Congratulations to Fiona Oakes on her successful completion of this years Marathon des Sables – about 240km over 6 days in the Sahara desert carrying all her own supplies (and Percy). It says a lot about the toughness of this event that over 100 of around 1,000 competitors failed to stay the course. It says a lot about Fiona’s nature that she decided to sacrifice the finishing time she is capable of to ensure a fellow competitor made it to the finish. When Fiona isn’t out training, setting world records, winning marathons and and promoting veganism she will be found caring for around 400 animals at Tower Hill Stables animal sanctuary which she runs.
I think the unfolding tale of Fiona’s adventure in the desert is best told through her facebook page – I’ve copied an extract and a couple of photos below. Everything Fiona does for the animals in her care and promoting vegan strength through her running is funded through donations so please consider contributing to Tower Hill Stables sanctuary and the Fiona Oakes Foundation.
“OK, the Marathon des Sables is now over and I am back home. It was really tough out there but the one thing that was easy is the decision I had to make on day 2.
I was laying in 18th place overall when I had to decide whether to put my race first or another competitor – in my opinion, there was no decision to make. Mike was an experienced Ironman Triathlete recovering from Leukaemia and still on Chemotherapy medication. At the end of Stage 2 he felt so bad he thought his race was over and, with it, his dreams of completing MdS as a statement of intent to win his battle over the disease. He didn’t see how he was going to get through the following day – let alone the ‘long stage of 82 km. I promised him that if he could make it through day 3 I would get him through day 4 (the ‘long’ one).
This meant forfeiting my chances of a high overall ranking. We had a tough battle out there on Day 4 but we got through it and now Mike has fulfilled his dream – and MdS Finishers medal. To me, it is far better to help another than to help yourself – whether that ‘another’ be a human or an animal. I just wish other people would understand that and take it on board. Compassion is more important than competition but, unfortunately, it seems to be the most precious commodity on earth.” – Fiona Oakes, April 14th 2014