''MY BIGGEST OPPONENT IS MYSELF''
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Joel Juht, currently training for the sand run, is seeking a team, support and direction for charity

Dance instructor and athlete Joel Juht, who will be heading to the sand marathon or Marathon Des Sables in the Moroccan desert this spring, has reached a time where in addition to training he also needs to find a team to support him throughout. Joel is also planning on tying his challenge to charity.

Joel, the first training sessions have been completed, the first difficulties overcome; have you realized you aren’t really going to do this alone?

That’s true. You can do something alone at home, but preparing for this ultra-marathon still requires a team to help shoulder your burdens and help along, so this great personal goal of mine can be achieved.

Do you already have an idea of what kind of team you’d ideally need, and who these people might be? I’m sure even our top athletes include very few, who have gone through this kind of ultra-marathon and who could advise you…

I definitely need someone to plan out my food and training burden. I need a specialized person for physical preparation with experience. I don’t really know yet what all I’ll end up needing. I can assemble my own equipment, but there are small details there as well, as every item in the backpack has its own weight. For example, I’d need a miniature night light that works under all conditions, a small battery charger, and there’s so many nuances that I can’t even think of everything today. I can exercise with items I already have. My body is taking such a beating right now that every person’s support works as motivation, you can see you’re being backed up, that someone’s helping. If you’re running a small distance, it’s not a problem, you can even have your mother by your side to motivate you, but 250 kilometers in the desert in 40-degree heat is a different story.

So you’re surpassing yourself, but you’ve understood that you can’t accomplish much without a team?

Even if I don’t manage to assemble a team, I’ll grit my teeth and do the marathon anyway. Then I’ll later joke about how Estonia is a small country so we all support each other and do stuff together. I’m not a sympathetic enough person for everyone to want to help me, but those who cooperate with me will benefit from it. This a test for myself as well and it’s not about hyping myself up, the point is for this to be a charity run. Even just assembling a team for such a good cause, to show athletes from a different angle — the point is not winning, but surpassing yourself for a purpose. I don’t know if this is a good enough reason for pros in their field, but I do know that if I do end up alone and someone needs a favor in the future, I’ll be blowing them off too.

Do you already know how you’ll be handling charity?

So far we’ve been in talks with Jõgeva county’s Siimusti orphanage and I’m currently waiting for their answer, to tie our charity campaign with them.

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