"Never will I take part in a stage race, nor run in the sand, nor dive into the unknown... I don't even want to think about it!" Yet, one should never say never, since the person who wrote these words, Gediminas GRINIUS (D236-LTU), is about to take the start of the MDS PERU, together with some 300 other competitors.
This 38-year-old Lithuanian soldier doesn't have much to fear – except, perhaps, the strong Peruvian sun beating down on his shaved head... The winner of the Ultra-Trail World Tour 2016 has hit the top of the rankings for the world’s toughest ultras (1st in Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji 2015, 2nd in UTMB 2016), but has no experience of desert or stage racing. Nonetheless, he's one of the favourites of this first MDS PERU.
One may argue that Gediminas did nothing special to prepare the event that will immerse him in a week of unknown situations. But his physical and mental resources should enable him to cope, all the more since he has clearly stated that he's coming for the challenge, the discovery and definitely not for the ranking or the victory: "It's more an adventure and an inner exploration that a real race – it's a sort of new experience where victory is not the main goal. Of course, I have hopes...but isn't that a bit crazy?
The Lithuanian is expecting to suffer during this week – "but that's part of the game." His life will be made complicated by the heat, the sand, the lack of recovery, the rationed food, a backpack heavier than on standard ultra-trails, and opponents with much more experience than him of this type of event...but isn't that exactly what these crazy fans of extreme events are looking for?