King Edward’s School Head Of Rugby Conquers Desert Marathon
The Head of Sport Science at King Edward’s School, George Browning, has completed an amazing 156-mile race across the Sahara Desert. The “Marathon des Sables” is a gruelling challenge set during Easter break which Mr Browning ran in aid of the NSPCC.
The race is often dubbed “the toughest footrace on earth” and is a six-day marathon in which runners carry all of their equipment and supplies across Southern Morocco. Temperatures can reach as high as 50C during the race.
Mr Browning said: “It was the most brutal race I have ever done. The heat was so debilitating I had to stop at checkpoints in the shade to avoid being pulled out of the race by the medical team. Luckily I didn’t have to use my venom extractor pump, which was one of the mandatory bits of kit.
“I threw away my stove and fuel to save on weight and made do with cold food for the week. I would add water to my dehydrated food and leave it in the Saharan sun for a few hours to warm it up so I could stomach it a bit better. I lost about three kilograms.
“Each stage offered a new challenge – dunes, mountains, hot salt plains, dried river beds or simply the distance (the longest stage was 86.2km). It was certainly a once in a lifetime race and one which I won’t repeat soon but I would definitely recommend to anyone with a sense of adventure!”
Mr Browning has previously competed in a 100km night race and the Welsh 3000s Mountain Challenge. He hopes that his efforts will encourage and inspire his pupils. Mr Browning found his passion for running when a knee injury stopped him from playing rugby.
“Some of my pupils researched the race and probably thought I was odd for wanting to put myself through it. I hope I can help them to understand why some people seek this kind of challenge and encourage them to seek their own, whatever it might be.”
You can help Mr Browning reach his charity target of £5000 by visiting his JustGiving page here. The money raised for the NSPCC will be used to help this leading charity fight to end child abuse in the UK.