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The Countdown is on for Will

When it comes to taking on a tough challenge that will really push you to your limits, a 250km multi-stage race held in the Sahara Desert would certainly tick all the boxes. Labelled the toughest footrace on Earth by the Discovery channel, the Marathon de Sables is certainly not for the faint hearted. However, Leuka supporter Will Russell has decided to take on the challenge of a lifetime, in the name of leukaemia research.

We are so proud of Will’s efforts to support Leuka and raise vital funds for leukaemia and blood cancer research and with just over 5 weeks to go, Will has taken some time out to blog about his gruelling training schedule.

“With only 5 weeks to go training is in full swing. Not only am I hitting the heat chambers, I have been lucky enough to spend a bit of time in Singapore and the heat has certainly helped my body prepare for the desert. Despite the fact that the humidity of the jungle is very different from the dry heat of the desert, it is certainly better training than if I were in drizzly UK! The beaches of Singapore are also very useful for training on as I learn to run on sand – I can often be found running along the coast at night, donning my head torch with poles in hand.

As I need to carry all of my equipment bar my tent – including all food, clothes, shoes, poles etc. – getting the weight of my bag right is crucial. I have therefore been busy running with various weights and meticulously weighing everything to ensure I don’t have even 1 gram more than necessary.

Aside from hitting the jungle trails, I have been taking part in a few competitions in order to rack up the miles. These include the Singapore Marathon in 30+ degrees (which coincidentally took place during UK Charity Week, which greatly spurred me on) and the Hong Kong Ultra which involved toiling up and down the stunning trails covering some of Hong Kong’s finest coastline. I can now understand why so many people recommended racing in that part of the world – I got some great experience under my belt, and racing with my backpack on the rocky terrain proved great resilient training for times ahead and I thoroughly enjoyed the 56km course.

Sponsorship is coming along well and I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated so far, I couldn’t do it without their continuous support. A big shout must go out to Rocket Food, a family-run catering company specialising in high quality events and niche catering contracts. I am delighted to announce they will supporting my fundraising for Leuka on the Marathon des Sables adventure. If you ever need a caterer, I urge you to give them a go, their food is not only delicious, but they throw great parties!

Another thing that has kept me going so far and I know 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 is more than 1 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, please check out his website www.justgiving.com/willrussellmds

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