RUNNING more than 150 miles in stifling heat is not most people’s idea of fun.
But that’s exactly what Mark Greenfield and Keith Lambden plan to do when they race across the Sahara desert to raise money for charity.
Mark, 46, from Chalford Grange in Fareham and Keith, 56, from North Street in Bedhampton, will take part in the Marathon des Sables in the spring of next year.
The 156-mile race is a six-day run in scorching conditions of around 45C and is said to be one of the hardest foot races on earth.
The friends will be raising money for CLIC Sargent, a charity which helps children suffering with cancer and their families.
Over the next year, they will train in a variety of events including triathlons, an ironman race, marathons and the South Downs Way 100 Ultra.
‘It’s sheer madness. We’ve been looking at doing it for the past five or six years, but every year we were unable to take part,’ said Mark.
‘We have both enjoyed running over the years and having both seen our children grow up wanted to look for a new challenge that years ago we would not even thought of doing.
‘We felt if we undertook something of this difficulty it would fulfil the challenge we sought and give us something to look back in our later lives.
‘We did a lot of research and decided the Marathon des Sables would meet the level of challenge we were looking for.’
Mark said the stifling heat would be the most difficult part of the challenge.
‘The heat is one of the biggest concerns but historically neither of us have an issue of being in the heat and as part of the training we will be doing some heat chamber training,’ he said.
‘We hope to get away to hotter locations in the summer for some short breaks to experience running in heat.
‘There’s not really a set way to train for an event like this. You just need to be as fit as you possibly can.
‘People say we’re mad doing it and I completely agree.’
The pair are both members of the Fareham Crusaders Running Club.
Mark spoke of their delight at being able to take part, and raising money for the charity.
He added: ‘It has re-energised our enthusiasm to take part.
‘It’s a worthwhile cause, and to run and help the children is a great feeling.
‘I’m excited – really looking forward to it.’
To sponsor the pair visit keithandmarkrunacrossadesert.com.