Ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth, County Deer Stalking’s cameraman Ewan Dryburgh sets out to run the Marathon Des Sables.

Ewan on Location 555

(Above: bottom/left - Ewan in action on location with the BBC in Uganda)

You may or may not be aware of the hard work of our cameraman Ewan Dryburgh. Over the last couple of years Ewan’s efforts in producing high quality Stalking films have been greatly appreciated by both myself and around 300,000 viewers. Next month Ewan is setting out to run the 2016 Marathon Des Sables and what is more, he is doing it in aid of the charity ‘Hope for Children’.

For any of our readers who have enjoyed our monthly films and are feeling charitable, but do not wish to endure this type of greweling challenge themselves, please give some thought to sponsoring Ewan in what I trust will prove to be an epic adventure.

Ewan takes up the story in his own words:

Last year I made a decision, which over the last year has been slowly changing my life. I decided that I would run in the Marathon Des Sables, the toughest footrace on earth, six marathons in six days, carrying all the equipment and provisions that you need for the trip, on your back, across the dunes of the Sahara, in Morocco, no small undertaking!

Ewan Dryburgh Marathon

At the time of making this decision a year ago, the future felt a long way off and that what was to come is now just one short month away. The start line looms in the desert, where to the sound of ACDC’s ‘Hells Bells’ the race gets underway. A black camel brings up the rear as the 'grim reaper' of the race, get over taken by it and you’re out.

A year ago it was simple to say yes, now with less than a month to go, what is to come, has started spilling into my dreams. Just the other night I was running through the desert and entered camp for the night, everyone adding boiling water to their dehydrated food. I sat down and opened my bag to find I had forgotten to pack any food, now thwart with panic I woke, realising that my unconscious mind was now affected as much as my conscious.

I train of course, a lot, but my job can put a holt to exercise for anything up to a month at a time. In fact I am just back from a month in Uganda shooting a BBC Natural World, as much as I need to, you defiantly can’t just go off running in the bush! In addition there aren’t enough hours in the day for training and shooting, which in turn adds more pressure and strain the closer the date comes.

Over the course of the year though I have pushed and trained and surprised myself, winning the Ben Nevis half marathon in 2015, running my fastest ever ten miles in Alice Springs, Australia in 50 degree heat, whilst on another BBC shoot. Now that I am back I run four to five times a week up and down Alexander Palace Hill, London with my 6kg pack for ten miles at a time. Running on a treadmill in my room with a pack on, the heaters whipping up Dantes inferno, all of which can only but slightly prepare one for what is to come.

You can’t really, ever be fully prepared for this epic run across the desert, and I think that is what makes it so alluring and worthwhile, the fear of the unknown.

In a month all shall become terrifyingly clear. When I decided to do this a year ago it wasn’t just about me it was also about doing something for others. And so I am running for the charity ‘Hope for Children’, which enables vulnerable children to experience a positive childhood by improving their access to education and healthcare, whilst empowering their families to support themselves.

After working in Africa and seeing the help that others need, it seemed like the least I could do whilst on the quest of self discovery, to enrich others with my sweat and tears, fairs fair. My charity shall be the vessel of my body over the course of those six days, but if you would like to donate to ‘Hope for Children’ and make my run pack a heavier punch, I and others less fortunate salute you.

If you would like to donate to this worthwhile cause then please click on the following link everydayhero

To watch one of Ewans many films visit our 'Short Films' page by following this link: short-films




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