Running Tunisia: Right on Target


The running today was pretty tough. We ran over unvarying terrain: small sand dunes with grasses interspersed, flat as a pancake, except for the dunes. It was quite hot and the footing was difficult so we didn't really talk at all for the first 25 kilometers because we were so tired. We did, however, find a lizard that was about two feet long, and we saw a camel spider.

For lunch, we had a potato-and-vegetable salad instead of our normal tuna-and-tomato sandwiches, so that was a nice change-up. Kajsa's knee was really bothering her and we didn't want her to really hurt herself, so we stopped early. I think all of us were glad to be done for the day. We just realized how dirty we are, with Jill's hair turning into dreadlocks from the filth and everyone looking forward to the prospect of washing off the sand in the shower tomorrow night. The guys are excited for a straight-razor shave when we get to Tunis, and the gals are ready to get rid of their manly armpit and leg hair.

The solid, good news: We ended up reaching our original goal of running 250 kilometers in the Sahara Desert! Tomorrow we're planning a celebratory short run of around 12 kilometers to bring our total to 275 kilometers. Following our run tomorrow, we're going to relax in the city of underground houses, Matmata, where the bar from Star Wars and the inside of Luke Skywalker's childhood home supposedly are. It'll be nice to get a chance to check out the culture of Tunisia rather than just the sand.

–Andrew Dilla

After completing his record run across Lake Baikalwith Kevin Vallely to draw attention to the global clean-drinking-watercrisis, Ray Zahab will return to Tunisia. The first time around, he starredin the documentary Running the Sahara, narrated and executive-produced by Matt Damon.This time, he will lead a group of four young adults–Andy Dilla, JillGilday, Connor Clerke, and Kajsa Heyes–across the desert as part of an i2Pexpedition to help raise funds and awareness for the water crisis inAfrica. The group will traverse 200 to 250 kilometers total, and theyaim tomake it through in about eight days, with the goal of running 25 to 50kilometers per day.