For many the London Marathon is a great achievement, but Jersey runner Pete Wright has just done six marathons in six days after competing in The Marathon Des Sables. Not only that, but the race is run through the Sahara Desert – one of the most inhospitable climates on the planet. To add to the challenge runners must be completely self-sufficient, carrying everything they need with them, apart from their week's supply of water and tent, in a backpack.
Pete was sponsored by his employer GoldMoney and has raised around £8,500 which is being shared between four charities. Despite the tremendous challenge Pete came back with just a few blisters on his feet: 'It was everything I imagined and a whole lot more. You know it is going to be challenging, but you can't quite get your head round the heat and the constant unforgiving terrain. At home, you train to run, but in the Sahara it's not just about running it is about endurance, getting your mentality right and making sure you look after your fluids, salts and nutrition. It is more about strategy than I expected.'
Pete said having done the Itex walk several times in Jersey helped him with his strategy: 'On the fourth day, which is the longest, you have to cover more than 46 miles. Because I've run and walked that distance with the Itex walk I realised I needed to be relatively fresh and in a positive state of mind to get through it so I had held back a little, particularly the day before. It was lucky I did because the temperature on day 4 rose to 54 degrees and I started at 8.30am, finishing at 11pm. The terrain was tougher than I had expected. It was consistently stony, or you were climbing up small mountains, or sand dunes and running over never ending sandy plains. It was relentless and unforgiving, and there just weren't any easy bits.'
Pete completed the Marathon des Sables in 40 hours, 32 minutes, achieving a position of 467 out of 1,050 who began the race.
Geoff Turk, GoldMoney CEO said the company was proud to have sponsored Pete: 'When Pete first came up with the idea two years ago there were some who thought he was a little crazy, but he has shown everyone what determination and training can achieve. Pete has been able to help Durrell, Jersey Hospice, the Grace Crocker Family Support Foundation and the National Autistic Society all through his own hard work and effort.'
Pete is only briefly resting his blistered feet: 'I've already decided what my next challenge will be. I want to swim the Channel, I just need to work out what and how much time I need to train for it.'