Marathon des Sables

Your fundraising stories

Some like it hot!

In March we told you about Simon Vickers, Wimbledon GP and father of NNU graduate twins Alex and Ben and Simon’s friends Tom Day and Dan Burdett who were training hard for the Marathon des Sables a 250km race across the desert and widely acknowledged as the toughest footrace on earth.

The trio set off for the Sahara Desert on the twins’ first birthday. Simon’s sons had been born at 29 weeks as the result of a rare condition affecting identical twins. Simon says “The boys were very sick when they were born and were immediately admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Georges Hospital in London. Alex and Ben spent a total of 35 days on the Unit, they defied all odds and exceeded all expectations. When they left hospital they were still 6 weeks premature. Despite the relative speed of their recovery and discharge, a conservative estimate of the cost of their stay in hospital is over £80,000.” As result of his family’s experience, Simon was very keen to raise money for First Touch.

We’re glad to report that Simon, Dan and Tom are safe home, having completed their challenge.  Here’s what Simon has to say about the race:

“Wow! What an adventure and experience that was! It is by far the toughest thing we have ever done, both in terms of physical distance, but also mental endurance and environmental stress. We completed it in a total running time of 46h 8min.

The Marathon des Sables lived up to its reputation! 6 marathons in 6 days over mountains, sand dunes and across baking hot salt pans. It was the toughest thing we have ever done. It challenges you on every level, both in physical terms, coping with the heat (one check point recorded a maximum temperature of 54oC), the sheer distances, the food and water rationing and the pounding it puts on your body, but also the mental endurance of running for 18hrs on the longest leg (75km) and then getting up the next day to run another marathon.  It does attract a certain type of person but the camaraderie and support you get from other runners from all over the world is heartfelt and gets you through it. Everyone has their story to tell and is there for their own personal achievements. Our twins’ story was told to many a stranger, who by the end of the race had become firm friends. We have shared an experience that will stay with us forever."

Simon, Tom and Dan have raised an amazing £7,500 far exceeding their £5,000 target. If you would like to add to their total please donate through their Just Giving page:

Some like it hot!

Simon, Dan and Tom

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funding meter

  • Donations received so far - £50
  • Target of total funds for the year - £210,000