Time to Focus


I started my running journey in 2011. Whilst reading the Runner’s World Magazine my eye caught a picture of a guy dressed funny carrying a backpack and it looked like he was running. The picture showed off all of his gear and a list of mandatory equipment that he has to carry with him including an anti venom kit.

This picture started a dream...

This picture started a dream…

His running shoes were covered, looked like running boots! I was completely baffled with the intricacies. I think it was the anti-venom kit that scared me, what was he doing? Well, he was running the Marathon Des Sables, a 250km self-sufficient multi-stage race in the Moroccan Sahara Desert. I knew then already that it was something I wanted to do.

Every day I run, I think about running in the desert. It is funny…I’ve never even been to a desert, closest I came to 43 degrees celcius was in the Karoo. I am not sure why I have this burning desire to run in the desert, for know let’s just say it is “the challenge” 🙂

I was dreaming big in 2014, hoping to get a place for the 30th Marathon Des Sables (MDS) but all available entries were snapped in less than 4 minutes or some ridiculously short time. I was disappointed and depressed that entire week!

Trans Arabia (Jordan 2016)

I then heard about another desert race whilst sulking about my MDS disappointment to fellow ultrarunner who told me about Trans Arabia – a 300km non-stop race crossing Jordan from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea via the Wadi Rum Desert.

I immediately did some research and let’s just say the rest is history. I’ve fallen head over “hills” in love with this race and entered the next day! I will do the Marathon Des Sables in 20xx 🙂

What drew me to this race was the concept of running from “sea-to-sea” crossing a desert!

Dead Sea

Start at Dead Sea

Wadi Rum

via Wadi Rum Desert

Red Sea

Finish at Red Sea

The Wadi Rum Desert is one of the most impressive desert landscapes in the world situated in south Jordan.  It is famous for its high mountains, charming rock formations and colour-changing sand. It’s also known as The Valley of the Moon.

It’s absolutely beautiful and I’ve become obsessed with running…ok…. shuffling it!

Wadi Rum, South of Jordan

Wadi Rum, South of Jordan

Wadi Rum Desert Camp

Wadi Rum Desert Camp

I have started planning the road to Trans Arabia – 15 months to train to run 300km carrying all the things I would need to survive 6 days in the desert. I am so excited to be training for this race and learn more about the country and all the historical and biblical places I’ll be running through I thought it fitting to create a separate blog dedicated to my training and preparation for my epic “Journey through Jordan”.

My Theme for 2015 is “Focus”

My goals for 2015 is simple…

  1. A sub 11hr Comrades (bronze medal) – I would like to get much faster at the shorter distances as well but first need to get to the bottom of my foot issue.
  2. However, all I think of everyday is Trans Arabia! This race is going to consume me – I am more worried and interested in preparing for this race, getting onto trails and experimenting with gear and everything that goes with training for a non-stop or multi-stage desert ultra marathon in a foreign country. So 2015 is all about exploring and  experimenting…no point doing anything or taking anything with me that is not gonna work for me in the desert.

I guess the biggest challenge for me this year is not to get too overwhelmed with training for Trans Arabia but to plan appropriately and to FOCUS on the immediate next steps only…. a journey of a thousand (in my case a million) miles starts with a single step 🙂


About Moerieda Mackay

Late to running and absolutely loving it! I'm married to my soulmate, Adam and blessed with 3 beautiful children. I am a Business Transformation and Innovation Professional and holds a MSc (Eng) in Industrial Engineering. Yip, a bit of a workaholic. I became addicted to ultra running whilst searching for that elusive “work-life” balance at the age of...40! I have no sporting background and with zero athletic ability running is by far the most challenging thing I've taken on but it has put me on a path of self discovery and serious transformation both physically, mentally and spiritually...and I love it!

4 responses »

  1. This sounds fantastic! I am working towards the MdS (waayyyy in the future 2019/2020) and this sounds like another awesome step/goal along the way. I can’t wait to hear how it all goes. Good luck!!

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