“Luckily, I managed to avoid heatstroke and finish the race. The toughest day was 90km and took me over 22 hours” – farmer Andrew raises more than £12,700 after completing the Marathon Des Sables (MdS) ultramarathon

A fearsome farmer tackled searing heat to complete an epic ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert. Andrew Greenwell took on the energy-sapping Marathon Des Sables (MdS) – a six-day, 250km (156-mile) event regarded as the toughest footrace on earth – for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

The 39-year-old defied sweltering conditions to complete the challenge and raise more than £12,700.

“Everything went well but it was certainly a challenge,” said dad-of-three Andrew, who lives near Woodbridge and runs Capel St Andrew Farms.

“The temperatures were extreme, even for the Sahara, and were often in the mid to high 40s. That made running, eating and drinking more of a challenge.

“However, luckily, I managed to avoid heatstroke and finish the race. The toughest day was the fourth one which was 90km and took me over 22 hours.”

The MdS, approximately the distance of six regular marathons, is held every year in southern Morocco and the longest single stage is an eye-watering 91km. It equates to roughly a marathon a day for the first three days and then a double marathon on the fourth day.

After a rest day, hardy participants do another marathon before finishing with six miles on the last day. It is a self-sufficiency race, so participants carry their own belongings. The only thing they are given is water, which is rationed.

They sleep in open-sided tents, which are big enough for seven or eight people. Prior to flying out to Morocco, Andrew trained for months, took expert advice in terms of kit and nutrition and stepped up his preparations during a training camp in Lanzarote.

“I’ve always done a certain amount of exercise and running, but it was nice to have a challenge to focus on and work towards,” he said.

“It was a great challenge in a part of the world I probably wouldn’t have the chance to go to otherwise. The most important thing, of course, was to raise money and awareness and I was delighted to support EACH.

“It’s such a fantastic, worthy cause and crucially important for so many families.”

Andrew is no stranger to fundraising or supporting worthy causes, having previously supported the MS Society, Cancer Research and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. He and his business are also part of the Giving Circle – an important network of dedicated supporters who commit to making regular donations totalling £1,000 a year or more towards EACH’s work.

To sponsor Andrew, click here.

Notes to Editors

“EACH has made us all feel part of an extended family and, thanks to staff and fellow families, we’re not alone with problems. We always leave The Treehouse feeling positive, stronger and thankful.”

  • We care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and support their families.
  • We offer families flexibility and control over where they receive their care and support, including where their child dies – at home, in hospital or at one of three hospices at Milton (Cambridge), The Nook (Norfolk) and The Treehouse (Ipswich).
  • Our family-centred approach includes specialist nursing care, symptom management support, short breaks, wellbeing activities, therapies and counselling, all meeting the individual needs of the child, young person and whole family.
  • We are recognised as leaders in our field, with a reputation for excellence and commitment to pioneering development and innovation.
  • We rely on voluntary donations for the majority of our income and this year need to raise £5.8 million from fundraising and £6.5 million in income from our shops. The year before the pandemic we received just 16% of our total income from statutory sources.
  • EACH Royal Patron –Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.
  • For more information about EACH, including forthcoming events and how you can help raise funds,visit each.org.uk or call our Suffolk fundraisers on 01473 917965.

Keep in touch:


For further information about this release please contact:

Matt Plummer | Media and PR Manager | 07738 328058 | Matt.Plummer@each.org.uk

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