A 156-mile desert run in temperatures soaring to a sizzling 50 degrees celsius will be Mark Alderson’s tribute to his mother-in-law after she passed away from cancer.
Mark is prepared to push himself through the pain barrier when he takes on the ‘toughest footrace on earth’ in the Moroccan Sahara Desert for the Marathon des Sables, but he acknowledged this will be nothing compared to the difficulties endured by Denise Mann, the mother of his wife Abbie.
“Endurance running brings challenges you don’t meet every day,” said Mark.
“Thoughts go through your head with demons trying to stop you, but the right mental attitude will see you to the end.
“Pain barriers have definitely been pushed during training but the physical pain experienced cannot be comparable to that witnessed over the last few years during Denise’s illness which is truthfully heartbreaking.”
Mark will be joined on his challenge by friends and fellow Stamford Striders running club members Emma Sowden and Andy Dennis, and he is raising money in support of Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Longthorpe - where Denise was cared for - as well as Walking With The Wounded and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
Mark, who lives in Deeping St James, is already a veteran of six marathons but admits this will be his hardest challenge to date.
He added: “When I’m running my goal is to get home and have a pint of beer, a meal and a hot shower but none of that is going to happen during the Marathon des Sables.
“I have to carry everything I need for the whole week with me – apart from tents which are supplied and drinking water which you’re able to top up every day.
“Even then, water is rationed and if you take more than your ration you pay with a time penalty. I expect to be filthy, smelly, hungry and thirsty all week!”
To donate, visit: http://virginmoneygiving.com/mds2018.