”It will never end, you know. The Journey to your next right answer, and to more achievements, is and ongoing path.” Mark Gillet

One year ago, on December 18th 2015, the world of photography, ultra adventures, the Marathon des Sables, and the Trans Atlas Marathon lost an amazing friend, Mark Gillet. Mark, was a caring, quiet, funny, genuine and super creative person. His bio included, being a photographer, filmmaker, ultra runner, tennis player, father, life coach, teacher, and a man with a very open mind to the world in which he traveled.

"The smell of North African and Middle Eastern countries is unique and it always takes me back to my first visits in the early 80’s to Abu Dhabi. Morocco is not different. The only infuriating bit is the way these countries are portrayed in the media or by ignorant beings who rarely step out of their little worlds even when travelling to them." Mark Gillet

In 2006, Mark ran the Marathon des Sables, then he become one of the MDS iconic photographers for 8 years. I first met "photographer" Mark in 2011, on my first MDS run. He would walk around the MDS bivouac, camera by his side, making conversation, and taking an occasional photo. His warm friendly voice, with his British accent heard coming into our Berber tent, was a daily welcome. "Hello guys" was his signature greeting, followed by a story, or a joke.

Mark Gillet, visiting our American ultra family berber tent, Dave Mackey, Jay Batchen, Liza Howard, Meghan Hicks, not in photo Marissa Harris, Sarah Grey and Anthony Rodale.

"I have visited Morocco many times in the last 10 years, and each time it brings beautiful surprises, more great people, peace and shere awesomeness." Mark Gillet

*Editor's note, post the 2015 Marathon des Sables race, Mark sent me a few MDS race photographs to use on a personal blog article about my own 2015 MDS experience.  Here are those photographs to share with you all, and celebrate Mark's vision!

Mark and Jay Batchen at the 2015 Marathon des Sables. *note to viewer, this photo was taken on day 6 of 7 days of running. We are not always looking our best then.

Kirsten Kortebein "During our first time photographing the Marathon des Sables, Mark took Jacquline Kantor and me under his wing. We were both still in college, and trying to figure out the crazy world of freelance journalism. We were unsure about what we were doing. Mark, one night told us, " Most people just talk about "doing." You two are actually doing! Keep doing."

Rachid El Morbity
Mohamad Ahansal
Samir Akhdar, Danny Kendall and Aziz El Akad
Dave Mackey
Marco Olmo
Laurence Klein
Elisabet Barnes
Liza Howard
Meghan Hicks
The North American "brochette" Dave Mackey, Marissa Harris, Jay Batchen, Ricky Haro, Liza Howard, Meghan Hicks and Martin!

"Mohamad Ahansal is perhaps one of the greatest ever desert runners to date. Maybe the title of GOAT also applies. His running was spurred on initially by his brother Lahcen who won the MDS 10 times and Mohamad has one if 5 but also in a more competitive era with greater competition arriving from Europe and around the world. Both brothers are without doubt Legends in Morocco." Mark Gillet

Mohamad Ahansal

"Last night I arrived in Morocco for the first time in just over a year. The last time was to shoot for the Marathon Des Sables but I am here this year for a new race, The Trans Atlas Marathon. Travelling and filming with Chris O’Conner of CojoFilms." Mark Gillet

© Kirsten Kortebein, In May, of 2015, I asked Mark if he could photograph the Trans Atlas race for photo essay. Mark said, he couldn't because his father was ill and dying. He then told me, have Kirsten Kortebein make the photo essay, she will do a great job for you.

"The Trans Atlas Marathon looks tougher than most races I have seen. I know they are all difficult and I know the toughness is all about what you put in but these mountains are big. One quite incredible fact that has been pointed out is that the first three days is effectively 3 Ultras back to back. I don’t think there is a race in the world that does this." Mark Gillet

Mark, You have been an inspiration to us All! No Beginning, No End, See you at the Finish-line!

*If anyone has good Mark stories please post them in the comments to share.