Milly finishes extreme marathon in Morocco

Milly Archibald, front, pictured during the Marathon des Sables.
Milly Archibald, front, pictured during the Marathon des Sables.

A veterinary surgeon at Robson and Prescott in Morpeth has completed one of the world’s toughest races.

Milly Archibald was among the finishers in the Marathon des Sables, which took place in Morocco.

This ultra-marathon is run over seven stages. The week-long event covers a total distance of approximately 156 miles across parts of the Sahara desert – including a particularly gruelling 53.56-mile stage four.

As well as having to deal with the extreme heat and harsh terrain, participants had to carry essential items on their back.

They stayed overnight in a bivouac village, comprised of tents that sleep about eight competitors per tent.

Milly – who lives just outside Morpeth with husband Archie and their three children, Angus, eight, Anna, six, and Chloe, four – wanted to test herself even more after taking part in events across the UK ranging between 28 and 53 miles over the last couple of years.

She and friend Claire Wood, who was also going to take part in the Marathon des Sables but had pull out on medical grounds, have been using the event to raise money for international charity Hope for Children over the last 10 months and the total donations now stand at more than £18,000.

Milly said: “It was difficult to get used to the heat and taking salt tablets with every drink of water on the first day of the event. But from day two onwards, I can honestly say that I loved every minute – even at night, all I had to do was look up and see the beautiful setting with so many stars in the sky.

“It helped that the bag got lighter as the week went on because participants need to carry food for the week with them.

“As it is really a race of completion, you are in the same boat as the other runners and so the camaraderie between us was fantastic.

“When it came to the longest stage, which happens over two days, I didn’t stop very long at the check points because I wanted as much recovery time as possible.

“Thankfully, I didn’t get any blisters and I finished the stage at 3.30am, so I was able to rest until the following morning.

“I was delighted to complete the challenge. What helped keep me going was that people could track my progress on an internet page, so my family and friends would know exactly when I finished each stage.

“I’m pleased that I was able to cope with the demands of the event, such as having to run and walk on sand and rationing of food and drink.

“I’m grateful to everyone who supported me and both I and Claire would like to thank all those who have made a donation.”

To add to the total, head to