Desert rose challenge complete

Master Corporal Tanya Gendron
Master Corporal Tanya Gendron of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School successfully completed the Trophée roses des sables challenge solo. Photo: Servir

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By Yves Bélanger – Servir

Master Corporal Tanya Gendron of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, successfully completed the Trophée roses des sables challenge in October. She crossed the Moroccan desert alone on a quad (four-wheeler) in a life-changing adventure that she will remember for a long time.

The second morning of the expedition, only 15 minutes into the course, she fell off a cliff with her vehicle. “I thought that my adventure was going to end there. Fortunately, people helped me put the quad back on its wheels and get it started again. The incident held me up a lot, but at least I was able to continue,” she said.

On another day, she lost some equipment and got lost in the desert. “I found myself stuck in a dry riverbed with no shovel,” she said. Luckily, two Berbers came to the rescue. “At first, I found it stressful, because they were asking me for money and I was saying no. They finally agreed to give me a hand to get me out of that unfortunate situation.”

Although she did very well in general, she admits that the experience was harder than she expected, saying, “The mental part was the toughest. Our days were jam-packed and we were often forced to question ourselves.”

She feels that her military training was extremely useful in various situations. “I was good at managing stress. The master corporal course that I had just taken enabled me to quickly make decisions and take responsibility for them,” she said. Her topography training was also a major asset.

She explained that, throughout the adventure, she had good and bad days, saying, “I managed to achieve a decent ranking every second day.” She finished third in the solo category, which had six participants.

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