The man who said Saharan ultramarathon looked easy

IT’S time to put up or shut up for a Bascote man who said running six marathons over six days in the Saharan heat looked easy.

David Perryman made the throwaway remark after seeing the Marathon des Sables - a 150-mile run held over six days in the Moroccan desert - on the BBC panel game QI.

And having once casually cycled 2,000 miles around the UK in 30 days, he entered the desert race on the understanding that a place might not come up until 2015.

But after two competitors pulled out, the 42-year-old was given a last-minute place in the ultramarathon, considered the toughest foot race on earth.

With six months to go before the race starts on April 15, he has joined a gym, which he now visits every day.

The games developer, 43, said: “I’m usually the one sitting on the sofa saying these things look easy, so maybe it’s time to put up or shut up.”

Competitors must cover 156 miles in six days, with a longest single stage of 57 miles, carrying everything but the water they drink.

At first the 43-year-old, who doesn’t like running, thought the worst that could happen would be that he might have to walk.

This was before he learnt that one of the items competitors must carry is a venom pump to deal with snake bites and scorpion stings.

On top of running in temperatures of up to 48 degrees, competitors also risk attacks by rabid dogs and getting lost in sandstorms. Two competitors have died since the race was first held in 1986.

It is not just bravado that is making the Bascote resident go to the gym every day. Mr Perryman is running in aid of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Middlesex, where his wife Lois had years of treatment as a child for the spinal condition scoliosis.

The hospital needs to raise £15 million to pay for new buildings and equipment, and Mr Perryman is hoping to match the £4,000 he is paying to take part in the race.

The hospital’s head of fundraising Rosie Stolarski said: “We cannot thank David enough for undertaking this incredible challenge in aid of the RNOH Redevelopment Appeal - we wish him the very best of luck.”

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