Manitoba teacher finishes gruelling Sahara Desert ultramarathon to raise funds for people living with disabilities
After conquering Mount Everest in 2019, a Winnipeg man set his sights on another extreme challenge, and another chance to raise money for people living with disabilities.
Dalip Shekhawat is back in Winnipeg after completing Marathon des Sables - a gruelling six-day, 250-kilometre ultramarathon through the Sahara Desert.
He said the trying physical test felt like a fitting next challenge after climbing Earth’s highest mountain.
"Everest was the coldest, so I thought, ‘why don't I do something opposite of that?’ So I chose the toughest foot race on earth, which happened to be in the Sahara Desert,” Shekhawat told CTV News.
The ultramarathon is held annually in southern Morocco.
Participants have to be self-sufficient throughout the race, meaning they must carry their food, water, shelter, and personal supplies throughout the event.
The 35th edition of the race was postponed from April 2020 due to the pandemic, and finally took place in October.
Out of roughly 670 participants, only half finished this year's race, including Shekhawat.
He used the race to raise money for St.Amant Foundation. He works as a special education teacher for the organization, and also raised funds for it when climbing Mount Everest.
“The funds raised will help to buy speech and communication devices, upgrade the mobility devices and optimize the community participation for the clients we support,” Shekhawat said.
He estimates he raised around $3,000.
While Shekhawat acknowledges there are easier ways to raise money for St.Amant Foundation, the race offered a meaningful opportunity for reflection.
“I chose to do the harder way so that I can simulate the pain they go through, so I feel through my run and contemplate my life. It was a time for self-reflection and a time to give back to the community,” he said.