Hertfordshire paramedics’ mission to Morocco

EXTREME temperatures, heat exhaustion, scorpions and camel spiders are just a few of the dangers that three paramedics face as they take part in a gruelling race in North Africa.

Harpenden-based paramedic Nicki Smith along with her two colleagues Chris Davies and Jenny Pedder are hoping to raise as much money as possible for their chosen charities – Help for Heroes, Cancer Research and Brooke Healthy Working Animals – by completing the Marathon des Sables in Morocco, which is described as the “toughest foot race on Earth.”

They will be battling against Saharan temperatures of up to 50 degrees celsius by day and freezing conditions by night as they take the 250km route across some of the roughest terrain imaginable.

Competitors also have to carry in their rucksacks everything they need – apart from a tent – including essentials such as food, clothes, medical kits and sleeping bags.

They will be flying out at the end of this month for the April 3 start of the marathon, which takes six days to complete and is the equivalent of running six regular marathons.

All three have been training and preparing vigorously over the last year and have mixed feelings about the biggest challenge of their lives.

Nicki, whose chosen charity is Help for Heroes, said: “Obviously our aim is to complete the marathon and raise as much money as possible for our three chosen charities. Of course we have worries but we will endeavour to reach the final, in one piece.”

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Chris, who is based in Hemel Hempstead, said: “Its going to be very tough not eating nice food over the week but it’s a challenge of a life time and one I want to complete.”

Hayden Newton, chief executive officer who recently met up with the three, said: “I am very impressed about their commitment and hard work preparing for such an incredible race. I personally wish them well on their journey and best of luck over the week.”

To sponsor Nicki visit www.justgiving.com/Nicki-DesertMarathon1. Likewise, visit www.runningsponsorme.org/christinedavies15 and www. justgiving.com/jenifer-pedder to sponsor Chris and Jenny.