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Paul Bowker

Paul Bowker's : Marathon Des Sables 2013

Challenge complete

Fundraising for this challenge has ended so we're no longer accepting donations. Thanks to everyone who supported this challenge.

Total raised so far £0.00

Target £0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00

Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p]I am very pleased to report that, on 12th April, I successfully completed the 28[sup]th[/sup] Marathon des Sables, and it was every bit as tough as I expected – perhaps even tougher. Temperatures (particularly on day 4, the long day – 75kms) reportedly hit 54c, and although the final course was some 15kms shorter than in previous years at approximately 235kms, none of you should feel short-changed since what they reduced in distance they more than made up for in hills, mountains and dunes to cross. Day 2 in particular was brutal with three jebels (mountains) to cross.[/p] [p]I was very pleased to finish in the top half of the field, at 489[sup]th[/sup] out of c. 1030 starters. But on this event in particular it really is about the taking part : starting, finishing and along the way absorbing some absolutely stunning scenery. I was extremely fortunate to have a really great tent – eight of us in tent 130 which was home for a week and I will forever be grateful to all of them for contributing so much to the enjoyment of the event.[/p] [p]Amongst our fellow competitors were some extraordinary and inspiring individuals who put any hardships we found along the way in to perspective. These included :[/p] [ul] [li]A team of firemen from Nantes who used an adapted wheelchair-cum-sedan chair to carry a team of disabled children around the course. How they overcame some of the obstacles, I will never understand. But the emotional atmosphere, every single day, when the entire camp stood to applaud them to the start line at the start of the day, and back to their tent at the end of the day was quite extraordinary.[/li] [li]A guy, known in camp as Blade Runner, who completed the event on a “blade” on his missing leg. Again, how he crossed the dunes and mountains I will never understand, but I never saw him without a beaming smile on his face. [/li] [li]And a blind gentleman, who completed his 10[sup]th[/sup] MdS with his guide. At the end of the Marathon Day (day 5), he was the last to cross the finish line by quite a margin, and one of the highlights of the week was when the entire camp of 1000+ people spontaneously converged at the finish line to form a column of honour and applaud his arrival. The look of joy on the face of someone who had just crossed incredibly difficult terrain for 42kms without being able to see whether his feet were about to land on the silky soft sand of the dunes or the razor-sharp rocks of the plains will stay with me forever.[/li][/ul] [p]Above all this event, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of so many of you, has raised a quite amazing amount of money for two charities who I am so pleased to have supported. As at today, we have raised just £500 short of £30,000, which equates to almost £35,000 including gift aid. I have (hopefully) written to every sponsor individually, but once again, I cannot begin to express my thanks for the generosity that you have all shown. I had individual donations from £5 to £5000, and every one meant as much as the others, thanks to the lovely messages left with the donations. Both the beneficiary charities have expressed to me on many occasions how incredibly grateful they are and how staggered they are at the generosity that you have all shown. [/p] [p]My huge thanks to you all for your support.[/p]

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Personal Challenge Date

04 Apr 2013


Jun 18, 2013

Suzanne Press - Day

Belated congratulations! I hope the cancer research teams will work hard with this donation and come back with an exciting breakthru!

£200.00 plus £50.00 Gift Aid

May 19, 2013

Emily and Christopher Foden

sorry so late in donating. You are amazing to do this incredible challenge.

£30.00 plus £7.50 Gift Aid

May 11, 2013

Tim Lake

Horribly late I am sorry. What an amazing achievement ATB Tim

£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid

May 8, 2013

Whelpton Family

From all the Whelptons well done Pabs, what an amazing and awesome achievement.

£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid

May 2, 2013

Robin Byers

A brilliant and immensely impressive effort. Congratulations all the way. Look forward to hearing more over a decent glass.

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid

May 2, 2013

Taro Crump

£20.00 plus £5.00 Gift Aid

Apr 26, 2013

Humphrey Butler

Rather you than me matey! Very well done!


Apr 26, 2013

Mikkel & Elizabeth Dissing

Well done Paul, brilliant effort.


Apr 26, 2013


What an amazing achievement!! Well done!!XX Sara and David

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid

Apr 25, 2013

Chris and Dottie Strickland

congrats Paul. Saw the pics; rather you than me unbelieveable!

£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid