In 2019, the idea of organising a challenge was on the minds of people passionate about travel, bushcraft, sport and overcoming mental and physical limits. "A journey" different to any they had taken part in before, bringing together people from different backgrounds, their resources, their passions and having a goal that no one had achieved before.

The idea, which was to run 100 miles across the powdery sand and steep dunes of the Great Eastern Erg to the heart of the Sahara, is an endeavour that no one has done before - given the terrain and distance to be covered. This is how the project, tentatively named the Sahara Run, was born, driven by ultramarathoners challenging the largest desert in the world. Piotr Hercog, Rafał Bielawa and Kamil Klich are ultra runners, record holders, participants of the most difficult long-distance runs not only in Poland, but also in the world. The owner of the JONIEC® company, Mieczysław Joniec, who loves the Sahara, offroad, motor sports and has been supporting passionate athletes for years, was involved in the planned expedition from the beginning. The team also included Tomasz Lorek, who with Mieczysław Joniec had participated in previous 4x4 expeditions in Algeria and Tunisia.

The expedition, planned for February 2020, was unfortunately thwarted by an outbreak of pandemic and the project was postponed indefinitely. Less than a month ago, the unrealised project was pulled out of the drawer and thrown on the table again.

Determination to achieve a goal

The tremendous determination of the initiators of the venture meant that the refreshed project began to take shape. The runners, Piotrek, Kamil and Rafał, did not let up. Rafał Bielawa still glances at his bag, packed at the beginning of 2020, as it has been lying in the same place ever since. And he waits. This bag has been a daily reminder to the record holder of the Main Beskid Trail (GSB) of what he still has to face. The JONIEC® company decided to fully fund the project, provide support and expedition equipment, while Tomek Lorek bundles all the elements of the expedition together and minimises any obstacles that arise.


On 25 January, two expedition vehicles (Toyotas Land Cruiser 100 and 200) supporting the expedition will set off from Poland to Tunisia with all their equipment. Most of the participants will arrive in Tunis on 28 January. The caravan will then set off for the desert of the Great Eastern Erg. From there, a run across the mounded sand to the heart of the Sahara will begin.

Nine people will take part in the expedition, including three runners and six people supporting the ultramarathoners. The return to the country is scheduled for 14 February.

Help for paralysed Sebastian Ocimek

The Joniec Sahara Run's partner is the Krystian Popiel Foundation Let's Share a Smile because an additional aim of the whole event is to raise funds for the rehabilitation and adaptation to the daily challenges of the family home of the paralysed, 19-year-old Sebastian Ocimek. The Foundation will help us organise the collection and donate the entire amount raised to Sebastian.

Sebastian became paralysed in 2020, in his debut senior match, after colliding with a goalkeeper. A day that was supposed to be one of the happiest of this young lad's life turned into a nightmare. The diagnosis was devastating - cervical spinal cord injury, paralysis of the arms and legs

Before the accident, Sebastian lost two brothers: 15-year-old David, who died of leukaemia, and 4-month-old Patrick, a premature baby who could not be saved. Seba has three other siblings. Sebastian's mother has devoted herself to his care

There are hopes, however. The spinal cord has not been severed. We have also received information that work is being carried out on a chip that, when implanted in a paralysed man's body, could help him get back on his feet. Until then, Sebastian must be kept fit. In order to do so, constant rehabilitation is necessary, the monthly cost of which is between four and five thousand zloty. Therefore, in accordance with the participants and partners of the expedition, on the occasion of the Joniec Sahara Run, we would like to organise a collection for this brave boy. At the same time, the JONIEC® company has declared to donate an additional 10% of the collected amount to Sebastian at the end of the collection.

Setting new boundaries

We believe that by sharing common values and looking in a similar direction, the event we are part of will help to spread the idea of sport and the role of body fitness in our lives. By realising and promoting this event we want to give people confidence in their abilities. So that all those who will follow the run of Kamil, Piotr and Rafał will believe that it is worth having dreams and realising them, that it is worth opening up to others and broadening their horizons. That it's always worth pursuing a goal with persistence. And finally, that we support each other and that sport is good for overcoming our weaknesses, helping not only ourselves but also those most in need.


Achievements to date of runners taking part in the JONIEC SAHARA RUN challenge

Piotr Hercog

  • Baikal Ice Marathon 42 km (Russia) - 1st place
  • Ultra Fiord Patagonia 170 km (Chile) - 1st place
  • Moab Endurance Race 395 km (USA) - 1st place
  • UTMB - 170 km (France) - 10th place
  • Ranking Ultra-Trail Word Tour Series 2014

Kamil Klich

  • BUT Challenge (305km) - 2nd place
  • STUMILAK (178km) - 2nd place
  • Beskidy ULTRA TRAIL (260km) - 1st place
  • The 7 Peaks Run (240km) - 3rd place
  • ZAMIEĆ - 1st place
  • GSB Main Beskid Track record holder (unsupported formula with R. Bielawa)

Rafał Bielawa

  • The 7 Peaks Run (240 km) - 1 place
  • The 7 Peaks Run (240 km) - 2nd i 3rd place
  • The Hardcore Butcher's Run (100 km) - 1st place
  • Record-holder of the Main Beskid Track (500 km) (in the version with support, breaking the record twice, and without support together with K. Klich)
  • Record holder for the Main Sudeten Route (approx. 440 km)