Wednesday was a regular training day, as was Thursday. However, naughty me skipped Thursday evening’s training (although to be truthful, I just switched around my weekly night off – not so naughty).
Ben Fogle of BBC TV’s”Castaway” fame from yesteryear and other TV adventures was giving a talk at the Royal Geographical Society, West Kensington, about his recent trip to Captain Scott’s hut in the Antarctic as part of a BBC documentary to be screened. I have to admit, as interesting as the talk was, I went with an ulterior motive to snaffle a photograph of Ben and to ask him about his previous experience of running Marathon des Sables. You may also have seen the documentary he did for BBC2 about Facing Africa’s work, the charity for whom I’ll be running this year.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ben’s talk, although the natty head-to-toe green tweed suit was a little distracting. Captain Scott’s hut was pretty much as he’d left it with all the tins of food still on their shelves. It was as if time had stood still, except now many of those items are deteriorating and the Antarctic Heritage Trust is working to conserve the region’s expedition artefacts.
Unsurprisingly, there was a swell people at the end of the evening wishing to talk to Ben, including school children and three men who the day before had just returned from setting a new world record rowing the Atlantic (looking suitably Robinson Cruso’ed with scrawny frames and scraggy beards). I patiently joined the queue.
With so many people both in front and behind me, it was impossible to talk for long, but I managed to tell Ben what I was up to and why. Ben was charming and reassured me that MdS was nothing as tough as the South Pole Race he’d done in 2009 with James Cracknell. However, I’m not so sure that this means that MdS is going to be easy. I think that there’s “tough” and then there’s “extra tough”, although one of the scraggy rowers in the queue had run MdS the year before and said that I’d have a fantastic time. I even got to pose for a photgraph with Ben, although as you can see from the results it looks like someone’s been drinking as the photo is in double vision and I’ve made matters worse by trying to photoshop out the blur. Oops! Maybe not one for the photo album but a pic’s a pic! Thanks, Ben.