DETERMINED Tim Mulcare raised £2,500 in memory of a dear friend by taking on the toughest foot race on earth.
Tim ran 156 miles over six days across the Sahara desert in the Marathon des Sables, all while strapping everything he needed over the course of the race to his back.
The 34-year-old battled scorching heat and physical strain to complete the challenge across South Morocco within a staggering 35 hours.
Following an outpouring of support from friends and family, Tim managed to raise £2,500 for Macmillan Cancer Support, finishing in 114th place out of 1,100 participants.
Tim, a technical director for a marketing company, said: ‘The whole experience end to end was just fantastic.
‘It took a long time to process it. It felt a little bit like I’d just finished a parkrun, and the weight of it hadn’t really hit me.
‘It probably wasn’t until I got back to the UK before it sank in that I’d finished.’
A keen challenge runner, Tim dedicated the ultramarathon to his friend Dave Nelson, who died from cancer earlier this year.
He said: ‘I wanted to do something big, really. I started researching and found that I could get a place on Marathon des Sables, and just went for it.
‘As soon as I signed up, that gave me a year and a bit to get prepped for it.’
After signing up for the challenge in November 2014, Tim, of Provene Gardens, Waltham Chase, set out on a gruelling practice regime.
He said: ‘When Dave was ill and I was training, I thought about him a lot, knowing that he was going through a real battle but showing a lot of courage.
‘If I was out for a run and it was hurting, I’d think about what Dave was going through so I drew a lot of strength and inspiration from him.’
Recognised as ‘the toughest footrace on earth’ by the Discovery Channel, the Marathon des Sables involves three consecutive days of marathon-distance runs as well as a ‘long day’ of 84km.
That is followed by another marathon, and a charity stage of 17km.
The Marathon des Sables is just the start of Tim’s globetrotting tour of ultramarathons, as he plans to take on a number of challenges including the Everest Trail Race next November.
To donate to his cause go to justgiving.com/fundraising/tim-runs.