Charity challenger takes on desert marathon run

extreme runner Alice Morrison
extreme runner Alice Morrison

A wonder woman is getting ready to take on one of the toughest challenges on Earth in order to support a charity for people with learning disabilities.

Alice Morrison, of Hayfield, is currently in training for the Marathon Des Sables, which takes place in April next year.

She is taking part in the event to raise money for MENCAP.

The challenge, which has been dubbed ‘the toughest footrace on Earth’ takes place over six days, and includes six marathons – one of which is a double marathon – across the Sahara Desert in temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius, while runners carry their own provisions.

While Alice is not a stranger to tough physical challenges, having cycled 8,000 from Cairo to Cape Town as part of the Tour D’Afrique in 2011, she has not always been into keeping fit.

“In school I hated sports,” she said. “I’m totally Joe Bloggs.

“One of my ambitions is to show people that we can all do great things if we just focus a little bit.”

Alice, who owns a business consultancy firm, took part in the Peak District Challenge on Saturday, a gruelling 50 kilometre ultrarace through the Peaks. Prior to that she had never run a marathon before.

She teamed up with fellow Hayfield resident Naomi Greaves, and her ‘running dog’ Billy, in order to tackle the Peak challenge.

Alice said the Marathon Des Sables is a big thing to spire to.

“I wake up every morning and it’s the first thing I ever think about,” she said.

“I’m really aware that in order for me to complete this I have to be strong, healthy and fit, and I have to be used to carrying a ten kilometre pack.”

She is taking her training one step at a time in order to get through it.

“If I think about the task it feels impossible bit if I think about it in stages that seems easier,” Alice said. “Taking on the Peak District Challenge was one of my first steps.”

Alice made up her mind that she wanted to take on the Marathon Des Sables in June last year and decided she would raise money for MENCAP.

“There are about 1.1million people in the UK at the moment with learning disabilities – that touches an awful lot of people,” she said.

“I’m an ordinary person doing an extraordinary thing, but for a lot of people with learning disabilities they have to make an extraordinary effort every day.”

For further information on MENCAP, visit To follow Alice’s training for the Marathon Des Sables, go to her webpage

To sponsor her, visit