Super marathon runner Lee Quinn on the Marathon des Sables

It may be a cliché, but I believe it’s true when we say “everyone’s got a story.” The beauty of that is that you don’t have to go far for an interesting interview. Lee Quinn is a lawyer from my hometown. He first came to my attention by way of an article on our hyperlocal news website West Kirby Today, explaining that he was gearing up to do a super marathon in the Sahara Desert. After he’d had enough time to recover, I spoke to Lee about the experience.

The event in question is called the Marathon des Sables (MdS). It’s said by some to be the toughest footrace on the planet and, frankly, even if it’s not, it’s still in that conversation. Having been established in 1986, the race is said to have grown in popularity year-on-year.

Competitors are faced with a six-day, 160-mi (257-km) slog in the 100-degrees Fahrenheit (50-degree Celsius) heat of the Moroccan sun. According to the MdS website, the route takes participants “across saltpans, up desert-mountains, through ruined towns and through the occasional sandstorm.” Naturally, I was interested to know what made Lee want to take on this challenge in particular.

When he arrived for our chat, I was struck by what affable guy Lee was. On a Saturday morning when he could have been at home with his family, he had come along to meet me with nothing to be gained himself and was a gracious interviewee throughout.

Lee explained that he was made aware of the MdS by an interested colleague, who subsequently opted out. Driven on by his own charity fundraising and a “mid-life crisis,” though, Lee followed through on the idea. He talks of an unforgettable experience, a grueling test and real comradeship amongst the participants.

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