Michelle Slater’s journey from Buckie to Marrakech was full of challenges
Michelle Slater, a 47-year-old marathon runner from Buckie, had to face a series of obstacles before she could participate in the Marrakech Marathon on January 29, 2023. Her trip from Scotland to Morocco was anything but smooth, as she encountered flight delays, lost luggage, and a taxi scam. However, she did not let these difficulties stop her from achieving her goal of completing the 26.2-mile race.
Michelle, who works as a nurse at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, had booked her flight with Ryanair from Edinburgh to Marrakech, with a stopover in Madrid. She was supposed to arrive in Morocco on Friday, January 27, but her flight from Edinburgh was delayed by two hours due to bad weather. This meant that she missed her connecting flight in Madrid and had to spend the night at the airport.
The next day, she managed to get on another flight to Marrakech, but her luggage did not arrive with her. She had to wait for another four hours at the airport until her suitcase was delivered. She then took a taxi to her hotel, but the driver charged her 400 dirhams (about £30), which was four times the normal fare. She later found out that she had been ripped off by a rogue taxi driver who had tampered with the meter.
Michelle ran the marathon with borrowed shoes and clothes
Despite all the setbacks, Michelle was determined to run the marathon on Sunday, January 29. She had trained hard for the event, which was her fifth marathon and her first one abroad. She had also raised more than £1000 for the Archie Foundation, a charity that supports sick children and their families in the north of Scotland.
However, she faced another challenge when she realized that she had left her running shoes and clothes in her suitcase, which was still at the airport. She had to borrow a pair of shoes from a fellow runner and some clothes from the hotel staff. She also had to buy a new running belt and some energy gels from a local shop.
She said: “I was so stressed and anxious about the whole situation. I had no idea if I would be able to run the marathon or not. I had to improvise and make do with what I had. I was very lucky that the people I met were so kind and helpful. They lent me their shoes and clothes and gave me some advice on how to deal with the heat and the altitude.”
Michelle finished the marathon in four hours and 45 minutes
Michelle finally made it to the start line of the Marrakech Marathon, which attracted more than 8000 runners from around the world. The course took them through the city’s historic landmarks, such as the Koutoubia Mosque, the Bahia Palace, and the Majorelle Garden. The weather was sunny and warm, with temperatures reaching 25°C.
Michelle said: “It was a beautiful and scenic route, but it was also very challenging. The heat and the altitude were tough to cope with. I had to drink a lot of water and electrolytes to stay hydrated. I also had to deal with some blisters and chafing from the borrowed shoes and clothes. But I kept going and tried to enjoy the experience as much as I could.”
She crossed the finish line in four hours and 45 minutes, which was 15 minutes slower than her personal best. She said: “I was so happy and relieved to finish the marathon. It was a huge achievement for me, considering all the problems I had faced. I was proud of myself for not giving up and for overcoming the adversity. I also felt very grateful for all the support I had received from my family, friends, and the Archie Foundation.”
She added: “It was a trip from hell, but it was also a trip of a lifetime. I learned a lot from this adventure and I gained a lot of confidence and resilience. I also made some new friends and saw some amazing sights. It was a memorable and rewarding experience that I will never forget.”