Waltz Matilda in Sahara
IF you are going somewhere to recuperate from seven days running across the Sahara Desert, then Paris is just about as good as it gets.
Former Grafton man Paul Goldman, along with wife Nadene, is putting his feet up in the French capital after what must be described as one of the most gruelling endurance races on the planet.
Forty-year-old Paul needs plenty of rest after completing the 250km Marathon Des Sables 2010.
Runners in the marathon covered 250km of the Sahara Desert in Morocco from April 2 to 10 completing the equivalent of 5.5 back-to-back marathons.
A field of 1090 competitors were registered at the start of the race.
It was the 25th year of the running of the marathon. This year there were 10 Australian competitors, nine men and one woman.
The Australian ages ranged from 29-53 years. All of the competitors needed to be self-sufficient for the race. Paul was struggling to get all of the equipment that he needed packed before he left.
“Over the weekend I sat down and went through all the food and supplements, first aid etc that I want to take,” he said.
“That weighed in at around 9kg. That’s without a toothbrush, a pair of boxer shorts or even water.”
Paul completed the event in 41hr, 26min 33 sec in position 286, about 21hr 41 min 24 sec behind the leader, Mohamad Ahansal (1 – Morocco).
During the race Paul received support and encouragement from his family in Coffs Harbour as well as friends locally and internationally and his Grafton family (Sandra and Robert Lollback) in Hong Kong.
They were caring for Paul’s three children (Edward, Charlotte and Sophie) in Hong Kong.
Paul was one of 250 competitors who was wearing the RaceTracker GPS technology that allowed his family and friends around the world to watch his progress in real time.
It also allowed them to send messages.
One message sent by friends of Paul’s holidaying in Yamba compared the race to pushing a pram loaded with 12kg up Movie Hill at Yamba.
His mother, Patricia, was relieved that the technology also included a distress button.
If Paul had been lost, like one of the other competitors was, race organisers would have been able to quickly locate him with the technology.
Unfortunately one of the competitors, who was not wearing the GPS RaceTracker technology, did spend the night in the desert, waiting to be found the next day by the fleet of helicopter and race officials.
Paul, like many other runners, was racing for charities.
In his case the beneficiaries were Hamlin Fistula Relief as well as the Children’s Cancer Foundation of Hong Kong.
Through Paul’s employers staff donation support program, the Macquarie group foundation matched all his funds raised dollar for dollar.
Paul to date has raised $26,185 AUD for his charities, which will be matched by his employer Macquarie Bank, bringing his donations to $52,370 AUD.
Paul has come a long way since he began his education in the Catholic system at Grafton in the late 1970s.
He left St Al’s in 1985 to complete his high schooling in Sydney.
Paul is now the division director, foreign exchange division - fixed income, currencies and commodities for Macquarie Group Limited.
THE best result from an Australian came from Stuart Gibson, 33, and he has become the first Aussie to finish in the top 12 of the race.
Gibson finished in 11th place overall in a time of 25H31’45. Gibson lost 18 per cent of his body weight, dropping from 73kg down to 59kg.