While 10,000 people will take to the streets of Brighton next month for the city’s annual marathon, Brighton and Hove Albion fan Iain McCallum will take his running challenge one step further.
He’ll be making a gruelling 156-mile journey through the Sahara in aid of Albion in the Community (AITC), the largest provider of disability football opportunities in the Brighton and Hove area.
It’s part of the Marathon des Sables, a legendary event which has been dubbed the toughest foot race on the planet. The route takes runners through sweltering 50C heat and unstable terrain, through endless dunes, over rocky jebels, and across white-hot salt plains.
38-year-old Iain, who lives in Shoreham, said: “It’s an event that has been on my radar since I began running.
“I liked the idea of pushing yourself where no one else could ever push you.
“It’s every runner’s dream to take part.”
To make the seven-day feat even more challenging, runners are expected to be self-sufficient and carry all their own food, water, bedding and equipment. Water is also rationed – if runners exceed their water quota they will receive a time penalty.
Iain’s memory of his late father-in-law, Albion superfan Glenn Whitehead, is his main inspiration for undertaking the feat. Iain and his wife Laura used to regularly go and watch BHAFC play, until Glenn passed away on the couple’s wedding day. Iain took up running after losing Glenn to a brain tumour in 2001, and hasn’t stopped training since. He said: “He was a massive Seagulls fan.
“I truly believe if he were still around, seeing the work the AITC does, he would be so proud. So this run is for Glenn.”
Since Glenn’s death, Iain has run eight marathons – four in Brighton and four in London – as well as countless half marathons. He’s been training for the Marathon des Sables since September by running at least 10 miles daily, as well as regularly working out at Brighton Boxing Fitness.
He’s hoping to raise a total of £2,500 to help AITC change people’s lives for the better through football. You can pledge your support to Iain by clicking here.
Best of luck, Iain!