Local friends to Run 6 Marathons in Sahara Desert in 6 Days

17 March 2017

Local friends, Bruce Donald (44) and Tom Dove (27) are taking part in one of the worlds toughest challenges on 7th April in Sahara Desert called Marathon Des Sables.

But Marathon Des Sables isn't just any marathon, it's actually more than 156 miles, has 6 stages over 7 days. A long stage 52+ miles too. Runners with have to be self-sufficient but with water rations and will see temperatures of 50+ degrees centigrade.

When Tom (27) told me he was taking part in this event all I heard was 'a marathon in the Sahara Desert' which baffled me. When he corrected me and said it was in fact 6 marathons in the Sahara Desert, I jokingly questioned his sanity.

After hearing all about Bruce and Tom's preparation for this mammoth event next month, I said 'I have to write a blog post about this, what an amazing things you're doing'.
As honestly, I literally cannot believe their bravery.

I asked Bruce and Tom a number of questions about the event itself, why they're doing it and where you can donate to raise money for their 2 chosen charities, as well as support and sponsor them in completing their challenge.

Friends, Bruce & Tom are taking part in the 6 marathon challenge called Marathon Des Sables on 7th April 2017.
Donate your support to their chosen charities here.

In 20 days you’ll be starting one of the worlds toughest and longest challenges. The ultra-marathon Marathon Des Sables in the Sahara Desert, covering between 150 and 156 miles on foot in six days in 50 degree heat, Why have you both decided to take part in such a huge challenge?

Bruce: For me it is take myself out of my comfort zone and to set myself a goal that I can work towards. 

Tom: I'd like seeing how far and hard we can push are bodies. Finding are limits and then going that bit further.

Can you explain what the average day will be like whilst doing that challenge, how far do you run each day and what are the sleeping conditions?

We are running just shy of a marathon for the first three days, a double Marathon on day fourth followed by another marathon on day six and then just over half a marathon on the last day. On top of that we need to carry all our own food and essentials. Water is rationed to 12 litres a day. At night we sleep in temporary shelters called a bivouac with seven other athletes.
The bivouacs are dismantled and moved every day to our next finishing point.

Essentially, the challenge is the equivalent of running from London to Dover, deciding to go to France and running back again in desert heat with a 8/9Kg backpack on.

How long have you been training for this and what kind of training does it take to prepare?

We started our training in August 2016 when we got accepted for the MDS and have trained 3-5 days a week, gradually increasing the distance and pack weight

You must have to be extremely fit to attempt such a huge event. Have you both ever attempted a similar challenge before?

Bruce: I have done other challenges before like cycling from John 'o Groats to Lands End and completing an Ironman triathlon but I think this has got to be my biggest challenge.

Tom: The biggest challenge I've done is the Haute Rout Pyrenees, a 6 day bike race through the Pyrenees. But that's nothing compared to the MDS!

You’ve decided to do the challenge in aid of two charities 'Ups N Downs' and 'Travers Foundation'. Why did you pick this charity and how much do you aim to raise?

Bruce: I choose these charities as they are both local charities which do a fantastic work to support local people. If anyone would like to donate they can at www.justgiving.com/teams/saharachallenge

Are you taking part in the event with an aim of finishing it in a certain time or any other goal, or is it that completing the race would be a huge achievement for you both?

Bruce: Finishing the race will be a great achievement to get a top 250 finish would be the icing on the cake.

Tom: When I first entered I was looking to race and get a good finishing position. After all the training we've done, its obvious that this isn't going to be a walk in the park and just finishing will be fantastic.

We wish you both the best of luck and think you’re both extremely brave and inspirational. We would love for you to check back in with ‘The Rutland Blogger’ after the event to hear how you got on, would that be ok?

Of course and we look forward to speaking to you again.