Sahara success reaps rewards for charity

David battled blisters and searing heat to complete the ultra-marathon
David battled blisters and searing heat to complete the ultra-marathon

A 54-year-old Howe of Fife man has returned home triumphant after completing one of the world’s most gruelling challenges.

David Cowan, who is harvesting manager for Kettle Produce, battled blisters and searing heat to finish the arduous Marathon Des Sables, a 156-mile, seven-day trek through the Sahara Desert.

And impressively, he secured a finishing position of 258th out of the 1165 participants who began the race.

He also raised almost £2500 for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), whose Rachel House faclity in Kinross cares for children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

David’s event entry fees were covered by Kettle Produce, one of Fife’s largest employers, which has two sites in the Howe.

“Even the stunning Sahara desert landscape could not detract from the fact that this race is one of the toughest in the ultra-marathon calendar,” said David, who lives in Kingskettle.

“I set off with a positive approach to the challenge, knowing that it was possible for me to power walk each daily distance within the allocated cut off times.

“However, even with this steady approach, I struggled with blisters and painful feet. By the end of the race my feet were well and truly wrapped up with plasters and bandages and were extremely painful.

“The care and attention of the medical teams and marshals throughout the length of the race was fantastic, and the camaraderie I found with the other participants really made the event enjoyable.

“Messages from family, friends and workmates were delivered to me each night and encouraged me so much,” he continued.

“I am absolutely thrilled with my finishing place and, more importantly, the money I have raised for CHAS. It is such a deserving cause and every penny will be put to good use.

“It might sound mad, but I would love to do this race again and see if I can improve my standing!”

Kettle Produce financial director, Liz Waugh praised David’s superhuman effort.

“We are all extremely proud of David’s achievement”, she said. “His drive and commitment ensured the completion of this gruelling course with an excellent finishing time and another fantastic contribution to CHAS.”

Participants in the Marathon des Sables have to be self-sufficient and carry all their own food and equipment for the week on their back.

They sleep in communal goats’ hair Berber tents and water is rationed, with time penalties for exceeding the ration.

To donate to David’s fundraising total, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/David-COWAN6