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I really must be mad, well everyone taking part must be a little mad to take on a 251km, 6 Marathon Fun run with 10-12kgs strapped to their backs across the ‘Sables’, with the only thing being guaranteed; dehydration, blisters, sores, pain and the hardest mental wall one has ever had to break through.

michael_burke-300x225There were some of the thoughts going through my head when it actually dawned on me what I had agreed to undertake, after spending 2 hours on You Tube, I had take a several hour break from work and mentally accept the challenge. Up to that point my training was 2 sessions a week, but shortly after, it increased to 4 sessions with Yoga class’s to keep away the injuries. But all things considered, I realise along with my training partners, Peter Galbraith, Ulick Burke (Cousin) and Brian De Francesca, that we live and work in the Desert (Dubai), we live, train and run in the heat, on the sand and have a massive advantage to prepare in more perfect conditions than everyone else. Yes, we were late entries, except Brian, but, we have a massive advantage that we must and are using to catch up fast. Yes, most of the other runners are far more experienced, but by the end of October, we will be doing 4 runs a week in the heat, 2 on the sand of 30km per run, 2 on the track, staying off the road to protect the joints, and from November, we can start to slowly add weight on our backs in the sand.

Mentally we are there, that part we are confident in and with the conditions and the location of our home and where we live and the team spirit and motivation we have, we will be at that start line, thinking, yes, I’m ready for this. I’m really ready for this. (Don’t know if I will be saying it 15 hours into the 81km part, but what the heck)

My Name is Michael Burke, I’m 32, Married for a year and a half to a beautiful wife (Negar) who is supporting me in my mad, crazy challenge, I run 3 small businesses, Landscaping, Real Estate, Relocation Services with 80 staff in the Middle East, I have been here full time for 7/8 years, and part time for 2/3 years before that. I was last fit in 2004 when I ran Belfast, Berlin and Dublin Marathons in 4 months back to back, since then I had bloated to 103kgs in 2011, before coming back down to 99kgs and in the last 6 weeks of intensive training my weight is now resting at 96kgs and heading towards my race weight of 90- 92kgs . I have an addictive personality and can be extremely focused, single minded and stubborn when needed, but my main positive ability apart from my generosity is my multitasking organisational operational ability and decision making capabilities and the gift of passing stress on and not succumbing to it personally.

I hope the money I raise will make a difference and while I admit that part of my motivation is personal, to make up for it, I’m backing and matching the money I raise with my own money (up to 10K).

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