Bank worker enters ultra marathon after horror rugby injury

Toby Clements is running the Marathon Des Sables
Toby Clements is running the Marathon Des Sables
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EIGHT years ago, Toby Clements believed he would never run again after a terrible rugby accident.

Now the 30-year-old is preparing to take on the toughest foot race in the world – six marathons in six days in the searing heat of the Sahara Desert.

Toby, from the West End, signed up for the Marathon Des Sables in the hope of raising £10,000 for children’s hospice Naomi House.

In previous years, one runner ended up drinking his own bodily fluids after getting lost and, to date, two participants have died on the Moroccan ultra-marathon, which pushes runners to the limit physically and psychologically.

Athletes will have to contend with uneven and rocky ground, rationed water and will be required to carry everything they need for their journey on their backs.

The head of strategy and planning at Tesco Bank in South Gyle said: “After the accident, I never expected to run again. It happened when I was at university in 2004 and I was playing for Hampshire.

“I didn’t run for a long time – in fact, I didn’t walk for six months – and I had to have two operations, one of which was a big one.”

Out of sheer determination, Toby eventually got back on his feet and he will now be one of 850 runners from across the world – and 150 from the UK, – who will take on the 250km race in April.

“A few years ago a couple of my friends from a previous job did it and I knew of it being regarded as the toughest foot race out there so I thought it would be a great achievement to attempt,” he said.

“But there was a four-year waiting list, so I only found out this year that I had been successful. I’m looking forward to it.”

Cheering Toby on at the finish line will be his father and brother, who are to fly out for the final leg.

Toby admits he feels some trepidation about the race.

“I think the heat is the most intimidating factor for me,” he said.

“There’s the sheer distance – trying to complete a marathon every day, and one of the days there is two. Then there’s the scorpions – everyone has to carry their own anti-venom.

“Not many people are silly enough to sign up for it in the first place. Unfortunately, a couple of people have died during the race and people frequently get lost.

“One guy got lost for a couple of days and ended up having to catch bats and drink his own bodily fluids.”

Speaking of the cause he has chosen to support, he said: “I have supported the charity for a long time.

“Any children’s charity, particularly a hospice offering palliative care, should be there in anyone’s heart.”

To sponsor Toby, visit {http:// www.justgiving.com/Toby-Clements|www.justgiving.com/Toby-Clements|www.justgiving.com/Toby-Clements}