Lee aims to conquer Earth’s toughest race

Lee Hurford.
Lee Hurford.

Lee Hurford is preparing to pack his life into a rucksack and trek up to 250k across the Sahara desert - as he looks to conquer ‘the toughest race on Earth’.

That is the nickname given to the Marathon des Sables, a race across barren, unforgiving terrain in heats of up to 120F.

Competitors run the equivalent of almost one marathon a day for six days across the north African wastelands, with one stage being a 91k ultra leg raced through the day and night.

And to make it even tougher, they must carry all their belongings with them on their backs.

“I just don’t want to get to 60 and sit there looking back on my life, regretting that I didn’t do the things I could have done,” Hurford told The Standard.

“When I first heard about it, the challenge stuck in my mind and it became one of those things I was determined to do.”

Hurford grew up in the town, and has represented both Boston Rugby Club and Boston Amateur Boxing Club, as well as being on the books of Lincoln City.

He was also a heavyweight boxing champion in the Royal Marines.

However, endurance running is a sport he is fairly new to.

The only marathon Hurford has completed to date was the Skegness to Boston Seabank Marathon in the 1980s - which he won.

Now aged 41 and looking to shift some of the 16 stones from his frame, he is currently in training by running up to 10k each day in Dubai, where he and his family have moved.

Hurford originally emigrated for work - he has operated as a bodyguard in Iraq as well as an anti-piracy operative on ships off the African coast - and he is now looking to set up a boxing academy in the gulf city.

The Marathon des Sables will begin for the 28th time in April next year, and Hurford will be running for the Matt Hampson Foundation, aiming to raise £10,000. Hampson was an England under 18s rugby star whose life was changed forever when, during a match, a collapsed scrum led to him trapping his spinal chord and being left paralysed from the neck down.

His foundation now aims to provide help, advice and financial support for young people seriously injured through sport.

Hurford is also looking to raise additional funds for Boston ABC.

For further information, or to sponsor Hurford, log on to http://www.justgiving.com/Lee-Hurford or www.maddogsandenglishmanhurford.co.uk