THE mere thought of running a marathon is enough to leave many exhausted.
But, running more than 150 miles across a desert in stifling heat is much worse than that.
Friends Mark Greenfield and Keith Lambden plan to take on the Marathon Des Sables to raise money for charity.
Often dubbed as the ‘toughest footrace on Earth’, the five-day race crosses the Sahara Desert.
Mark, 47, from Chalford Grange in Fareham and Keith, 56, from North Street in Bedhampton are raising money for CLIC Sargent, a charity which helps children suffering with cancer and their families.
Keith said: ‘Somebody said to me “you are so brave to be doing this”, but I have chosen to do this. The children that I am running for have not chosen what has happened to them. Both Mark and I have been blessed with beautiful families, so we wanted to do something to help those less fortunate than us.’
The pair, who met when they married girls from the same street, both say that competing in the race together has given them encouragement to carry on.
Keith said: ‘Since we became friends, we have stuck together ever since.
‘We have done different events together in preparation, like the Great South Run.
‘We spur each on.’
Mark and Keith both run with the Fareham Crusaders Running Club, which meets at the Fareham Leisure Centre twice a week, and have competed in many road races.
They decided to take part in the Marathon Des Sables about two years ago after discussing it over a pint at the pub. They have been in training ever since.
Mark joked: ‘You could say it’s a midlife crisis. We discussed it and thought that it would be nice to do something like this while we still can. We have put a lot of effort in and it’s gone so quickly. We just can’t wait to get on with it now.’
Keith and Mark are putting the finishing touches to their kits and have just had the injections they need.
The pair have raised nearly £7,000 in sponsorship so far and are hoping to double that figure.
They will set off on Thursday, April 4 and start the five-day long race on Thursday, April 7.
Mark said: ‘We understand that times are hard and there are a lot of people asking for money, but please be as generous as you can. If you can’t donate money then we appreciate the moral support.’
To keep up with news from the trip or to sponsor them go online at keithandmarkrunacrossadesert.com.