Shropshire man in ‘world’s toughest race’

Participants will run several marathons over six days as part of the Marathon Des Sables

A Shropshire man is training for an ultra marathon in the desert dubbed the ‘toughest race in the world’.

Nathan Walton from Woore will take part in the Marathon Des Sables – a 251km (156 mile) six-day race through the Sahara Desert.

“It’s not something to be taken lightly,” said Mr Walton, who raises funds for the Dougie Mac Hospice, which cared for his mother.

He has been training for two years for the race, which takes place in April.

He recently returned from a training camp in Lanzarote to practice running on the sand and in the heat. Additional heat training is provided at a specialist facility at the University of Manchester.

On the course, participants run a marathon every day except the fifth day, when the distance is between 85 and 100 km (53 and 62 miles).

“That’s stupid,” Mr. Walton said.

“Sand dunes, spiders, scorpions, bubbles…it smashes your feet like no other race,” he said.

Runners should carry everything they need for the week

Mr Walton was inspired to raise money for Dougie Mac, a hospice in North Staffordshire, to thank them for the care his mother received when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

“The Dougie Macs came in and they were brilliant,” he said. “They came to take care of mum at home and they also took care of us as a family.”

Mr Walton is aiming to raise £3,000 and is more than halfway there.

“It’s a thank you for everything,” he said.

“A few blisters, a few sore muscles, that’s nothing.”

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