Beverley optician's sights set on Marathon des Sables
SIX gruelling runs in six days – the Marathon des Sables is the toughest race on earth.
That's the challenge facing Beverley optician Jeremy Beesley as he strives to raise funds for a charity helping people with learning disabilities.
Mr Beesley, store director at Specsavers in Toll Gavel, Beverley, will take on 251km of the Sahara desert in April.
Rules state he has to carry all his own supplies on the trek.
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Mr Beesley said: "The rules of the Marathon des Sables require participants to be self-sufficient.
"Everything I need throughout the challenge will be carried on my back, including all equipment and food.
"In preparation, I have been doing lots of training around Beverley and the surrounding countryside.
"I'm currently covering around 104km each week.
"The marathon is going to be a huge challenge, but all of the money raised is going to a fantastic cause.
"FiND is a brilliant charity that operates in the Beverley and Hull region.
"I want to raise as much money as possible to support the efforts of the charity and make a difference to the lives of those they help every day."
Sponsorship forms are available at Beverley Specsavers for anyone who wants to contribute towards the fundraising.
Staff at Specsavers will be showing their support for their boss by pedaling on an exercise bike the distance he will be running in the desert.
The riding will take place over the final two days of the challenge, Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, and customers will be able to donate towards the fundraising total for FiND.
FiND is a Beverley-based charity, with the name standing for "Families for Individual Needs and Dignity".
The charity aims to improve the lives of people with a range of learning disabilities and encourage those using their services to achieve a greater level of independence, along with allowing them to engage in stimulating activities to improve their skills.
Louise Thompson, manager at FiND in Beverley, said: "We rely on the enthusiastic support of good-natured local businesses and individuals to continue our work with the community.
"The valiant efforts by Jeremy at Specsavers to help generate funds will be a massive boost for the charity. We wish him the best of luck in the Marathon des Sables."
The North Africa challenge takes place in the Sahara Desert along a tough terrain.
Started in 1986 by Patrick Bauer, the race totals a distance of 251km, which leads participants to run the equivalent of six marathons in six days.
The race is now in its 28th consecutive year and continues to grow in popularity.
Marathon rules require participants to be self-sufficient; runners take a 10kg backpack to carry with them containing everything, except water, which they need to survive. Runners are given a tent to sleep in at night, along with water but this is rationed.
To support Mr Beesley in his run, visit the Beverley Specsavers store to donate. Visit www.findcharity.org.uk for more information about the FiND charity.