As if trekking to the North Pole wasn’t enough. Mark Starling our most committed and possibly slightly unhinged supporter is running the Marathon Des Sables. He is also doing this alone!

The race, which is described as the toughest footrace on Earth covers 243km/151 miles (in sections similar to 25, 34, 38, 82, 42, 22 km) run over 6 days – equivalent to 5 1/2 regular marathons. That’s a speed of between 3 and 14 km an hour. In addition to that, competitors have to carry everything they will need for the duration (apart from a tent) on their backs in a rucksack (food, clothes, medical kit, sleeping bag etc).

Mark will experience mid-day temperatures of up to 120°F. He will have to run on uneven rocky, stony ground, and 15 – 20% of the distance will be in sand dunes. For example, on the 4th day, Mark will set off across the barren wilderness to complete a 45 – 50 mile stage (few people complete this before dark that evening and some will not come in till after dark the next night).

This is then followed by the 42km Marathon stage!! Mark has promised to raise £50,000 for the COINS Foundation, and he says he won’t stop fundraising until he’s done it! He raised 26k on his Polar Race last year, so he’s just over half way. Let’s hope he does it with the Marathon Des Sables – although rumour has it he’s got his sights fixed on Everest next!

Good Luck Mark!