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In her sec­ond Marathon des Sables (MdS), Bri­tain’s Gemma placed third woman.

What were your ex­pec­ta­tions be­fore MdS? I went there to es­cape from real life, with quite low ex­pec­ta­tions. Of course I wanted to fin­ish the week feel­ing I had worked hard and done my­self jus­tice, but most of all I was there to have as much fun as pos­si­ble.

How did you pre­pare dif­fer­ently this time?

This time round I was a bit more re­laxed and didn’t re­ally think about MdS un­til a train­ing camp in Lan­zarote in Jan­uary. That was a mas­sive help as the ter­rain is re­ally sim­i­lar to Morocco.

How did the race go for you? I had a ball out there, loved ev­ery sec­ond of it! Run­ning through the desert cer­tainly beats pound­ing the pave­ments of Lon­don.

What was the tough­est mo­ment?

Wak­ing up in the tent hav­ing slept through a sand­storm to find that the tent was on top of me and I was trapped, un­able to move with the sound of ham­mer­ing close to my head.

How does it feel to fin­ish in the top three? In­cred­i­bly sur­real. I feel like an im­poster.

What’s next for you?

I’m not sure, got any good sug­ges­tions? I’d love to work on my weak­nesses and im­prove as an ath­lete.

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