The Marathon des Sables is a six-day race across the Sahara Desert, is described as the 'world's toughest footrace,' and is the equivalent to running five and a half regular marathons through the desert while carrying everything on your back. In case that's not appealing enough, consider that midday temperatures heat up to 120 degrees, and about a fifth of the race takes place in the lovely footing of sand dunes.
So, yes, the race is brutal. But you also have to train.
A future MdS racer recently chose Teide, a volcano on Tenerife, Canary Islands, for a little pre-race workout. Teide is a worthy warmup, as the highest mountain in Spain and the highest mountain in any Atlantic island (12,198 ft. above sea level, and approximately 25,000 ft above the adjacent sea bed).
During his solo training session, he was caught in a torrential rainstorm, pushed to hypothermia, and deprived by nature of the majority of his gear.
You can read the first-person write-up HERE, but the advice he has for others following in his footsteps can be easily summed up.
1. Stay calm.
2. Always have an exact compass bearing.
3. Have a waterproof liner for your backpack.
4. Be in peak physical condition before you start.
5. Bring your Aquapac.
""I owe Aquapac a debt of gratitude. All of my electronics (camera, phone etc) were destroyed, except my PDA and Sat Nav which got me to safety. I was still in a pretty bad state, but I would certainly have died if my PDA/GPS had gone down. Fortunately that was in an Aquapac." -- Richard Weremiuk
LINK: What doesn't kill you makes you smarter