Richard and Dan raise £14,000 with Sahara running challenge

FRIENDS Richard Conroy and Dan Kirby took on the blistering heat of the Sahara Desert - not to mention scorpions, sand storms and camel spiders - to raise almost £14,000 for charity.

Richard, the CEO of Yorkshire property developer Conroy Brook/Ben Bailey Group, and Dan, of tech company The Tech Dept, competed in the gruelling 250km Marathon des Sables.

 And by the time they crossed the finish line after five punishing days or hard running they had raised £13,800 for Kids Out, the charity that provides over 70,000 disadvantaged UK children a year with fun days out and toy boxes.

Launched 35 years ago, the Marathon des Sables is described as the toughest footrace on earth and is made up of five daily marathon sessions, taking competitors into the searing temperatures of the Moroccan Sahara.

But the toughest session of all is the “long day” where competitors are expected to complete 80km in one go.

 “The race organisers provide only water and shelter and we had to carry everything else ourselves, which in temperatures of up to 56 degrees was a tough challenge,” said Richard.

 “Sleeping rough in a berber goat-hair bivouac shared by eight runners every night was another tough call at the end of every day.

 “The terrain was incredibly varied and nothing at all like the Derbyshire Peaks where we had done our training - sand dunes, dried lake beds, hills and rocky moonscapes.

 “Then there was a 12-hour sandstorm and 50 mile-per-hour headwinds to contend with, as well as boiling hot temperatures during the day and it being freezing cold at night.

 “And on top of all that, there was the wildlife - wild camels, scorpions and camel spiders!

 “It felt at times like we had bitten off far more than we could chew but it was an incredible feeling to cross the finish line and know that we had raised so much for such a great charity.”