Mont Blanc run is ‘summit special’ for air ambulance
After tackling the toughest footrace on earth – an epic six marathons across six days in the Sahara Desert – local air ambulance supporter John Skelton is now preparing for another gruelling challenge to raise funds for the charity.
From the 50C temperatures he encountered in the Marathon de Sables event last year, John (50) will be running and walking in the unpredictable mountain weather and terrain when he takes part in the 103-mileUltra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) race around the Alps peak from 31 August to 2 September 2.
“I think it is going to be more difficult than the Sahara challenge as the race includes numerous sections in altitude over 2,500m, the weather conditions are more challenging, it has to be completed in 40 hours and there is also the small matter of the 10,000m of ascents – the equivalent to climbing Mount Everest!” he says.
John, who runs the Engineering Team in Sainsbury’s Property Division at Ansty Park, Coventry, has taken on his latest challenge to raise funds for Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance in memory of a work colleague who died after a road accident which the helicopter attended. The charity has been chosen as the Coventry employer’s charity partner for 2018.
He has been training for the UTMB event for the past three months by regularly running 50 miles every weekend including running up Snowden six times.
UTMB is one of the top trail running events in the world and John had to take part in qualifying races to be eligible to be entered into the ballot for one of the coveted 2,300 places.
“I am looking forward to taking part but I am very daunted by what’s ahead of me. The race is as psychologically demanding as it is physically challenging. It can be mentally very tough when you think you have reached a summit and then you look up and realise you have even further to go,” says John.
But he believes the very reason and motivation for taking part in the event will inspire him to push on when faced with moments of uncertainty.
“If I get into a dark place then knowing that people have been kind enough to sponsor me and thinking about the lifesaving work of the air ambulance, will motivate me and give me the impetus to continue,” he says.
John has set himself a target of raising £3,000 to add to the £4,000 he raised when he did the Marathon de Sables. To support John and his fundraising effort please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/sainsburysvmlm18js
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