A FATHER whose twin daughters died after being born prematurely is taking on one of the toughest challenges in the world – again.
The 53-year-old from Bishopstone has today begun the Marathon des Sables, a 250km race across the Sahara desert in southern Morocco in aid of Hope For Children, a charity which provides life saving support to children in developing countries.
Adrian was inspired to raise money for children’s charities following the death of his twin daughters Olivia and Imogen, who were born prematurely in 1998 and died aged just 11 and 13 days old respectively.
The challenge, which involves climbing some of the tallest sand dunes in the world while carrying everything needed for the week-long journey on your back in temperatures of up to 52 degrees celsius, is dubbed by the Discovery Channel as the “toughest footrace on earth.”
Adrian said: “We won’t know the route until the day before it starts and the route is different every year.
“You have to carry everything you need yourself, your food, a change of clothes if you want it.
“The only thing the organisers give you is nine litres of water every day.
“You can have up to three litres more, but any more than that and then you get time penalties of one hour for every extra litre of water.
“They also give you a tent – and by tent I mean a sheet.”
The challenge is so extreme, that there is even a mobile medical station walkers can go to for support along the way.
Adrian said: “In the past people have had heart attacks.
“There is a mobile tent which offers a triage sort of service.
“They can pop your blisters and inject iodine to dry them out, which is extremely painful, or they can tend to more serious problems.
“If you can do it yourself then they can just give you a few bandages and you can get on your way.”
But despite the gruelling effects and the health risks of the challenge, Adrian, who first did the challenge in 2012, is back for more.
He said: “There are quite a lot of people who often want to go back.
“I think the first time round it’s so far out from what you are used to or anything you have ever done that the second time you go you get to enjoy it.
“The first time is so tough and so gruelling you don’t get to appreciate what you’re doing, so I’m going back, knowing what to expect, to enjoy it.”
Adrian has already raised £8,500 for Hope For Children, thanks to the support of Castrol, in Pipers Way, where he works as a project manager.
He said: “The support so far has been fantastic. It’s great that Castrol as an organisation has given all this support.”
Hope For Children helps projects which support vulnerable children in developing countries.
One of the projects that they run is in Uganda, and Castrol South Africa have pledged to work with the project. To sponsor Adrian and give to Hope For Children, visit www.projecthopeadrianmay.com.