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 - The trail ahead across the dunes and mountains at the Marathon des Sables Military charity

Meet the Marathon des Sables team

On Friday 1st October 2021, Walking With The Wounded’s largest Marathon des Sable (MdS) team are heading out to the Moroccan Sahara desert.

Marathon des Sables is one of the world's toughest endurance challenges, where participants run 250km in 7 days in blazing 40+ degree heat over difficult terrain.


In the run-up to the race, we are introducing you to the entirety of this year’s team:


First up is Colonel Lucy Giles. She is the first female College Commander at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and currently President of the Army Selection Board. After serving in the Army for 28 years, Lucy has decided to take on MdS: her first ultra-marathon. Lucy said, "I have friends who have been injured on operations (physically and mentally) and have also seen the power of a focus, such as completing the MDS, when you need it." 


Next up, we have Katie Hislop, who is taking part in MdS for the second time. She took part in her first MdS just after she joined the Army in 2000 and she completed MDS with two female colleagues. Together they became the first British All-Female team to complete it. This year, Katie is supporting WWTW. She said, "I love that the charity genuinely helps veterans to regain or retain their independence; all of us who serve will become veterans at some stage and it is great to know that there are brilliant charities like WWTW that can provide help if needed."


Next up, is Sean Clark. Sean has been running for 10 years. He even ran WWTW’s annual Cumbrian Challenge in 9 hours. Sean is running the MdS this year to show his support for those who served. 


Also taking on the challenge is Christopher Gaskin, a military veteran who recently achieved the world record for the fastest unsupported solo effort to climb to all 214 Wainwrights, the 214 English Peaks located in the Lake District (Project 214). Project 214 involved climbing to the top of all 214 Wainwrights without any external assistance, carrying everything needed for the challenge. The challenge lasted 14 days and covered a total distance of 520-540kms and included 95,000ft of ascent. 


Next up is Ryan Vander Weit, Health & Fitness Program Director at Home Base. Home Base is a partnership of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital; offering world-class clinical care and support, in addition to fitness and mind-body wellness programmes for Service Members and veterans. WWTW works closely in collaboration with Home Base, as part of our Veterans Trans-Atlantic Programme (VTAP) and we are grateful that Ryan is taking on the challenge to support our work.


Also deciding to take on MDS this year is Jamie Maker. Jamie has always had an affinity to military charities due to wanting to join the RAF from a young age, however, his deteriorating eyesight prevented him from doing so. The MdS is a bucket list item for Jamie. He said, "I'm looking forward to getting through a tough event and shaking hands with other competitors on the finish line. The sense of accomplishment will be an amazing experience, and I can't wait for that moment."


Next up is Josh Hignell, a keen long-distance runner who is looking forward to doing his first multi-day marathon, despite suffering a knee injury in 2019 that disrupted his training. Josh said he chose to support WWTW because the charity "is such a worthy and commendable charity that gives the most deserving people, who have sacrificed so much, a second chance."


Also taking on MDS this October is Jack Fleckney. Jack is a former Royal Marine and director of ShireFit, a new type of gym that makes fitness fun.

Finally, we have Aiden West who is a subsea consultant and a regular participant in our annual Cumbrian Challenge. We are so grateful that Aiden has decided to support WWTW in his MDS challenge this year!

Good luck to all of the team and, thank you for supporting those who served.