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Interserve Security Officer treks the Sahara for charity.

Interserve Security : 25 February, 2008  (Company News)
Former Royal Marine takes on the gruelling challenge of the Marathon Des Sables to raise money for Macmillan and the RNLI.
Karl Platt, an officer with Interserve Security - formerly MacLellan Attlaw Security is set to take on one of the toughest endurance tests known to man - and all in the aid of charity.

Karl, a former Royal Marine, has entered the Marathon Des Sables, which is described as the 'toughest footrace on earth' to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Royal National Lifeboat Institution

About 700 runners compete in the Marathon Des Sables, trekking across the Sahara Desert in Morocco over a mixture of uneven, rocky ground, with about 20% of the distance comprising sand dunes. It covers 243km (151 miles) and will take six days (or seven for some) - the equivalent to five and a half regular marathons.

During the race, which is held at the beginning of March, runners will experience midday temperatures of up to 120F. Not only that, but runners will have to prepare all their own food throughout the race and must carry everything they will need for the duration (apart from a tent) on their backs in a rucksack (this includes all food, clothes, medical kit, sleeping bag etc).

"Mental stamina probably constitutes at least 50% of whether you will complete the distance or not," Karl says, "and mentally I feel pretty fit. Physical fitness is also important, of course, but I don't underestimate the mental stress that I will need to endure, and that's the difficult part to train for."

This arduous event would certainly not appeal to everyone, but for Karl, his 13 years in the Royal Marines have put him in good stead, as he explains: "I've always enjoyed challenges, from my career in the Marines, to my position as Contracts Manager at Interserve, and so was keen to take part in the ultimate physical challenge.

"This is an incredibly popular event and so I have been on the waiting list for two years, which has given me plenty of time to train and prepare. The real training however, started in September, so I've been running between 90 to 100 miles per week, with longer runs up to marathon distance at the weekend, along with other long runs when I can fit them in during the week."

Training in the British winter is not ideal preparation for the warm Moroccan climate, but Karl has adopted some interesting techniques to help him acclimatise: "A friend has a sauna so I've been skipping in that and I've also been wearing multiple layers when I train at the gym - I get some funny looks but it'll be worth it. I'm also going to spend a weekend in Braunton Sands near Barnstaple to practice endurance running off-road and in the sand.

"I'm not too worried though," he continues. "During my time in the Marines I travelled all over the world, spending many months in Egypt so I know how to prepare for the warmer climate. I'm also comfortable running with a rucksack and carrying my own kit."

Mike Crump, Managing Director of Interserve Security commented: "We pride ourselves on our officers going the extra mile, but in this case Karl is taking it to the extreme! He is running for two worthy charities and we wish him all the very best in his endeavours."

Karl is looking to raise £10,000 through sponsorship. If you wish to support Karl in this challenge, please email to find out more.
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