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Marathon des Sables 2018

Introducing this year's Mds team!


Deemed the 'Toughest Footrace on Earth' by the Discovery Channel, this ultra-marathon sees participants tackling 6 marathons in 6 days, in the blistering heat of the Sahara Desert. Not only will they be running more than 250km over sand dunes and rocky jebels, but they will also have to be completely self-sufficient, carrying all of their kit on their back. To top it off, the infamous 'double day' sees participants run two marathons back-to-back through the Saharan night and day.

Let's meet the team...


Mark Alderson

Why did you sign up to the MdS? Love for ultras, this has to be one to tick off the bucket list...

Why WWTW? I am in the Army Reserves so seems natural.

What luxuries will you treat yourself to during the MdS? Chocolate M&Ms (as advised by Victoria!)

>>> Click here to support Mark!


Mark Bartram

Why WWTW? I heard Duncan Slater speak shortly before last year’s MdS explaining how it was going to be his second attempt and how painful the first attempt was. I decided that night that this year would be the year and I signed up for it almost immediately. I was delighted when Duncan completed the MdS last year and I hope I will do the same this year.

What will you be listening to on your iPod? Huge range including “Born to Run” and “One Day More”!

What are you looking forward to the most at the end?! Several beers followed by not having to train nearly every day.

>>> Click here to support Mark!


Mark Fitzpatrick

Why did you sign up to the MdS? I have always, always wanted to this type of event. I am not a runner in the true sense of the word but have admired the toughness and shear determination it must take to complete. However, I saw that on Twitter WWTW were looking for supporters and participants in the MdS. After deliberating about 2018 or 2019, I decided (after a little persuasion from Vicks) that the hardest thing would be to put the paperwork in and go for it.

Why WWTW? I want to say thanks and give something back. After completing 23 years in the Army I participated on the Step Into Health programme as part of resettlement. Step Into Health is a partnership between WWTW and the NHS which has been created because the NHS recognises the transferable skills and cultural values that Armed Forces personnel develop when serving, and how they are compatible with those required within NHS roles. 

What 1 item of food are you taking with you as a treat? Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle for the long day.

>>> Click here to support Mark!


Flora Hurrell

How’s your training going? I was lucky enough to acquire a last minute place because someone else had to drop out. However, as a result of joining late my immediate concern was that I was behind in training.  It has been a fine balance of doing as much as I can to catch up and get the miles on my legs, whilst not getting injured. It has been a real test of juggling being self-employed, with training. The wet and snowy weather has, and still is, causing problems and is the antithesis of acclimatisation for the desert!  

What 1 item of food are you taking which is your treat? Peanut M&Ms, apparently they don’t melt in the heat, and I have a really sweet tooth!

What are you looking forward to the most at the end?! GIN and a shower, most probably in that order!

>>> Click here to support Flora!


Jamie Kelly

Why did you sign up to the MdS? I was roped into it by a friend...

What do you see as the biggest challenge? I had sore feet after 15 odd miles in London... the inevitable pain this will become on the sand/with blisters...

What luxuries will you treat yourself to during the MdS? Compeed plasters

>>> Click here to support Jamie!


Rannoch Linnell

Why WWTW? I have always been a supporter of military charities and am a big believer in the way that WWTW target the root of issues through their programmes such as Head Start - which we are supporting this year. Mental health is a significant and growing problem for the ex-service community and one that needs support and promotion.

What luxuries will you treat yourself to during the MdS? Johnson's Baby Powder - it has yet let me down!

What will you be listening to on your iPod? IPod? Not taking one, I don't want the extra weight.

>>> Click here to support Rannoch!


Jim Seal

Why did you sign up to the MDS? Having been out of the military for just over 5 years, I felt I needed to test myself physically and mentally again.  As a Paratrooper, you thrive on keeping yourself in tip top condition but unfortunately when you leave the sudden change of lifestyle very quickly impacts on your mental well being. The MdS is the perfect opportunity for me to push myself to the limits again.  In a strange way, you could say that the challenge is a form of self-therapy.

What do you see as the biggest challenge? No doubt every day is going to be tough, but I think the biggest hurdle is going to be getting through the long day.  No matter how bad it gets I am sure the WWTW team spirit and camaraderie will help us all push on through the aches and pains.

What are you looking forward to the most at the end?!  Being back with my wife Katy and my 2 children Austin and Elodie.  Oh, and I’m sure a nice cold pint of Guinness will go down a treat as well!

>>> Click here to support Jim!


Jules Smith

Why WWTW? I am a serving soldier in the army and feel the charity is close to my heart and supports those that I have had the privilege to work alongside.

What luxuries will you treat yourself to during the MdS? A pillow and an iPod!

How’s your training going? Training is going really well. I've changed so much compared to 2016. My kit is different, the training programme is different. I'm also doing the Lanzarote MdS training camp in January. Really pleased with things so far, bar a couple of niggles.

>>> Click here to support Jules!


Chris Vasper

Why did you sign up to the MDS? I did the MdS in 2016 as a one off , never to be done again...but came back and I just knew I had to do it again! It’s a fantastic event, brutal, hard... but at the same time there's nothing quite like an event where it's you against yourself.

Why WWTW? I ran for WWTW in 2016. Running with guys who had been through so much was such a humbling experience.

What do you see as the biggest challenge? Trying to stay blister free. My feet were a blister Armageddon in 2016. 

>>> Click here to support Chris!


Mark Watson

Why did you sign up to the MdS? Since completing my therapy in 2015, I use running to maintain my state of mind and I am continually looking for the next challenge. When I was invited to join the team I did not hesitate. What greater challenge could I take on?!

Why WWTW? The charity literally saved my life. I was on the brink of ending it all until. My case worker was on holiday but heard my voicemail and had to call me. I owe so much to her and this charity. They have given me a purpose. They have given me a life that I have never had. (You can read Mark's story here...)

What are you looking forward to the most at the end?!  Simple. Completing. Oh and the pool. I cant swim, but after the dust of the dessert, to lie in a nice warm pool will be incredible.

>>> Click here to support Mark!


The Marathon des Sables will be taking place place between 6-16th April 2018 - we wish the whole WWTW team the very best of luck!

>>> Click here to follow the team's LIVE progress on the MdS website when the race begins.