Charity fund raising at Fire station

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My name is John Hibberd and I am a Firefighter on Green Watch at Colchester. In April 2007 I will be attempting to run a Multi Stage Ultra event which is regarded as "The Toughest Foot Race on Earth" The event is the Marathon Des Sables, an annual event which takes part in the Sahara Desert (Morocco). Approximately 750 participants, 200 of which are British, will attempt to run 151 miles across the desert in temperatures exceeding 120°F.More details can be found on

The distance covered will be 243km/151 miles (made up of legs of 25, 34, 38, 82, 42, 22 km) run over 6 days which is equivalent to 5 1/2 regular marathons.
That's a speed of between 3 and 14 km an hour. In addition to that, we have to carry everything we will need for the duration (apart from water and a tent) on our backs in a rucksack (food, clothes, medical kit, sleeping bag etc).
We will have to prepare all our own food throughout the race. The body will have to contend with mid-day temperatures going up to 120°F and running on uneven rocky, stony ground as well as 15 - 20% of the distance being in sand dunes.
The heat, distance and rubbing will trash our feet and may cause severe trauma if incorrect shoes and equipment are not used. Mental stamina probably constitutes at least 50% of whether this race will be completed or not. Physical fitness is important but don't underestimate the mental stress that we will need to be endured.
Even if we have run dozens of 26-mile marathons (which of course I have not), this does not mean that we would automatically find the MdS easy.
On the 3rd day it is the dreaded Dunes day running continuously up and down 60 metres sand dunes for 36km, if that seems bad on the 4th day, we will set off across the barren wilderness to complete an 80km stage. Few people complete this before dark that evening and some will not come in till after dark the next night. This is followed by an in comparison relatively mild 42km Marathon stage!! It is tough!! Very tough!!

Back packs are estimated on average to weigh approximately 30Lbs. SO………. If my body and feet are going to be trashed then I reckon someone else should get the benefit!!! I have decided to run for the St. Helena hospice in Colchester.

On the 18th March I am having a Charity race night at Colchester Fire station and am looking to raise as much money as possible for the hospice. Tickets are £4 per person and this includes a urry and rice meal. They are available from me on 07837 392294 or

For your reference the night is advertised on the hospice web site

St Helena Hospice needs £6 every minute to keep up the valuable work that they do for the people of Colchester. You never know when you or one of your loved ones will need them. Please help me to help them.

Thanks for your time.