Training for the toughest race on Earth

05th December 2016

In April 2017 Leuka supporter William Russell will be undertaking what has been described by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on Earth. The Marathon des Sables is a multi-stage race held in the Sahara desert and William is competing to raise money for leukaemia and blood cancer research.
In the coming months, William will be sharing with us his journey to the Marathon des Sables and what it means to him to be able to raise vital funds to support Leuka in the fight to find a cure for blood cancer. Here’s the first of his blog posts:

“Camel spiders, 40+ degree heat, sandstorms, biggest sand dunes in the world and that is even before we discuss running the 250km! The Marathon des Sables is regarded as being the toughest footrace on earth and as I love a challenge it seemed like a good idea to participate.

For six days I will be running for long periods of time across the western Sahara desert in temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees carrying all my own kit needed to survive for the duration of the race. Over the course of the next six months I will be training and preparing for this arduous ultra-marathon come rain or shine, and clocking up the miles in the process!

You might be wondering why I am doing this? Well, I am running in memory of my late father who died from leukaemia. I am undertaking this gruelling task not only to test myself to the absolute limit and to give me the biggest goal I have ever tried to achieve, but also to raise money for an incredible charity. Leuka is a true leader in Leukaemia research and one that is very close to my heart.

Training has started, which means I am mostly donning trainers and a rather attractive rucksack and can be seen plodding about the streets and jungle of Singapore avidly trying to get the all-important miles into my legs. Instead of social occasions being penned into my diary, I am busily calculating how many miles have been and need to be run each week.

One thing that has kept me going so far and will continue to do so, is knowing that I am raising money for a charity that does so much good work in fighting Leukaemia in the UK, including the money it invests each year to blood cancer research. 25 new cases of leukaemia are diagnosed every day in the UK, that’s more than one person every hour. Leuka needs the generosity of fundraisers to help win the battle against blood cancer. Every pound will help me along the way, not only in the desert but during the endless hours of training needed between now and race week. So please dig deep and give your money to a cause that deserves it.”

To follow Will’s training towards this extreme yet exciting challenge, please check out his website