Searing 50-degree heat and gruelling sands are just two of the obstacles a Worthing woman is taking on in support of a children’s cancer charity.
Andrea Gharsalla, 54, is running the Marathon Des Sables (MDS), a 156 mile race across the punishing Sahara desert.
After ten months’ training, she flew out to Morocco yesterday, ready to start the six day ultramarathon today.
“I have aspirations to achieve extraordinary goals and keep pushing myself to challenge my limits,” said Andrea.
Billed as the toughest footrace on earth, runners from across the world fly out to battle the harsh Sahara desert.
The race begins today and takes six days.
Andrea said: “I have no natural running ability, never being very sporty at school and started running around three-and-a-half years ago.
“In six days, we will aim to complete 250km, all self-sufficient, carrying all our own food, sleeping bag, first-aid and supplies.
“During my last year of training, I think I have gained a mental strength and it’s a huge part of ultra-running. It helps keep you going when your body wants to shut down.”
Watch the video above to see how Andrea trained in a special heat chamber to simulate the temperatures she will experience in the desert.
Andrea is raising money for Children with Cancer UK, which strives to find cures and provide support for children with cancer.
She said: “Children with Cancer UK are dedicated to their fight against childhood cancer, and funding life saving research into cause and prevention.
“Help me raise money for this worthy charity and for all those children,” Andrea added.
Members of the public can donate to Andrea’s cause on her JustGiving page.
“What I think about when I think about what’s ahead of me? Burning heat, endless sand, and camel spiders,” Andrea added.