About the challenge

Andrew’s Not Just Running Our Firm – He’s Running the Toughest Footrace on Earth

All of us at ETX Capital are proud of our intrepid CEO. Most Chief Executive Officers have quite enough on their plate without planning to run any form of marathon, let alone an event ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth.  Not our CEO, though.  Andrew is currently training hard for a race that gives even the most seasoned marathon runners a reason to pause; the Marathon des Sables, or ‘Marathon of the Sands.’

Let’s talk numbers. The Marathon des Sables – also known as MdS – is around 250 km in length and takes place over six days. Based in Southern Morocco, as its name suggests it takes place in the desert – the Sahara desert, to be precise, meaning that runners often have to cope with sizzling temperatures of above 50 degrees centigrade/ 100 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as the surface of shifting sand and the rise and fall of dunes beneath their feet. Not only that, but participants have to carry everything they need to survive along with them apart from water and a tent, with near self-sufficiency being a part of the rules.

Training, therefore, isn’t just about running. It’s about learning how to run most effectively whilst carrying a heavy weight on one’s back. It’s about working on the ability to run in high-temperature conditions – not always so easy to train for if, like Andrew, you live in the UK. Pre-planning is also key – what food to take and when to eat it, preparing the feet for the pulverising experience of dune running, deciding what to take in your pack not just based on utility but also on weight. Forget about planning based on the course – the routes change every year. Runners are advised to consume between 3,000 and 4,000 calories a day, and compulsory items of kit include an anti-venom pump, a compass and an aluminium survival sheet. It’s small wonder that many participants only have one objective in mind – to make it across the finish line.

Andrew is running the MdS for a very worthy cause – Hope for Children, a charity operating in nine different countries – Ghana, India, Kenya, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, the UK and Zimbabwe. Millions of children worldwide live in abject poverty, without food, clean water, medicine or a proper roof over their heads. Many are forced to work long hours for no pay, as well as being subjected to physical, mental and sexual abuse. Hope operates a number of different programs which are aimed at improving the circumstances of both children and families currently living under intolerable conditions. All of us at ETX are incredibly proud of Andrew for agreeing to put himself through such a gruelling experience as the MdS in order to raise money for an incredible organisation like Hope. For more information about Hope and the wonderful work it does, have a look at http://www.hope-for-children.org/

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