Athlete Feature: Dan Fallows - 2023 Marathon des Sables runner

Dan Fallows tells us about what's important when preparing to run 250km in 7 days in the desert, and where his motivation comes from.
Man running across the sahara in ultra running clothes

Photo credit: More Than Running Ltd 

Who is Dan?

Dan Fallows in MdS rucksack

Dan is a Milton Keynes based runner, fitness and travel enthusiast, ex-UK Armed Forces Airborne soldier, and entrant in the 2023 Marathon Des Sables.

What is the Marathon des Sables?

The Marathon Des Sables, for the uninitiated, is a 250 km multi stage foot race across one of the Earth’s most inhospitable regions - The Sahara Desert. The race annually draws entrants from around the world to Morocco and is indisputably known as the toughest foot race on Earth. The week-long race, which must be completed while carrying everything you need to survive, is a brutal test of physical endurance and mental resolve. 

Dan shares his thoughts below with us:


Dan's kit laid out with everything he needs

"With an event such as the Marathon Des Sables, as you might expect, preparation is key. Physical preparation and mental resilience almost go without saying, but the crucial aspect that can often mean the difference between success and failure, is equipment choice.

Every item that I'll be carrying gets scrutinised; Is it essential? Is it up to the rigours of the terrain and temperatures of the Sahara? What does it weigh? Could I find a better alternative? I absolutely have to be sure before the kit in question gets a confirmed spot in my race bag.

 At the top of the list of items that truly can’t be compromised on, is nutrition. My food for the week needs to fuel me through 250km of sand dunes and jebel sand mountains. I have to be able to perform when the temperatures are topping 50 degrees, and the daily distances approach double marathon territory. I can’t compromise.

That’s where TentMeals come in. They are lightweight, nutritious, packed with calories, and tasty. As soon as I tried my first order, I immediately stopped looking for alternatives - I knew I had found the meals that would fuel me through the Marathon Des Sables.

MdS runners in the desert descending a hill

Photo credit: More Than Running Ltd 

The Motivation

Crucially, I am not attempting to compete in this race for myself. I am delighted to be raising funds for the UK based Veterans charity, Walking With The Wounded. Walking With The Wounded supports disadvantaged Veterans who have served in the Armed Forces and their families.

Walking with the Wounded logo man pulling a sledge

Established in 2010, they empower them to regain their independence, thrive, and contribute in our communities. Walking with The Wounded supports a pathway for disadvantaged Veterans to reintegrate back into society and sustain their independence. 

Walking With The Wounded recognise the inherent skills of our Veterans community and want to complement these qualities. They also provide support to transfer their skills into the civilian workplace.

Veterans who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their service receive assistance through programmes. Walking With The Wounded assists them in sustaining their independence through new careers outside of the military. This includes providing support to homeless Veterans and Veterans in the criminal justice system, areas which are often overlooked. "

Supporting Dan and finding out more

If you want to support Dan and follow his journey, you can find him on his Instagram page @500daystothemds. His race begins on the 21st April 2023 and you can read more about the MdS here

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