Mirjam Pol still fighting post Covid

Lisa Cavalli
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This year’s Dakar 2025 presentation will be stretched over three days – 17, 18 and 19 May – and will take place in northern Spain. Traditionally, registration for participation opens afterwards. Mirjam Pol, three-time Dakar winner in the women’s bike classification, was forced to pass up the last rally. Post covid threw a spanner in the works. She still suffers daily from the symptoms due to post covid. How is she doing now and where does she stand when it comes to the Dakar, so close to the presentation?

“At the moment, everything I do still takes energy. The most normal activities in life that a healthy person doesn’t even think about – like doing grocery shopping, for instance – consume energy. Sometimes, when I really need to, I try to force myself to expend energy but I have to pay for it the following days. Everything you read and hear about post-covid patients; the severe and prolonged fatigue and cognitive complaints, that’s what I’m stuck with too,” she reveals.

‘Just’ healthy

The rally will be held as late as January but will require long and tough preparation. How does Pol picture it all? “I do have a hundred possible scenarios, including Dakar 2025 next January and my 20th anniversary the following year, but also scenarios like; how will I continue if it doesn’t get any better than this? Basically, it’s just guessing, only time can eventually bring more clarity. Apart from Dakar, of course, I first have to get back to ‘normal’ health, not entirely unimportant. As for treatment, there is still no cure, I am absorbing all possible information about research and treatments, at home and abroad, I am on top of everything. So far, I only met one doctor who told me the truth; ‘we don’t know it either and everything we do is basically trial-and-error’. Not exactly hopeful but honest and clear. I have immersed myself in all kinds of scientific research and treatments and the ones I believe can help me, I try.” 


The normally positive and good-humoured rider of motorbikes admits that being positive is sometimes quite difficult for her at this point. She herself puts it this way: “Indeed, it doesn’t sound very positive at the moment but that’s the way it is. Keep in mind, everything is relative. I have faced and been through worse things in life. The world is not falling apart. You must see it like this, I am now standing at a crossroads where I don’t know how long I can stay there, where to go to or where those roads will eventually lead to. All options are still open, positive or negative, nothing has been ruled out. Knowing myself, I will get going again at some point and whichever way I go, I will manage to make the most of it. For now, Dakar 2025 is written on my calendar, as usual.”

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