Another Desert Down

Mary Boggs has been keeping up with the journey of Eric LaHaie, who has now completed his race across the Sahara Desert. Running in memory of former Crimson teammate Niall Murphy, LaHaie raised $13,000 for juvenile diabetes with his run.

Here’s what LaHaie emailed to Boggs:

The overall experience of raising funds and running the Sahara Race in Niall’s name has been a rewarding experience. For me it has helped a little with the pain of losing such a great friend. It reminded me daily (through donations) how many people loved and respected Niall, and at the same time missed him dearly just like me. He was such a great individual and we will never forget him, and this campaign was just one way of showing that.

The race itself was also very rewarding. I raced hard and really wanted to win, but I had one or two tough moments out on the course (de-hydration on Day 2 with cramps being the biggest) that set me back and kept me from the top spot. But I was happy with second place as I know I tired my hardest and put in a solid effort. The winner of the race was a good friend of mine from Hong Kong who I train with often. I felt it fitting that in a race where I was running to honor a friend, that I was running with and competing against a friend too. So very happy that Dan took the top spot if I couldn’t.

This is the the 3rd 250k desert race I have done, and I have also done a 100k desert race and 3 smaller 40-50k races in deserts as well. But I don’t only run across deserts, but I also do trail running, mountain ultras, adventure races, etc. I really started in 2008 when I moved to Hong Kong and my first ultra was a 100k trail / mountain race that same year across Hong Kong’s Machelose Trail called the the Oxfam Trailwalker. Since then I have done all kinds of events as mentioned above (including the 3 x 250k races and 3 x 100k races).

My move into endurance running was really a lifestyle choice. I decided to stop drinking and going out late, and instead traded that in for getting up early on weekends and exploring all of Hong Kong wonderful outdoors (which very few people outside HK know about). Running was always my stress release, but now I let it become more. It is a way for me to explore the world and travel, which I love doing, and it was allowed me to push myself to new limits.

I am hooked indeed, and on my flight back from the Egypt to Hong Kong today (less than 48 hours after completing the race), I started thinking about what’s next. I think UTMB 2012 maybe, which is 100 miles across the French and Swiss Alps. If I can’t get into that, as registration is limited, than another 100-miler in Leadville, Colo., maybe. (A) 100-mile race (straight) is something I have never done, so time to check it off the list!

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