Two independent school headmasters competed in this year’s Marathon des Sables to raise money for charity.
Whilst many of us put their feet up over Easter, Julian Thomas, Master of Wellington College and Mark Mortimer, Headmaster of Warminster School, ran the six-day, 251 kilometre ultra-marathon across the Sahara Desert.
Known as ‘the toughest footrace on Earth’, the Marathon Des Sables is the equivalent of running six marathons in six days in desert conditions, with temperatures often reaching a high of 50C. As well as covering the gruelling distance, participants must carry all their food and equipment for the duration of the event in their backpacks.
Julian Thomas and Mark Mortimer have completed similar challenges before: in recent years Mark has rowed the Atlantic and Julian has trekked to the South Pole.
The two school heads took part in the event to raise funds for the construction of teachers’ houses at St Michael’s Girls’ Primary School in Uganda. Both Warminster and Wellington has supported St Michael’s across recent years, with various fundraising events and collections.
This is not the first time that a member of the current Wellington College staff has run the Marathon des Sables. In 2009, David Edwards, Housemaster of the Picton, and his wife, Pippa, completed the endurance event, a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that Pippa ran the entire race with a broken toe. Works and Estates Bursar, Malcolm Callender, and teacher Grace Elliott also completed the gruelling challenge in 2015.