One of Aiglon's long-serving staff members will be embarking on the Marathon des Sables, a six-day, 251 km ultramarathon, in one of the world's most inhospitable environments - the Sahara Desert.
Geneviève Kohli, Aiglon's travel secretary, is our intrepid and determined adventurer. In order to motivate her through this ultimate challenge and to make the most of her training, Geneviève approached the School to propose raising funds for a cause in which she believes deeply: scholarships for deserving students at Aiglon.
Support Geneviève in her attempt to complete the 35th edition of the Marathon des Sables by making a gift to our scholarship programme. All gifts will go to help fund our scholarship students.
About the Marathon des Sables
The Marathon des Sables is the stuff of legends. It is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a mythical landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments – the Sahara desert. Runners have to be self-sufficient and carry all their food and equipment for the week on their back. The race will go through endless dunes, over rocky jebels, and across white-hot salt plains.
The 35th Marathon des Sables was scheduled to take place from 3 to 13 April 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been rescheduled and to take place from 8 to 18 September 2020.
Summary & Race Ethics
• 250+ kilometres
• 6 stages/7 days
• 1 long stage of 80+ kms
• Runners must be self-sufficient, water rations and tent supplied
• Temperatures of 50+ degrees centigrade
No rubbish is ever left at overnight camps or along the race course. In fact other than tracks, it is impossible to see where the camps have been set up. Competitors are penalised on points if they discard so much as a bottle top.
Q & A with Geneviève
Aiglon Travel Secretary
When not training for ultramarathons in support of scholarship students, Geneviève works as Aiglon's travel secretary. She helps to organise all the students' needed arrangements. Whether applying for visas or booking coaches and flights, students both arrive at Aiglon and travel out on trips thanks to Geneviève!
"I love adventure and I like the idea of running a stage race in an environment that I don’t know. A real challenge!"
"I started running very late, but I was sporty. My first race was a 63 km/+4000m in the Alps in 2011. It was a tough challenge! Especially that when I signed up, I was not running! I finished, and I really loved it. After this race, I knew there would be many other races."
"During the winter, I normally do not run. I prefer ski mountaineering, but this winter, of course, I will need to add more running sessions into my training. Basically, training for the MDS is not too different from general endurance-running training apart from the pack training.
As the MDS is a self-sufficient race, you need to carry a pack that weighs around 8kg plus the weight of the water you carry about 1.5 litres. Its weight thus represents a significant percentage of your bodyweight and will make running more difficult. I will add some running sessions with the backpack on with different amounts of weight."
"The race organisation mandates you to carry a minimum of 14,000 kilocalories (kcals) of food, or a minimum of 2,000 kcals per day. Most runners will take dehydrated food, but personally, I have chosen foods that do not require a pot, cup stove or fuel besides the sun. I will miss my hot coffee."
"You need to think twice and count every gram you put into your pack and make significant luxury-item sacrifices.
The race rules state that your pack should weigh between 6.5 and 15 kg at the start of the race. This mandated weight range includes all of the mandatory kit you are given by the race organisation at check-in and does not include water.
Personally, I decided to have a pack under 7 kg without water. So to meet this low weight, first I will take the mandatory kit about 1.5 kg, then the food 4.5 kg, then other kit/Gear for 1 kg, then you can add some items that you think can be important for you, but it does not leave you so much space…"
Thank you to those who have made a gift in support of Geneviève in this quintessential Aiglon challenge:
Reid Alan Ching
Patricia Bremner Gadotti
Carol & George Logie