Going out for a run - across the Sahara desert

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The Sahara desert is one of the most inhospitable places on earth - but two friends are going to run across it for charity.

Ross Mackay (30) from Bearsden and university pal Todd Whiteford (29) are doing the Marathon Des Sables this week to raise money for the Beatson Cancer Charity.

The gruelling challenge involves running 140 miles, over six days through the Saharan dunes where they may be faced with deadly scorpions and sandstorms.

Ross said: “This time last year Todd was undergoing chemotherapy at the Beatson for testicular cancer.

“Now he’s taking on what’s widely recognised as the ‘toughest race on earth’ - an incredible feat.

“He’s seen first hand how The Beatson gives people encouragement and support to take on the disease and win and he wanted to give something back to them.”

Todd said: “For me, doing something to support the Beatson was a no-brainer. During my cancer scare last year, the people at the treatment centre showed professionalism and encouragement in the care they gave me.

“I would always champion them when it comes to fundraising - they deserve every penny.

“Their energy in the face of adversity is exactly what Ross and I would like to emulate when we get out to the Sahara.”

Half of the money they raise will be donated to Solidariate which helps disadvantaged Moroccan children.

Ross added: “The run is much more than a distance challenge. It’s more a battle of will.

“The environment is brutal and unforgiving, temperatures will be unbearably hot, which will increase the chance of dehydration and heatstroke.

“Blisters can turn into a raw, skinless foot, peeled down to the fascia.

“Only meticulous preparation, courage and luck will get us through.”

They have raised £3,000 so far and Ross’s employer, Accenture, has agreed to match-fund some of the amount.

To donate go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/running-across-the-sahara-for-beatson-and-solidarite

Or text “MDES99 £10” to 70070 (or any other amount).