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MDS leaves big impression on Reader

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By Mike Cote

Having to deal with insane heat, temperature swings of nearly 100 degrees, hard-to-navigate terrain and more didn’t seem to faze Garth Reader one bit.
In fact, it couldn’t have worked out a lot better.
Reader, 50, a local ultra-runner, finished in the top three among United States competitors and No. 9 in his age group at this month’s Marathon Des Sables, held in the western Sahara Desert in the country of Morocco.
Reader finished the race in 30 hours, 55 minutes, 57 seconds to finish 110th overall in the competition which featured more than 1,000 competitors.
“I exceeded all expectations going in,” said Reader of the nearly weeklong competition in northwestern Africa. “I thought I ran a pretty smart race. I ran a little conservative, not knowing what to expect.”
The race cuts right through the desert and is separated into five stages of varying length. Despite the race being run in one of the harshest environments in the world, it is well organized with volunteers and medical staff and the course is well marked so competitors don’t take a wrong turn somewhere.
In the race, along with having to deal with temperatures which peaked at 125 degrees and dropped down into the 30s, competitors are responsible for bringing along their own food and carry it with them.


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