Dr Steve Greedy, of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, is hungry for success in his bid to complete a gruelling 150-mile footrace through the Sahara Desert, billed as the toughest in the world. His motivation is to raise £5,000 for Cancer Research and a Cardiff-based children’s hospice.
The Marathon Des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) requires its competitors to run in temperatures of up to 50C whilst carrying all their supplies on their backs. The only provisions provided by the organisers are tents and water. Though called a marathon, it is in fact an ultramarathon as it is equivalent to nearly six times the length of the average twenty-six mile race, and has to be completed in a week.
Competitor’s 8kg rucksacks must contain a week’s supply of food, clothes, a medical kit, a sleeping bag and a distress flare. Exhaustion is not he only threat: in the 1988 race an Italian postman lost his way in a sandstorm and was found nine days later having lost 40lb of body weight.
Dr Greedy, a warden at Broadgate Park, has recently run marathons in Cardiff, Singapore and Nottingham’s own Robin Hood Marathon. But he concedes that this will be very different: “I like a challenge and this will be the toughest thing I have ever done — which is partly the attraction of it. I wanted to go for something that would really test me.
“Lots of people run marathons, but the Marathon Des Sables is in a category on its own. There’s more satisfaction to be gained in knowing that you have achieved something that is called the toughest footrace in the world."
The marathon will take place in southern Morocco in April.