Greig and Willie’s Sahara Charity Challenge – 2013

21 February 2012, Supporting the Malaghan Institute

Local Wellington fitness gurus Greig Rightford and William Tokona are in training and set to take part in the gruelling Marathon De Sables in early 2013. The legendary six day, 243km endurance race across the Moroccan Sahara is described by event organisers as “quite simply the toughest footrace on earth.”

“It’s just so insane… isn’t it? To not only run in the searing heat and sand swept terrain of the Sahara, but also ensure one’s safety against the perils of sandstorms, quicksand, cobras and scorpions that occur and inhabit the desert,” says Greig.

“It’s what makes it so appealing,” says Willie. “It’s the possible danger to one’s own safety and well-being that attracts me to this event. It allows you to examine your physical and mental capabilities, in a way that very few people will encounter in their lifetime.”

How they handle the physical and mental challenge of competing in such an event is a main driver in the pair entering this desert race. A no less important motivation to them is providing inspiration to clients, friends and family - that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things - with the right attitude, planning and preparation.

“I want to do this event because I feel like this race is the answer to the question I've had since I was little,” says Greig. “Can I run a little further, can I extend myself a bit further - I need to do this event to find out the answer.”

Greig and Willie also wanted to use the opportunity to make a difference. “We thought that it would be great to represent an organisation that has a positive impact in the Wellington community and after reviewing several charities, we agreed on the Malaghan Institute. It had the appeal of being a local organisation with global implications,” says Greig.

On Wednesday, January 25th, Greig and Willie gave the public an insight into their incredible stamina and perseverance. Taking one hour shifts, they ran a full 12 hours on a treadmill in the middle of Wellington’s Midland Park. After hitting their 120km target by 3pm they decided to carry on and by 6pm they finished on an incredible 149.56km. Not only was this effort amazing in itself, they also raised $1374.90 for the Malaghan Institute and were featured on TV One’s Breakfast Show.

Greig and Willie encourage you to support their fundraising efforts for the Malaghan Institute. They have set a significant goal of raising $50,000 and every donation counts. To view their fundraising page and sponsor them online visit: http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/SaharaCharityChallenge2013/

You can also visit their Facebook page by clicking here or searching Sahara Charity Challenge.