9 May 2013
Considered one of the toughest footraces on Earth, the Marathon des Sables is not for the faint hearted. Covering a gruelling 254 km - the equivalent of five and a half marathons - competitors battle extreme temperatures of up to 50°C, hostile sandstorms, and the ever present danger of the desert wildlife.
As if this wasn't hard enough, the runners are required to carry all their own food, sleeping gear and anti-venom treatments.
In the 28 year history of the event, three runners have actually died during the race.
Did this put Wellington runners Greig Rightford and Willie Tokona off? Not a chance!
Seeing the race as an opportunity to challenge themselves both physically and mentally, Greig and Willie spent over two years training for the event. Their efforts paid off with both runners not only completing the marathon, but doing so in the top 100. Greig finished 62nd overall, and Willie 75th.
In the process Greig and Willie raised $28,000 in support of the Malaghan Institute's research.
On behalf of everyone at the Malaghan Institute we offer our heartfelt congratulations to you both on your inspiring journey and thank you sincerely for the money you raised in support of our research.
HEAR WHAT THE EXPERIENCE WAS LIKE IN WILLIE'S OWN WORDS
Listen to Willie speak about his experiences running across the Sahara in a recent interview with Jason Pine for NewstalkZB.