Whalley man (59) completes one of ‘toughest human challenges in world’

FINISH LINE: Phil is pictured with his medal after crossing the finish line of the 27th Marathon Des Sables. (s)
FINISH LINE: Phil is pictured with his medal after crossing the finish line of the 27th Marathon Des Sables. (s)

FORMER mental health nurse Phil White has completed one of the toughest human challenges in the world raising £8,500 so far for MENCAP, the learning disability charity.

Phil (59), of Whalley, ran the 27th Marathon Des Sables earlier this month, a massive undertaking that is a 155 mile race across the Sahara desert, carrying all of his own food and water.

Known as the ‘toughest foot race in the world’, the marathon is a six-day self sufficient stage race across some of the world’s toughest terrain including barren wilderness and rocky, uneven ground, with day temperatures reaching in excess of 48˚c. The race is the equivalent of five and a half full marathons, with a full 50 miles being run in the sixth and final stage of the competition.

Recalling his adventure, Phil said: “The race was fantastic. It was the hardest thing I have done in my life. It was physically and mentally challenging. Each day you were pushed to the limit.”

He added: “The weather did not help, we had high temperatures 58˚c, sand storms, wind, hail storms and rain. On the long day I was stuck at the check point for six hours due to the sand storm. I stayed with a guy from London who shared my tent as he was struggling. He found out later he had a hairline fracture on his left foot.

“The terrain was rocky, deep sand dunes, mountains and river beds. The leader of the race got injured and had to drop out. At the end of each day the medical tents were full of people needing treatment. I got away with four blisters. About 60 people dropped out during the race with various injuries.

“Each day the race leg started with the record Road to Hell playing. Now I know why.”

Phil is aiming to raise £10,000 and to make a donation visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/philwhite3