Resolution IT Sponsors New Shoes for Local Marathon des Sables Participant
We sat down with James Le Gallez, a former member of the Resolution IT team and running enthusiast, to discuss his upcoming participation in the Marathon des Sables, also known as “the toughest footrace on earth”; a 250km ultra-distance race across the Sahara that will put both his mental and physical limits to the test. Resolution IT has sponsored the high performance running trainers that James will need to wear during the 250km race.
This isn’t just about personal achievement; James is also running to support some important causes. He’s raising funds for Autism Guernsey, the Guernsey Society for Cancer Relief, and Jersey Hospice Care. If you’re interested in following his journey or supporting the charities he’s running for, we’ve provided some useful links at the end of the interview.
Why is footwear so important for a race of this scale?
I’ll be running for more than six hours each day, and even upwards of 10 hours on the 85km stage, across a variety of terrain: sand, rubble, trails, you name it. So, getting the right shoes with the perfect fit is absolutely crucial. I’ll also need two pairs—one for training and and an identical pair for racing. A pair of trainers with more than 800km usage should ideally be replaced to minimise the risk of injury. Considering I’ve still got 1,500km of training left, plus another 250km for the actual race, that second pair is essential. A huge thanks to Resolution IT for supporting me financially—it’s not just a physical endeavour, it’s a hefty financial one too!
What inspired you to take part in this race? And why now?
A documentary on the Marathon des Sables featuring British Olympic rower James Cracknell caught my eye years ago. I was in my early 20s, not at all into running, but that gruesome scene of him popping foot blisters stuck with me (of all things). Fast forward to a couple of years ago when I took up running, and it resurfaced in my mind. I was running out of local races to participate in and started looking further afield. So one Sunday evening, I messaged my boss for sponsorship, thinking to myself “surely not”, but, unfortunately for me, they actually said yes!
What kind of training is involved for a race of this calibre and how is it going so far?
I train six days a week, following a specific pattern. Tuesdays consist of an easy 8km run, Wednesdays are for tempo runs of around 15km with intervals, Thursdays are another easy 8-10km, Fridays are short 4-5km jogs, and the weekends are for serious distance. Saturdays vary from 20km to 60km, while Sundays are for recovery but can still range from 12km to 40km. Peak training will happen in February with back-to-back 100+km weeks.
So far, so good. I’m in month five of a 10-month plan, at the time of writing I’d just come off the back of a big training block of 300km over three weeks and I fell short of the mark on the last weekend due to exhaustion, but it was a firm lesson and I’ll be ready for the next training peak.
Keep in mind, I’ve only been running for a couple of years, and before that, I had a BMI of 35 and smoked a pack of cigarettes daily—no athletic history to make this easier.
Is there anything you’ve had to give up or sacrifice in order to train?
Truthfully, not really. I’m fortunate that my only responsibility is a four-legged loaf of bread that sleeps sixteen hours plus a day, so I can dedicate quite a lot of time to running. Ultra-training does demand a considerable time commitment—at least 10-15 hours per week if you’re serious. However, as the race nears, I’ll need to tighten up on my diet a bit.
How can other organisations support you?
Sadly, events like this are often only accessible to those with significantly deeper pockets. The race fee alone is over £4,000, and that’s not counting another £1,000 for equipment and all the training hours. Fortunately, my employer, Redwood Group, has covered the race entry cost, but I still need about £1,000 for the rest of the specialist ultralight equipment. That includes a £300 sleeping bag that I’ll be carrying through the desert for a week! If any businesses can follow in Resolution IT’s footsteps and assist me with equipment costs, I’d be eternally grateful.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get home after the race?
Maybe go for another run? But definitely, I’ll start planning the next challenge. I’ve got my eyes set on qualifying for the UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc), the most prestigious trail running event out there. It covers 106 miles and features a staggering 10,040 metres of ascent—that’s 2,000m more than Everest! The qualification is a long process, so maybe by 2025 or 2026. Also, go to the Co-op and buy a jar of Nutella and wipe it out in one sitting, no surrender.