The Sahara Challenge
This April, Brian Grossman, 46, will brave the equivalent of six marathons over seven days, as he takes part in the “Toughest Foot Race on Earth,” the Marathon Des Sables. This excruciating race, which takes place in the Sahara Desert of Morocco, covers 250 kilometers over sand dunes and desert terrain with temperatures ranging from 40 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brian will strive to go the distance in the hope of raising awareness and support for KIDS in the GAME, a nonprofit focused on inspiring kids to thrive in life through sports. KIDS in the GAME provides financial assistance to help youth from low-income families, youth that are physically or mentally challenged, and kids that are “at-risk” gain access to sports programs.
Help Brian reach his Sahara Challenge fundraising goal of $50,000. Please Donate.
I first learned of the Marathon Des Sables 15 years ago and it immediately made the “bucket list.” But as the years progressed, it became a fleeting thought. In early January 2011, a plump 30 pounds overweight and desiring to make a change, I decided to take on the challenge of this race. No need for a mid-life crisis…..it is time for a mid-life ascension! During the 14 months of training, I have been motivated by a cause near and dear to my heart — positively impacting youth by getting and keeping kids in sports.
I am determined to complete this race. But vastly more important, I hope this quest to endure the desert over 7 days serves as an inspiration to unite people to support youth development by providing access to sports programs one kid at a time. So please join me as an “armchair” desert adventurer in support of the Sahara Challenge, and let’s get some kids in sports to better prepare them for the game of life!
Why Support KIDS in the GAME
KIDS in the GAME is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on inspiring kids to thrive in life through sports. In order to increase opportunities for youth to participate in sports regardless of ability, ethnicity or socioeconomic background KIDS in the GAME was developed. This national program makes it easy for anyone to help underserved youth participate in organized sports. Donations are used to help youth from low-income families, youth that are physically or mentally challenged, and kids that are at-risk gain access to sports programs.
Research studies overwhelmingly conclude that kids who participate in after-school athletic programs have:
- less misconduct and criminal activity
- higher levels of physical activity later in life
- better academic performance
- less substance abuse
- less teen pregnancy
- less obesity
“Kids pay better attention to their subjects when they’ve been active. Kids are less likely to be disruptive in the classroom when they’re active. They feel better about themselves, have higher self-esteem, less depression, less anxiety.” – Dr. Antronette Yancey, Director, UCLA School of Public Health
Despite the positive impact of sports, the statistics are staggering…
- 62% of kids ages 9-13 do not participate because of lack of funds
- 33% of American kids are overweight or obese by 3rd grade
- 70% drop out by age 13
- $3.5 billion eliminated from after-school sports programs during 2010-2011
Let’s Make A Change!
Every Kid Deserves a Chance to Play
About Marathon Des Sables
Dubbed the “Toughest Footrace on Earth,” the 2012 Marathon Des Sables will take place April 8-14, in the central part of Morocco through the Sahara Desert. It is a stage race, totaling approximately 250 kilometers over the course of 7 days, which is the equivalent of nearly 6 marathons. The race is self-supported, which means each participant must carry his or her own food, clothes and supplies for the duration of the race. Rationed water, tents, and medical care are provided. Daily temperatures will range from as low as 40 up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Sandstorms are common and may last anywhere from ten minutes to five hours.
Daily distances vary, but one consistent is the 80+ kilometer two-day nonstop stage, with time cut-off at checkpoints. The number of registered participants is capped at 1,000, but approximately 900 will show up at the start line as people drop out due to injury or coming to their senses. This year 29 Americans will participate in the race.
Marathon Des Sables Highlights
- Dates: April 8th-14th 2012
- Known as the “Toughest Foot Race on Earth”
- Race Distance: 250 km (80km longest stage through the night and the next day)
- 6 stages over 7 days
- 900+ racers from around the world participate (29 Americans)
- Self-supported: Racers must carry their food, clothes, supplies for the 7 days
- Marathon Des Sables Website click here
- ABC News Video about Marathon Des Sables
- April 7, 2012 New York Times Article