Anthony Rodale, Chair of Trustees for the Sustainable Food Trust, ran the Trans Atlas Marathon in June 2019 to raise money for the Sustainable Food Trust Harmony Project.
In training for the run, Anthony began thinking about principles of Harmony, in nature, the body, and the mind. This thinking evolved into the concept of the ‘Harmony Run’.
Three-time finisher of the infamous Marathon des Sables, including running to raise money for the SFT in 2015, Anthony was back this year with a new challenge.
The Trans Atlas Marathon, Morocco, is one of the most difficult Ultra Marathons in the world. TAM is an international, 6-day, 180-mile ultra marathon mountain running stage race. The race involves running approximately 30 miles per day up and down grueling Atlas Mountain Terrain, with an elevation over 6 days of 14,000 meters, following goat and sheep herding paths used for centuries in the most out of the way places.
The race took place from 7th – 17th June 2019
Read more about Anthony and his run on his own blog page here.
Background to the race
Mohamad Ahansal, Moroccan ultra running champion, 5 time winner of the Marathon des Sables, and his brother Lahcen Ahansal 10 time winner of the Marathon des Sables, created the “Trans Atlas Marathon” in 2012 to showcase a rare unvisited part of their Moroccan homeland.
The Trans Atlas Marathon course is run in the heart of Berber culture. This is an ancient North African tribal culture known for artisanal crafts, local subsistence farming and nomadic herding.
“The TAM Ultra racers will run and see amazing hidden rough and raw places, active farming communities growing food in challenged areas.”
Principles of Harmony
The Prince of Wales’ book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, is based on the premise that nature is our greatest teacher. He believes that, “economic and social development will best succeed when it works in harmony with Nature, rather than in conflict with it.” We live at a time when reductionist science and fragmented thinking predominate and we can see the effect of this in all manner of human activity, including architecture, agriculture and education. But through adopting the principles of Harmony, as set out by the Prince of Wales, we can see the world in a new way – a way which allows us to understand how everything is connected.
To read more about the Principles of Harmony click here
In 2017, Anthony participated and ran part of the Trans Atlas Marathon 5th edition course, May 2017. He was taken by the sheer beauty, the enormity of the Atlas Mountain landscape, immersed in a local Moroccan running community, a Berber culture in the heart of a very diverse sustainable agriculture system. This all set the perfect stage to connect to nature via a personal running journey, seen also as an adventure, a pilgrimage, a long meditation, awakening to the universe and learning about self.
“Its so much more than going for a run, more than sport.” Anthony Rodale
The Trans Atlas Marathon is a perfect event and place to link the principles of Harmony to the run, and to agriculture. Being fully immersed in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains for a week seeing nature, and the patterns of harmony within the rough mountain landscape, a thriving local sustainable culture, and witnessing a local mixed food production system in the most remote locations.
“I hope you feel inspired to consider harmony thinking as a call to action, as a result of which you can strengthen your actions to improve the harmony and sustainability of the food and farming systems in which you have involvement.” Patrick Holden
Agriculture in Morocco
The Atlas Mountains, where the race takes place, is a fascinating and beautiful landscape, home to a nomadic Berber population and subsistence farmers.