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Extreme Athlete Writes Book About the World’s Toughest Race While Running It

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Running the Marathon des Sables—a six-day, 156-mile race through the Sahara desert in Morocco—is hard enough, without attempting to write a book while doing it. That’s exactly what Nisha Harish accomplished. Using her phone in place of her pen, Harish chronicled her experiences while running through the extreme conditions for nearly a week. Each runner in the Marathon des Sables, widely considered the toughest foot race on the planet, is responsible for carrying all of her gear she’ll use during the race. Needless to say, Harish took into account every item she needed to carry. Here’s her take on it:

“‘The more a runner carries, the slower he or she will be,’ Nisha advised. ‘The slower the runner, the higher the risk of missing the time limits stipulated at each checkpoint, and the longer the runner will have to spend on their feet. The more time spent on their feet, the more likely it will be to sustain an injury. All runners have to weigh the consequences versus the benefits of what we carry.'”

To get Harish’s full take on the Marathon des Sables, buy her book here. Below is a visual journey of the most difficult race in the world.

Competitors at the start of the Marathon des Sables in Rissani (Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors at the start of the Marathon des Sables in Rissani. (Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors take part in a stage of the Marathon des Sables between Oued Moungarf and Ba Hallou in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors take part in a stage of the Marathon des Sables between Oued Moungarf and Ba Hallou in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
A competitor climbs a dune some 300 kilometers south of Ouarzazate. (Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images)
A competitor climbs a dune some 300 kilometers south of Ouarzazate. (Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors receive treatment for their feet during the second stage. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors receive treatment for their feet during the second stage. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors rest and eat at their bivouac during the Marathon des Sables between Oued Moungarf and Ba Hallou. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors rest and eat at their bivouac during the Marathon des Sables between Oued Moungarf and Ba Hallou. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
A competitor is greeted by children in the village of Taouz. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
A competitor is greeted by children in the village of Taouz. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
A competitor takes part in the 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables on April 10, 2016 in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
A competitor takes part in the 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables on April 10, 2016, in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors take part in Stage 3 of the 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables between Oued Moungarf and Ba Hallou in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert on April 12, 2016. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors take part in Stage 3 of the 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables between Oued Moungarf and Ba Hallou in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert on April 12, 2016. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors rest and eat at their bivouac. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors rest and eat at their bivouac. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
A competitor receives treatment for their feet at the end of the third stage. Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
A competitor receives treatment for his feet at the end of the third stage. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors take part in the 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables on April 10, 2016 in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Competitors take part in the 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables on April 10, 2016, in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian Natalia Sedykh celebrates after crossing the finish line during the last stage of the 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables between Hassi Tarfa and Bou Makhlouf in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert on April 15, 2016. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian Natalia Sedykh celebrates after crossing the finish line during the last stage of the 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables between Hassi Tarfa and Bou Makhlouf in the southern Moroccan Sahara desert on April 15, 2016. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images)