In April, a local runner Alison Moullin took on what has been described as the ‘toughest footrace on Earth’, the Marathon des Sables, to raise money for two Guernsey charities.
Ms Moullin raised £2,000.00 which she has split between the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation (PPBF) and the Friends of Frossard Ward.
The Marathon des Sables (MdS), is a 275-kilometre ultramarathon across the Saharan desert in Southern Morocco. Participants are self-sufficient throughout the course, carrying all their own food and equipment for the week on their back. Communal Berber tents are pitched every night and water is rationed.
The challenging course attracts 1,200 runners annually, all willing to take on the challenge of blistering heat, sandstorms, dunes and dangerous ascents and descents within seven days.
Ms Moullin already had plenty of long distance running experience having previously completed 25 marathons, four 100 kilometre ultra-marathons and the four-day marches in Holland.
Speaking of her experience, Ms Moullin comments: ‘although I had plenty of training, nothing prepared me for the heat combined with the struggle of walking and running across the sand. This was the toughest challenge of my life so far, both physically and emotionally. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget and I have come out the other side with some new lifelong friends.’
The MdS is only recommended to those who are experienced ultra-runners, with everyone having to undergo a medical assessment and pass a qualifying race before being granted a spot at the starting line.
Of course, it was not just the race itself that posed a challenge, the camps themselves were hit by sandstorms during the night of day five, meaning participants to had to rescue their tents.
On the Sunday following the race, Ms Moullin visited one of the many projects funded by the MdS, a school teaching children how to read and write. There were also mothers being schooled so that they could have better prospects for their future.
Ms Moullin says: ‘It was incredibly humbling to see exactly how the funds raised are spent and how it helps to improve people’s lives. Both of the local charities I chose to raise money for are close to my heart and do terrific work.’
Jo Priaulx, co-founder of the PPBF, concludes: ‘We are all in awe of Ali for completing such a race, it is a massive achievement and a testament to her strength and character. We are incredibly honoured and grateful that she chose us as one of her charities and the money raised will be a great help towards the upkeep of both Aggie’s Burrow and Issac’s Pad.’