A vet who has developed a taste for running marathons and longer distances is getting ready for one of the world’s toughest races.
Milly Archibald will fly out to Morocco today and the Marathon des Sables starts on Sunday.
The race is a ultra-marathon run over seven stages. The week-long event covers a total distance of approximately 156 miles across parts of the Sahara desert.
Not only will participants be running the gruelling adventure in extreme heat and harsh terrain, they will be carrying essential items on their back.
They stay 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 – has taken part in events across the UK ranging between 28 and 53 miles distance over the last couple of years.
She hopes these races and her training will enable her to successfully complete the Marathon des Sables. She is raising money in aid of Hope for Children, an international charity that believes every child has the right to a happy, healthy and positive childhood.
The veterinary surgeon at Robson and Prescott in Morpeth said: “This event is on every ultra-marathon runner’s radar and after noticing that places were available with Hope for Children, which is a fantastic charity, everything fell into place to do it this year.
“I feel excited, although I realise I’m going into the unknown for me. You get a water ration each day, and the tent and a sheet are provided, but I’ll need to carry everything else, including food, in a backpack.
“My family, friends and colleagues have been fantastic and given me plenty of support.
“I’ve done many of the runs over the last few years with my friend Claire Wood. She was due to take part in this race and her fund-raising efforts have been brilliant.
“Sadly, she has had to pull out on medical grounds.
“In February, we took part in the Endurancelife CTS Northumberland Marathon from Alnwick Castle to Bamburgh Castle and I also ran 40 to 45 miles in the few days beforehand and 10 miles the day afterwards as preparation for the Marathon des Sables.
“I’ve also been on a running machine at a friend’s summer house to get a taste for the temperatures in the Sahara.”
Milly was initially a recreational runner and she got back into it on runs with Chloe in the pram.
But after deciding to take part in 10k races and half marathons, she wanted to push herself more and more.
“I’ve developed a mentality that after achieving a certain distance, I want to then try a race that’s a little bit longer,” she said.
To make a donation, go to https://mds2018.everydayhero.com/uk/claire-s-mds-challenge