Shropshire four among group starting 10 marathons in 10 days in Sierra Leone
A group of friends is today embarking on an ultimate endurance expedition - running 10 marathons in 10 days in Sierra Leone, to raise awareness and funds for charities Mind and Street Child.
They have named the challenge, which is akin to running on a treadmill in a sauna for 10 days, Sierra260.
The men, four of whom are from Shropshire, will run a route from Sierra Leone’s northern border with Guinea across 260 miles southwest to end on the coast just south of the capital, Freetown. The total elevation gain will take them higher than the Mount Everest Base Camp.
Sierra260 represents an immense challenge for a relatively inexperienced group of runners.
The route will see the team take on some of the harshest running conditions imaginable including dense mountainous rainforests, dirt tracks, river crossings and the threat of rainstorms.
Combine these conditions with 90 per cent humidity, 35 degree heat and scorching sun - Sierra260 will push the group’s limits.
Among the group are Todd Langford Archer, 26, from Shrewsbury, Hugo Tapp, 28, from Ludlow, Ed Thompson, 26, from Bridgnorth, and Jack Wrigley, 26, from Ludlow.
TV star and adventurer Bear Grylls has endorsed the challenge.
He said: "A massive undertaking of a challenge and against some of the harshest conditions Mother Nature has to offer.
"I admire the team's courage and tenacity so much and am proud to support them and the charities they are raising much needed funds for."
It is all to raise awareness and funds for the charities.
Sierra Leone has had a difficult past following years of civil war and in 2015 was hit by an ebola epidemic that claimed 4,000 lives and orphaned more than 12,000 children and although now ebola-free, the legacy of the virus is still felt.
Throughout the expedition the group will meet many of those affected and those who will benefit from the money raised.
Street Child works to build schools, trains teachers, connects orphaned or abandoned children with families and gives parents in poverty business grants. The charity started in Sierra Leone in 2008 and has since helped more than 60,000 children.
Mind is a mental health charity which gives support and advice to those experiencing mental health problems.
Altum Consulting which recently crowned Sierra260 the winner of its 'Altumate Challenge' is sponsoring the expedition.
Edward Nash-Steer, CEO of Altum Consulting, said: “The challenge Sierra260 presents is almost unimaginable. It will require bravery, determination and serious stamina, which is exactly what The Altumate Challenge is about and why we’ve chosen to support them.”
If you are interested in supporting the expedition, visit sierra260.com for more information.