Pub regular is ready to take on the world’s toughest race
A PUB regular is in training to take part in the toughest race on earth despite being only a few years from his 60th birthday.
Andy Heath, a 57 year-old customer at Everards’ pub The Somerville Arms in Leamington, will be swapping pints in the pub for pints of water in the desert as he gets set to tackle the Marathon Des Sables – a 156 miles foot race described as the ‘toughest race on earth’.
Taking place in April, the Marathon Des Sables is run in six stages across the Sahara Desert, with competitors being self sufficient in everything but water, which is collected at check points during the route.
It means Mr Heath will have to carry a week’s supply of food, clothing and a sleeping bag while he runs through sand and over dunes and mountain ranges.
He has paid £3,800 in entry fees to take part in the prestigious event and hopes to finish in the top 1,000 of the 5,000 taking part.
Mr Heath, who runs his own security company Green Karabiner, said: “I put forward my entry about two years ago and because of the long waiting list to take part I have only just been accepted.
“It’s been a bit of an interrupted run-up as a spate of injuries have had a real impact on my training. But I am determined not to let it get in the way as I have always wanted to take part in the Marathon Des Sables. Everyone in The Somerville Arms has been really supportive, talking about the event and wishing me good luck when I finally go for it in April.”
Mr Heath’s regular walk to the pub, which is only a few doors away from his home, does not form part of his training schedule he does have to put about 12 hours of regular running and gym work in each week.
His preparation will stand him in good stead for the gruelling event, which begins with a six-hour drive out into the Sahara Desert in Morocco, before the race starts on April 7.
Mr Heath is taking part in the Marathon Des Sables as part of a lifetime ambition to participate in the event.
He is an experienced distance runner and fundraiser, raising over £10,000 for various charities through his involvement in marathons and endurance races.
The Somerville Arms was named CAMRA’s Best Heart of Warwickshire Pub of the Year for the second year running last year.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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