An incredibly brave Harrogate man has set off in the world’s toughest race in the sweltering sands dunes of the Sahara - and he's kept going despite an injury!
Endurance athlete Tim Phillips is battling blistering temperatures in the infamous Marathon des Sables to raise funds for Saint Michael’s Hospice and the latest we heard he was still going strong despite spraining an ankle on the opening day!
Tim, 39, is putting his stamina to the ultimate test in this notorious six-day challenge by running 251 km through relentless desert, climbing his way up over desert-mountains and battling through sand storms, all with scorching temperatures of up to 50°C and no back-up team to provide food or water.
Married with three children, Tim underwent specialist training of the type Yorkshire’s Olympic triathlon heroes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee endure in advance of the start of the race last weekend in southern Morocco.
For seven months he completed between 12 and 18 hours per week, including heat chamber sessions with Leeds University which involved Tim running on a treadmill at temperatures of up to 40°C, while wearing his full kit.
Tim is following in good footsteps by taking on what has been described by the Discovery Channel as the “toughest footrace on earth”.
Even Sir Ranulph Fiennes found the going hard when he took part in the race a few years back.
Speaking before he set off, Tim said: “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. There are too many unknowns to know fully how it’s going to pan out but I will give it my best shot.
“As well as raising money for Saint Michael’s, I want to inspire my children to believe that they can do anything they put their mind to.”
When he’s not pounding out the miles, Tim is a divisional manager for Harrogate-based international data centre equipment stockholders, Techbuyer.
Formerly Pinnacle Data, the company are patrons of Saint Michael’s Hospice and have already donated £2,500 to Saint Michael’s Hospice thanks to Tim’s efforts.
Approximately the distance of six regular marathons, the longest single stage Tim is taking on in Marathon des Sables is 91 km long.
Non-finishers are common but, if everything goes well, Tim should complete the course tomorrow, Friday.
Chief executive of Saint Michael’s Hospice, Tony Collins, said, “We would like to say a big thank you to Tim and Techbuyer and we wish Tim all the very best in the race.”
The Marathon des Sables was first launched in 1986, the brainchild of French concert promoter Patrick Bauer who in 1984 walked the Sahara desert on foot and alone covering 350 km in 12 days.
To date, the race has been won by runners from countries including France, Morocco and Russia but there have been no British winners.