Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

156 Miles, and I'm Dune It for Charity; Toon Fan Tony Taking on Toughest Sahara Trek

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

156 Miles, and I'm Dune It for Charity; Toon Fan Tony Taking on Toughest Sahara Trek

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM MULLEN

WITH the Toon well placed to leave the wastelands of the Championship, Magpies fan Tony Rutter is facing a different kind of wilderness.

The Newcastle United fanatic is running 156 miles across the Sahara Desert wearing his favourite black-and-white shirt.

The charity race, known as the Marathon Des Sables, will see the 33-year-TOM MULLEN old running over seven days, carrying 15kg of supplies on his back.

Billed as "the toughest foot race on earth", he will join some 750 people to slog out more than 20 miles a day under the sweltering African sun.

The centrepiece of the run will be the gruelling fifth day, when Tony will attempt to cover 50 miles in under 24 hours.

And there was no way the hardy Magpies fan was going to miss a chance to represent his beloved NUFC as he heads to Morocco today.

The married businessman, of Gosforth, Newcastle, joked: "I guess I'll probably be the only Toon fan out there, and it doesn't matter because I've got my anti-snake venom pump in case I bump into any Sunderland fans.

"I've run 30 miles before but never 50. Nowhere near that far in fact. It's going to be tough - 50 miles is a different ball game altogether. "It's going to be hot and sticky, and I'll be carrying all my stuff. I'll have a stove so I can get that out and cook if I want. The only thing that's provided is water.

"One of the days is known as 'dune day' when the whole day's running is through dunes. If I'm lucky the temperature's going to be mid-30s and it could quite easily get up in the 40s."

Season ticket-holder Tony is raising money for the Facing Africa organisation to fight disease and bring prosperity to the continent.

He has already raised pounds 11,000 through a charity dinner, raffle, and sponsorship cash, and is now hoping more people will come forward to help his charity pledge.

Pulling no punches in describing how tough the race is expected to get, an introduction on the event's official website reads: "Welcome to the world of lunatics and masochists. …

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