Andrew hopes his fitness doesn’t desert him in trek

Andrew Landells, 27, is in training to complete a 150-mile trek across the Sahara for Mencap. He has also planned fundraisers throughout the year including a Mad Hatters tea party. Picture: Marie Caley D3580MC

Andrew Landells, 27, is in training to complete a 150-mile trek across the Sahara for Mencap. He has also planned fundraisers throughout the year including a Mad Hatters tea party. Picture: Marie Caley D3580MC

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AROUND half of its participants drop out, but that’s the last thing on one fitness fanatic’s mind as he aims to complete a gruelling 150-mile trek across the Sahara desert.

Determined Andrew Landells has given himself the mother of all challenges, to complete the Marathon des Sables - dubbed the ‘toughest footrace on Earth’.

The epic test of endurance covers around 150 miles across the desert in six days - the equivalent of five-and-a-half marathons in the most extreme of conditions which includes sand dunes and unpredictable temperatures.

In preparation for the challenge, 27-year-old Andrew of St Mary’s Road, Tickhill, has already completed the two-day 60-mile Grantham Canal Ultra race and will be competing in the 50-mile Cardiff Ultra and Nottingham City Ultra 50k tests.

Andrew, a firefighter at Robin Hood Airport in Finningley, wants to complete the Sahara challenge in aid of Mencap and has a target of raising £10,000 for the leading disability charity.

“After watching James Cracknell’s ‘The Toughest Race on Earth’ I couldn’t get the idea out my head,” said the qualified personal trainer.

“I can switch off quite easily when I’m exercising which will be important for this race because I will need to just focus on what I have to do.

“I’m training in the meantime by doing a few races and will also be taking out my equipment during runs to see how I will cope because when I’m in the desert I have to take everything with me like food and water and it will weigh about 10 kilos altogether.

“I can’t wait to just have the chance to sleep under the stars and know I am running for such a fantastic cause.

“Everyone has been really supportive so far, my girlfriend Sophia has been really great too.

“If I manage to complete the event successfully it will be one of my greatest achievements, but doing it for Mencap will make it one of my proudest.”

Andrew is also organising a tea and coffee morning at the Tickhill Parish Rooms to help fundraise for his trek which is to take place in either March or April of next year.

Everyone is invited to the fundraiser in Northgate on May 27, at 10am.

There will be a raffle, games on offer and cakes for sale.

Support Andrew’s cause by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/rewmds2013