Thursday, April 22, 2010

Local Ultramarathoner in the Star-Telegram

It's great to see ultrarunning getting mainstream press.  I don't know Alfonso Chan of Colleyville, but I'd love to run with him!  He recently completed the 25th running of the Sultan Marathon des Sables, a 7 day, 151 mile race across the Sahara.  Next time you call me crazy for running a 50 mile race, I will refer you to him.
The race web site has some great pictures from the race.  Click here to see more.

The Star-Telegram has a very nice description in Tuesday's paper.  I can't say it makes me eager to enter this race, but it might be kind of cool . . . .  Here's the link to the article.  I've included the text below, in case you don't want to go to the S-T web page.

Colleyville attorney goes the distance in Sahara ultramarathon


COLLEYVILLE -- Lugging 45 pounds of gear, Colleyville attorney Alfonso Chan crossed the Sahara in a grueling seven-day, 151-mile ultramarathon.
He endured temperatures that topped 120 degrees in the daytime, melting his nylon-blend socks. At night, temperatures would drop to 40 degrees.
On he went, crossing dry riverbeds and salt flats, jumping over deep crevices, and climbing sand dunes and hills covered with jagged rocks. Thoughts of his wife, Sharon, and their two children provided a needed distraction as he persevered.
"I always kept thinking about home," he said.
Chan, who turned 40 in January, returned home this month after completing the Sultan Marathon des Sables, an event that drew more than 1,000 runners worldwide. He achieved a goal that many didn't: He completed the race.
Sharon Chan said her husband trained relentlessly for what has been called the hardest race on the planet.
Competitors must carry their sleeping bags and food through miles of Moroccan desert. There are no trails or roads to follow. Instead the runners use a compass to find their way along the course, much of which is in desert sand. Chan carried Kevlar poles for the sand dunes, though they were not very effective in some of the deeper dunes, and he carried goggles and a headscarf to deal with sandstorms.
Runners were supplied with water every 10 kilometers, or 6.2 miles. Each night, competitors camped in tents provided for them. There are no showers and no bathrooms. For food, Chan stocked up on beef jerky and dried meals similar to ones used by the military.
The course was six stages, each a different distance. The first three days, runners averaged about 21 miles per day, alternating between running and walking. The fourth stage was a nightmarish 51 miles and took Chan 24 hours to complete.
When he arrived at the camp at 9 a.m., Chan and the other runners got a much-needed day off with a special performance by a singer and musicians flown in from the Paris Opera.
But what he appreciated most was the tiny soft drink each runner received that evening. After he had lived off dried rations and salt tablets, a soda was a "huge" treat, he said.
Chan also received treatment for blisters from his melted socks. He had only one spare. "So I borrowed two used pairs from my tent-mates and doubled up on socks during the final two stages," he said.
He hit the sand again the next day with 26.2 miles and then had a 12- to 13-mile finale April 10.
Chan, who started the race at about 215 pounds, lost about 12 pounds.
He doesn't consider himself a professional athlete. His ability to manage fluid and electrolyte intake was the key to finishing the race, he said.
His wife said his mental and physical toughness saw him through.
"He's got this crazy endurance," she said. "He can just go and go forever."

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the new position. Is it a promotion?

    BTW, you are right, that guy is crazy.