Watton pharmacist Geoff Ray to take on the gruelling Marathon Des Sables.

Pharmacist Geoff Ray will be taking on the Marathon Des Sables next month. Picture: Rachel Ray

Pharmacist Geoff Ray will be taking on the Marathon Des Sables next month. Picture: Rachel Ray - Credit: Archant

It is known as the toughest footrace on earth.

And now a Breckland pharmacist is getting ready to put himself through the gruelling Marathon Des Stables.

Geoff Ray, director of Total Health Pharmacy in Watton, will take on the challenge in April and will run the equivalent of five-and-a-half marathons, or 155 miles, in six days across the Sahara Desert.

Mr Ray, who lives in Great Ellingham, near Attleborough, said: 'There is apprehension but it is supposed to be life-changing. It is going to be interesting. It gives you the chance to reflect and refocus your mind.

'People say about the beauty of the Sahara Desert and at night time.'

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The 50-year-old will be raising money for Cancer Research UK and has been training for the past 15 months.

He has completed marathons in the past and Mr Ray said it is something he has always wanted to do.

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He said: 'When I was younger I was always into sport and was aware of this type of event. I always had it in the back of my mind that I would do it.

'I applied and I got my place.'

The Marathon Des Sables can take place in temperatures of 50°C plus. Participants are expected to carry their food, clothing and equipment themselves.

Water is provided by the organisers, who also put up the runners' tents.

To help him get used to running in hot temperatures and to recognise his body's warning signs, Mr Ray will be attending a session at the Porsche Driving Experience Centre at Silverstone, where they have heat chamber.

So far Mr Ray has raised nearly £4,000 of his £5,000 target.

He said: 'We have had cancer in our family and we have friends who have had it too. Working in the medical profession with our customers, it is something I can relate too.

'I will need something to believe in when it gets tough.'

There are 1,000 participants in the race from around the world, and the pharmacist is one of 200 from the UK. He has met people from other parts of East Anglia and said he will be sharing a tent with them during the six days.

The race starts on April 7.

To sponsor Geoff Ray visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Geoff-Ray

Are you taking on a challenge to raise money for charity? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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