Incredible Harrogate 17-year-old student conquers desert marathons
Sixth former Alex Fennah, who goes to Ashville College, was the youngest competitor in the gruelling Saharan Challenge, which sees competitors aiming to complete two 42km races on two consecutive days.
With the mercury nudging 40 degrees Celsius – 104 fahrenheit – Alex fought off an early injury to finish the first race in sixth position in a time of five hours and five minutes, and the second, in 11th, in a time of six hours and 10 minutes for eighth place overall.
Alex said: “I was the youngest competitor by ten years and was running against experienced runners, including a nine-time winner of the Marathon des Sables.
“With just 4km to go on the second day that changed when a blood vessel in my arm burst.
"After crossing the finish line, I was given medical treatment, and was told it was due to a combination of the heat, wind, and sand aggravating my skin.
“I was really pleased with my times as I set myself a target of five hours for the first day and six hours for the second.”
After his success in the Saharan Challenge, Alex has his sights on the ‘big five’ marathons – Boston, Berlin, Chicago, New York and London – within two years – then the 172km Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.
For more information about Ashville College, visit www.ashville.co.uk or call 01423 566358.