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Elisabet Barnes (D168, SUE)

The revelation of the desert

Having won every one of the legs of the Marathon des Sables 2015, Swede Elisabeth Barnes (Vest 168), is the first to admit that she is really surprised with her performance after 4 out of 4 leg wins to date. She’s stealing a march on her rivals and stretching out her lead in the women’s overall ranking to nearly 3 hours.

Looking fresh and still with a spring in her step after the long leg, the Swede, who lives in the UK with her husband, a previous Marathon Des Sables participant, came to the Sahara to complete the race above all else. “I probably run about 10 races a year and there are a number of races which are popular for those training for the Marathon des Sables so I used the Country to Capital and Pilgrims ultra in the UK to see how well I measure up. As such I knew I was in good shape but this is beyond my expectations.
On her way up to the top of the leaderboard, the Swede has put up a faultless performance. “My gameplan from the outset was to just run my own race. I saw Liza (Elizabeth Howard USA) and Laurence (Klein France) go off fast and I just let them go so as to run at a steady pace. I ran with some British guys who were aiming for a 12-hour time and I ran pretty much the whole thing with Edward Kerry (354) who runs at the same pace at me and we just kept running, making sure we drank our water and ate enough food and we encouraged one another along the way. I’m a tall build but I’m quite slim so I think my frame is an advantage in this race where you have to carry your own pack. That said, I knew from my experience in 2012 (15th in the Marathon des Sables) that I needed a smaller pack so it’s 4/5 kilos lighter this time (7k). Added to that, I think some people do too much training and they arrive here exhausted. I train for 7-10 hours a week and I was busy in March so I didn’t overdo it before I started.”
She hopes to link onto the London Marathon after completing this African ultra where she’s aiming for a sub-3hr time. In the meantime a win in the women’s category of this 30th Marathon des Sables 2015 is looking very likely.


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