Ryan Vanderweit, a 36-year old army veteran is all set to run in the Marathon Des Sables, a 250 km race covering the distance of approximately six regular marathons through the Sahara desert. The soldier is ready to go with a small package encompassing all essentials ranging from his clothes for six to seven days to easily digestible eatables. The bag also consists of a solar-powered battery to charge his phone and a venom extractor kit. Although, the race has been postponed till September because of the sudden outbreak of COVID-19.
The race is a challenging expedition with a week-long run through the sand with drastic temperature switches from 120 Fahrenheit during day hours to below freezing cold nights. The certified strength and conditioning specialist in the U.S. army has earned his Master in Sports Leadership from Northeastern University. He is well versed with the physical challenges that one faces during a marathon. Although he ran the Boston Marathon in 2016, he does not consider himself a runner enough to run 150 miles “Ultra Marathon”. However, his plan is to finish the race even if he has to crawl across the finish line, as he explained, at the comfort of Northeastern University’s Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Service Members.
The veteran is motivated with his mission to raise funds for the non-profit organisation called Home Base. Ryan is a health and fitness program director at Home Base that works in close coordination with Boston Red Sox and Massachusetts General Hospital. Vanderweit is undergoing a rigorous training program to prepare himself for the marathon. He also mentioned some of his military training tactics are proving to be useful during training and maybe in the marathon. He added, “Although I don’t have a background in running so this event is a daunting task, but with proper training, I’ll be able to overcome these challenges.” He also said that this marathon is a symbol of the pain and challenges that the veteran faces while coming to such organisations. “If they can face it then I can also” is the success of mantra of Vanderweit.