The Marathon Des Sables, with Murdo Anderson

Retired forward Murdo Anderson tackles the Marathon Des Sables, one of the worlds toughest endurance footraces.

In our multi-part blog series, former front-5 player Murdo Anderson takes us through his preparation for, and participation in the Marathon Des Sables 2018. Murdo is running the Marathon Des Sables in April to raise money for Doddie Weir and MND Scotland

It’s now less than a month before I go out to south Morocco to take part in the Marathon Des Sables. The Marathon Des Sables (MDS) is a 156 mile, multi-stage, self sufficiency, ultra marathon. So beyond all that jargon, basically I’ll be running a marathon a day for six days in 50 degree heat (and freezing at night) whilst carrying all my own provisions, food etc. for the week on my back.

until a few months ago I was never a runner.

I’ve always been very active and loved sports, but until a few months ago I was never a runner. After a recurring rugby injury forced me to hang up my boots (for a while at least) I was seeking adventure, a goal to focus on and something to really challenge me physically and mentally. So here I am.

This race seemed like the perfect opportunity as a platform to raise money for charity, so I have decided to raise money for Doddie Weir’s foundation – MY NAME’5 DODDIE – and MND Scotland. So far the fundraising is going very well on my Just Giving page – – and from several collection boxes and events.

I run every day now, varying from shorter sessions running up hills, to regular longer runs (13-18 miles). What I’ve really noticed is my recovery has improved hugely. I can now run long distances, day in day out with relative ease and wake up without aching legs.

My recovery has improved hugely… I can now run long distances day in day out, with relative ease and wake up without aching legs

The amount of kit I’m going through to help with this could probably build a small yacht! So I am hugely grateful to who have very kindly provided me with everything I need to help make training that bit easier. They have given me a selection of different types of kit which allow me to see what sort of stuff works for me, socks, compression wear, t shirts, running jumpers and jackets!

Over the past three months most of my running has been at night (or at least in the dark) so the fluorescent Ronhill jacket has kept me dry, windproof and most importantly safe. Rugbystore’s generous sponsorship has also made things much easier for me on a practical level – there are only so many washing machine cycles you can do in a week!

Keep up to date with my blog posts here on to see how my training is going and for more advice from me on what kit works for what purpose!

MURDO’S WINTER TRAINING KIT, and our sister website, supplied Murdo with a range of kit for his Marathon Des Sables training and preparation. Winter training in Scotland means dark runs in cold and challenging conditions.

CLICK HERE to see some of the kit Murdo has relied on for his winter training.

For the specialist running kit Murdo has been winter training in, CLICK HERE to see it on our sister website,

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About the author

Exposed to a multitude of adventures from a young age – kayaking, hill walking, rock climbing, even trekking in the Himalayas – Murdo Anderson has always loved sport. A very keen club rugby player, injury forced Murdo into early retirement and his focus shifted to ultra distance running. The appeal of testing both physical endurance and mental strength is what really gets him going. Who knows what he will attempt after the MDS!

Visit Murdo’s Just Giving page here:

Find out more about MY NAME’5 DODDIE, the charity set up by former Scotland lock Doddie Weir to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease.


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