9 May

Rookie Rob Conquers Marathon des Sables

Rob Cussons

Despite claiming not to be a runner, Rob Cussons from Glasgow has completed the Marathon des Sables - the gruelling 150-mile trek through the Sahara Desert. 34-year-old Rob ran the six-day race last month in 120 degree heat to raise £10,000 for Yorkhill Family House after the charity provided a home for his sister and brother-in-law while his nephew was treated in hospital.

His nephew, Sam Leask died aged just nine in 2012, 12 weeks after falling ill with a rare condition called polyarteritis. Rob felt that the Marathon des Sables would be a fitting challenge to commemorate Sam.

Rob, who stays in Pollokshields in Glasgow, said: “I was not a runner prior to training for this event. I think the last race I had undertaken was a fun run when I was 11 so it is still beyond my comprehension that I finished 248 out of over 1000 competitors.

“I think the key is doing the right training, taking the right food and having the determination to keep going despite competing in extremely tough conditions. In preparation I did a number of marathon length runs carrying a backpack, trained in the midday sun on holiday in Portugal and did back-to-back long runs. However training in Scotland in winter doesn’t really prepare you for the blistering heat of the Sahara.”

The Marathon des Sables is a completely self-sufficient race, with only water and medical checkpoints at every 6 to 10 miles. Competitors need to carry their own food for the entire week on their back as well as their water between checkpoints to sustain them throughout each of the five stages of the challenge.

Rob is close to meeting his target of £10,000 for Yorkhill Family House, which provides free accommodation for families of children being treated at Yorkhill Hospital. You can help Rob achieve his target by visiting his JustGiving page or by texting SAML95 £5 (or any other amount) to 70070.