Social housing consultant Steve Smedley is to run six marathons in six days across the Sahara Desert to raise money for charity.
The 50-year-old, of Fritchley, is taking on the gruelling Marathon des Sables – dubbed the toughest foot race on earth – in a bid to raise cash for Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), which campaigns for an end to child poverty in the UK.
Runners in the 156-mile ‘ultramarathon’ across the Moroccan Sahara must endure temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, carrying all their equipment on their backs and sleeping in tents along the way.
Steve said: “When I turned 40 I decided to get fit – I ran eight miles one day and it made me think about what I was capable of. I discovered ultramarathons and since then I’ve run 40, then 50, then 78 miles and mountain ultras too. I don’t consider myself to be particularly sporty but it just shows what you can do if you put your mind to it and put the effort in.
“Basically I thought doing the Marathon des Sables for CPAG would be a positive use of my mid-life crisis!”
Steve admits the event, which gets underway on April 6, will be his most difficult challenge yet. He said: “I’ve run 50 miles before and last year I did 78 miles, which is three consecutive marathons. But all the things I’ve done previously have been done in one day whereas this is a staged event. I hope it will capture people’s imagination just because it’s completely bonkers!”
Steve runs Yarrow social housing consultancy, in Bowmer Lane, Fritchley. He has worked in social housing since 1989 and been a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) for more than 20 years..
He added: “I’ve worked in social housing for a long time and I’m a real believer in housing as a force for good. It seems to me that child poverty is increasing – life seems to be getting harder for poorer people so when I saw CIH was supporting CPAG I thought I’d go for it.”
CIH President Paul Tennant said: “The money he raises will be going towards CPAG’s mission to end child poverty, because today there are 3.6 million children living in poverty in the UK. That’s more than one in four going cold and hungry in 2014, which is simply unacceptable – these figures should shame us all. In his own words, what Steve is doing completely bonkers and I’m inclined to agree! I really hope everyone in the housing community gets behind him.”
To support Steve visit his online donation page at http://www.justgiving.com/Steve-Smedley2