The Sahara Race involves 250km across the Namib desert in Namibia, taking on sand dunes, salt pans, rocky paths and dry riverbeds. The first five of the six stages range from 37 to 77km (23 to 48 miles) with a 10km (6 mile) stage to finish.
The sand dunes in the Namib desert are the largest known, some 300 metres in height and 20 miles long. May sees sharp changes in temperature from 35C in midday heat to freezing at night.
As this is a self-supported event Fiona had to carry all clothes and food, only water was supplied. Difficulties started before the race when Fiona’s bags were lost by South African Airlines. As this included specialist freeze dried food, it was not possible to replace.
The second day comprised 26 miles of sand dunes, which she completed in just over six and a half hours, which is hard to imagine for anyone who has run a marathon on solid ground in normal temperatures.
After finishing all stages Fiona was placed 55th overall of over 200 runners who started the race. She was the eleventh woman. After the race she revealed that she had cracked a rib during the event, but still continued.
The other three races still lie ahead of her each year, and promise as many challenges!
No Meat Athlete is a great running resource. Full disclosure: 50% of any book you buy on there goes to support this website but there's also a ton of free resources there.