Nathan's Sahara Desert Run for Cancer Support and Spinal Injuries

April 11, 2024
Share this article

Nathan Mollet is tackling the Marathon des Sables, a gruelling seven-day, 250 km ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert — equivalent to six regular marathons! He's fundraising for both Wings for Life UK Spinal Cord Research Foundation and South East Cancer Help Centre Limited. 

We caught up with Nathan to learn about his motivation behind this challenge and his support for cancer and spinal cord research.

Tell us about yourself and how you arrived at the idea of taking on Marathon des Sables?
I first heard stories about MdS 10 or 15 years ago. Most runners have probably heard of it. It’s one of those races that feature on your bucket list, so I’ve wanted to do it for a long time. Its reputation as the toughest footrace on earth caught my imagination, and I knew I’d try to do it one day. There’s definitely much tougher races out there, but for me, MdS almost has a mythical status, and this is a big part of its appeal.

How are you preparing for what is widely known as 'the toughest footrace on Earth'?
I’ve been doing endurance events for a while now, most recently Ironman triathlons for the last 5 years, so I'm not completely new to long distances. For MdS, I’ve really just increased my running, both frequency and distance. It’s hard because I have a job and a wife & 3 kids, so I'm realistic about how much training I can really achieve.

Putting 250 km of running in the desert aside, what else do you see as the biggest challenges?
I’m more stressed about the technical stuff and the conditions which are hard to train for. I’m not sure how my body will react to covering that distance in the heat. And because it’s a self-sufficient race, you have to carry all of your own nutrition. If you make a bad choice or forget something, you just have to suck it up for the week.

You've split your GivenGain fundraising page 50/50 to go to Wings for Life and South East Cancer Centre. Tell us why and what these charities mean to you.
SECHC is a local cancer charity that does fantastic work supporting people with cancer and their families. I got involved with Wings for Life through a good mate who suffered a spinal cord injury 5 years ago. They’re also an amazing charity on a mission to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

Picture the scene, you're home, showered, and with the medal around your neck. What takeaway are you ordering to celebrate? And what's next?
I’ll be having a large scotch and putting my feet up! I’m not sure what's next. I promised the boss (my wife) that I’d take some time off endurance events after this, but I’m sure I’ll get the itch again pretty soon.

You can help Nathan reach his fundraising target by donating to his GivenGain page here.