Runner takes on gruelling challenge in the Sahara in memory of his 'brave' mother

A man from Staffordshire has overcome the scorching heat of the Sahara Desert to complete a major running challenge – having been inspired by his mother.

Adam Jones has completed the punishing Marathon De Sables in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, raising money for a cancer charity
Adam Jones has completed the punishing Marathon De Sables in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, raising money for a cancer charity

Adam Jones, from Brocton near Cannock Chase, took on the Marathon De Sables in Morocco – which has been regarded as the toughest foot race on Earth.

It saw him take on endless sand dunes, rocky jebels – mountains or hill, or a range of hills – in the scorching heat, with temperatures hitting around 60C (140F).

And he did it in memory of his mother Jackie Jones, aged 61, who passed away in September 2019 from ovarian cancer with her courage and bravery inspiring him.

Adam, who started running as a way of coping with his loss, also took on the gruelling challenge to raise more than £7,000 for the Target Ovarian Cancer charity.

Jackie Jones was 61 when she passed away. Photo: Adam Jones

He said: "It's called the Marathon de Sables which is described as the toughest foot race on Earth. It was like 55C to 60C-degree heat – the drop out rate [is usually] five per cent, but there was like a 50 per cent drop off.

"I had already done a few marathons and it's self-supported so you carry on food, camping equipment and water for the whole time, through the desert and you sleep out under the stars.

"It was an amazing experience but it was a bit like a war-zone at times, with people collapsing and choppers coming in taking people away. I was glad to make it over the line, it was pretty emotional.

Adam Jones with his mother Jackie Jones. Photo: Adam Jones

"Day one, literally 10k into it, it looked like it was over for me [due to an issue with his knee]. I was so hot and dehydrated and I had to shuffle myself over the finish line that day. I had to have a word with myself [about continuing]."

And the 34-year-old did continue and used the bravery he had witnessed from his mother, during the final days of her life, to keep him going as the soaring heat continued – with a thermometer from his camp mate breaking at once point after registering 62C (143.6F).

He described his mother, on his fundraising page, as being "incredible and inspiring" and someone who "always remained happy, positive and selfless" and he kept her near to him on the gruelling challenge, with her photograph on one side of a keyring and his son's photograph on the other.

A keyring photograph of Jackie Jones that Adam kept with him during his gruelling challenge. Photo: Adam Jones

"I've raised over £7,000 for Target Ovarian Cancer – it's a really difficult cancer to diagnose and it will really help them. It makes it all worthwhile," he added.

The trek was held over six days starting from October 3 to October 8 with Mr Jones finishing in 75th place overall. Entrants also ran the following day for a mandatory, but not timed, event.

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