31eMDS 2016 GB bande-course

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Hiroaki UEDA (D797-JPN) and Erika UEDA (D798-JPN)

Rising sun honeymooners choose MDS destination

Sand, sun, an exotic destination…what honeymooners are generally in search for when choosing a holiday destination. Add to that extreme sport and the honeymoon cocktail is served.

Some propose at MDS, some get engaged at MDS …and others honeymoon at MDS.
Like Hiroaki UEDA (0797 JPN) and Erika UEDA (0798 JPN), two young Japanese runners who decided jointly to take on this challenge together.

The soft-spoken, fresh-faced Erika explains “When I saw the movie of MDS last year I was so inspired I wanted to do this race with my husband. I thought if we could overcome and finish this together, we could stay together until death us do part”.
She goes on to explain that they trained together at weekends and separately during the week. The couple work in the hospitality industry in Tokyo. “It’s our first trip to Morocco and our first experience of the desert. It’s totally different from the urban environment in Tokyo.”

I ask if her husband waits for her after every stage. She giggles shyly “The first 2 days he was waiting for me at the finish but after the third stage I got in earlier than he expected and he was still in the tent.”

Hiroki admits that he and his wife have more than a passion for sport in common “We’re both crazy” he says laughing “This is our first multi-stage event. We only started running 3 or 4 years ago. Last year one of my tent mates persuaded me to enter the MDS. So far it has been great. The scenery is awesome. I’m really having fun. In Japan we only have small deserts but there is much higher humidity.

I ask them what food they brought. “Only Japanese food – freeze-dried rice of course.
We’ve met a lot of crazy people from all over the place – Guatemala, the US, Canada, French. That’s also why we chose to come here.”

He’s so bubbly and positive, surely he must have suffered a little? “The first day in the dunes was the hardest. I’m not apprehensive about the long stage. I’m going to alternate walking and running. I’ll see. We never run together, we each run our own race.

I ask what their plans are for after the race. “We’re going to extend our honeymoon and travel in Europe a little.

We ask them for a romantic shot with the rising sun in the background and shyly the couple pose with that certain reserve so representative of Japanese culture.