Captain John takes on epic desert race

Captain John Ford
Captain John Ford
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Captain John Ford of the Scots Guards will run an epic desert for a soldier’s charity later this year.

He is training to take on one of the world’s toughest physical challenges to raise money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the National Charity of the British Army.

Captain Ford, who is based in Edinburgh Castle, will be competing in the Marathon des Sables, a 156-mile race held in the deserts of North Africa.

The Marathon Des Sables – Marathon of the Sand – is held every year in the Moroccan Sahara Desert. It sees hundreds of competitors take part, completing the equivalent of six marathons in five consecutive days, all in temperatures of up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

John hopes to raise several thousand pounds for The Soldiers’ Charity, he is also aiming to finish in the top 200, with a competitor field of more than 1,500 entrants.

To train for the event, he will be taking part in various marathons around the world and events and - running at least 100 miles every week.

Capt John Ford said: “How hard the event is depends on whether you want to complete it or compete in it.

“I plan to complete it, first and foremost pushing myself as hard as I can for a top 200 place, if not better, it is well within my grasp.

“I will be training as hard as I can, it is not an event you can just turn up to and hope to get by”

“The Soldiers’ Charity supports soldiers, veterans and their families throughout their lives.

They will be there to help anyone in the Army family whenever they may need it, so I am more than happy to raise money for them while taking on this challenge.”

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has been Army’s National Charity since 1944. It supports thousands of soldiers, veterans and their immediate families each year.

The charity makes financial grants to individuals in times of need and specialist charities supporting the wider Army family.

Charles Dunphie, the charity’s Regional Director Scotland, said: “This certainly is not for the faint-hearted. 156 miles over five days on 100 degree heat, it will be a real test for John.

“It is a fantastic and brave effort and his support means The Soldiers’ Charity can continue its vital work helping soldiers in need and their families. The money raised will help to make a real difference to the quality of life for our brave and hardworking soldiers.”

Marathon Des Sables has been dubbed the “The Toughest Footrace on Earth” by the Discovery Channel.

The multi-stage adventure sees participants run through a mythical landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments. You have to carry your own food and equipment for the week on your back. Runners sleep in communal goat’s-hair Berber tents and water is rationed and ifrunners exceed the ration get a time penalty.