Stone Cross man takes on the Sahara

David Gilmore
David Gilmore

A SELF-confessed podgy local is trying to shed a few pounds and tone up in time to take on a mammoth race across the Sahara Desert.

Later this year, David Gilmore will leave the UK and head to Morocco where he will attempt to complete five-and-a-half marathons in just six days.

The total distance is more than 150 miles and, at its toughest, the trek involves completing back-to-back marathons on the same day,

As if that was not challenge enough, he will have to do so in temperatures which could reach the 50 degrees mark.

The 34-year-old from Stone Cross is taking part in the gruelling Marathon des Sables. He hopes to raise upwards of £8,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and St Wilfrid’s Hospice, having already collected £2,000 in sponsorship from friends and family.

Faced with the prospect of soaring temperatures, awkward terrain and crippling injuries, he is hoping more people can cough up to help the two very worthwhile causes, both of which Mr Gilmore has a particularly poignant reason for supporting.

“I’m doing this for my mum, even though she would have rolled her eyes and told me I was an idiot. She was looked after by the lovely people at Macmillan and the St Wilfrid’s Hospice after falling ill with lung cancer.

“Despite this wonderful care, mum sadly died in 2008 but the kindness and generosity shown by these people is a debt that my sisters and I can never repay – although I want to make a damn good shot.

“I’m going to be forcing my podgy, moobed body round the Sahara Desert to run the Marathon des Sables which is known as the toughest footrace on earth.

“If the camels go faster than me, I’m disqualified. If I forget my venom pump, signalling mirror or compass I’m disqualified.

“I have to carry all of my own kit, water and food and the doctors (known as the Doc Trotters), slice off any blisters with a scalpel and a merry laugh before telling you to bandage up and stop crying.

“I’ve got my race number and I’m very nervous now but all I can imagine is crossing that finish line and how amazing it will feel. It will be a huge achievement which will stay with me for my whole life.”

Mr Gilmore is the first to admit he is no natural athlete and has been training hard for this race for the last two years – either running or going to the gym six days out of seven every week, injuries allowing.

“I’ve had pretty much everything go wrong with me so any running now is kind of painful- especially since I have to train with a 10kg backpack some of the time.

“I’m just resigned to the fact this is going to really, really hurt. I want to raise as much as I can for these two charities because I have seen the work that they do and it is truly magnificent.”