There’s no doubt that running a marathon is an incredible achievement. The sheer amount of time, effort and dedication required for training alone is seriously impressive. So, when we first heard that East Grinstead resident, Doug Bewley, was planning to run 250km in the Sahara Desert of all places, we were delighted – but slightly stunned!
If you’re thinking that Doug’s name rings a bell, this isn’t the first time he’s completed an extreme challenge to raise money for Jigsaw (South East). During the lockdown of 2020, the 37-year-old father of twin boys, wowed us all by running a marathon every day for eight days on his treadmill, which raised over £7000.
Marathon Des Sables
Marathon Des Sables is billed as the toughest foot race on earth, described as ‘a gruelling multi-stage adventure in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments’. It entails running over 250 kms (156 miles) across endless sand dunes, rocky jebels and white-hot salt plains, carrying what you need to survive on your back. Yes really!
You might be wondering what would inspire a person take on such an extreme challenge, so we caught up with Doug to find out. He said:
After completing Iron Man triathlon which consisted of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.22-mile marathon, I wanted to take on the most difficult challenge I could find and of course raise money to support Jigsaw (South East). Marathon Des Sables was by far one of the toughest challenges out there!
Not only did Doug complete the Marathon Des Sable, but he also achieved a jaw-dropping 40th place out of over 1000 runners!
He says of his experience:
I went hoping for a top 100 finish knowing the lack of training since November was going to hamper me. I was amazed to be able to find an additional gear which allowed me to switch off the brain, ignore the pain and just push through. My weakness was definitely the long day, a lack of training cannot be hidden when running a double marathon but securing a 70th place on that stage kept me in the hunt at the top.
Outside of the racing, I have met great people and made some new friends. I have learnt a lot more about myself and it has helped to put life into perspective again, being forced to unplug from the world and detox from the technological age has certainly opened my eyes. I know in the modern world to thrive a level of connection is necessary, I am now certain that a balance can be had.
Brighton Marathon too!
Just one week after he returned, Doug also ran the Brighton Marathon and completed it in a mere 3h 3m and 34s. What a truly incredible achievement! We really can’t thank Doug enough for his ongoing support, amazing fundraising and we can’t wait to hear what his next adventure will be.
You can read more about Doug’s experience here: https://www.facebook.com/dbadventure/
If you’d be interested in taking on a challenge to raise money for Jigsaw, we’d love to hear from you! Perhaps you have already secured a space in the London Marathon and are searching for the perfect charity to support.