Lincoln teacher runs 243km for charity
The 'Marathon des Sables' is a six-day, 243km endurance race across the Sahara Desert. Competitors must carry all their equipment they need for the six days whilst running, including food, tents and other camping equipment.
Temperatures this year reached up to 50 degrees. Renowned to extreme sports people, celebrities like Ben Fogle have been known to have completed it.
Mr Hardy, maths teacher at Priory Academy LSST, ran the challenging race this year. Running since his mid-teens and doing his first marathon when he was 19, he has completed other extreme events like ultra-marathons and walking 900km across Spain, then biking 1,500 miles from Spain, back to Lincoln.
Although he is an experienced runner, the Marathon des Sables still demanded plenty of training, which included 40-60 miles running over hills with a heavy pack on so that he could adapt to running over the great sand dunes found in the Sahara.
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This year the event was threatened by unusual weather. Early in the morning at stage four, a massive hailstorm shook the campsites and jeopardised the whole race. No amount of organisation could have prepared them for this. Fortunately, the storm did not last long and the competitors were able to continue.
After a day of undergoing a taxing run, Mr Hardy described the most enjoyable part of the experience as relaxing at the end of the day and cheering the slower runners past the finishing line. He was amazed at the range of abilities of the people who participated, including a heroic 80 year old and fire fighters that ran whilst carrying a disabled child around the course.
'It was a very emotional experience,' he explained. 'I'm still not sure how I feel now, after so much training and commitment. It was indescribable. As I received my medal, I just burst into tears. I'd recommend it to anyone.'
Mr Hardy raised a commendable £3,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Shortly, he hopes to run 100 miles in 24 hours and do a long triathlon, which includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and then a marathon to finish.
Mary, Year 10
Priory LSST Newsroom