18.6 miles despite the relentless wind, dunes and “various muscles pains, headaches, ligament strains, and stomach problems. It has not been in the least bit easy, but we are all staying positive, helping each other along, and hoping for bigger days ahead.”
As shown below, the team always meets to discuss plans and set goals each day.
Bonus – Day 6, and plans
I just got off the phone with Marshall in Tunisia. He said that the youth are “really pounding out the miles” and doing an amazing job. Staying positive and focused, and loving the experience. He guessed that the Youth covered about 21.7 miles today! Plans are to run about another approximately 21.7 miles tomorrow, and a final 9.3 miles or on Sunday to complete the running portion of the trip. Then, late on Sunday or on Monday the team will head back to Tunis, where they’ll stay until Wednesday the 28th.
As always, learn more and check out the photos and videos at http://impossible2possible.com/tunisia/?s=experience&e;