Warwick district personal trainer to tackle 'toughest footrace on earth'

A mum-of-two who runs a personal training business in the Warwick district will be taking on the 'toughest footrace on earth' for charity.

Lauren Gregory, who runs Lauren Gregory Fitness, will be taking on the mammoth task of the Marathon Des Sables next year.

Lauren Gregory. Photo submitted.

Lauren Gregory. Photo submitted.

Lauren, who also founded the running group Run Like A Girl (RLAG), will face a 250km journey across the Sahara Desert over seven days for what is described as the' toughest footrace on earth'.

Participants in the event also have to carry everything they need on their back and water is provided but is also rationed.

Speaking about the challenge Lauren said: "I first heard about the event years ago even before I started doing half marathons. I remember hearing about it and thinking 'that sounds like hell on earth'.

"The Marathon Des Sables for as long as I’ve known about it, is everything I fear and dread. 250km in 35 to 40 degree searing heat, sand dunes, precarious jebels, being entirely self sufficient for six gruelling days and being so far away from my children and husband.

"I have followed the event for a few years thanks to the power of social media, I found it really compelling but still thought 'it still sounds awful'.

"Everyone I know who's done it said it's amazing and life changing.

"Then this year I turned 40 and thought about the event again. I thought to myself I will never get around to it if I don't just go for it. It has become a bucket list thing for me.

"A friend of mine did it for the charity Hope For Children and I thought this would be a great charity to also do the event for too, especially as I have children of my own."

Lauren needs to raise £8,000 by March 2020 ahead of the Marathon Des Sables in April 2020. To help her raise this, she will be holding a charity gala in November at the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington.

She said: "I know I would have to raise a lot and I wanted to try and do one big event as opposed to lots of little events. I am really looking forward to the gala, the Pump Rooms are so iconic and the ballroom is so beautiful. I am trying to sell the experience of being there. All the chefs there are Michelin trained and we have the Warwickshire Gin Company there too.

"We will also have a raffle and silent auction which been supported by many local businesses which is really nice. It's going to be a great night and it would be great if people could come along."

In the past Lauren has done Ultra Marathons but the Marathon Des Sables will push her even further.

She said: "When I signed up to it the fear side sort of dispersed and now it is more curiosity and I am excited to get out there.

"I have got a new coach - Suzie Chan - who will help me with doing high volume stuff including training for the multi-stage side and trying to replicate the conditions. I will have to do heat acclimatisation and do running in a heat chamber and on sandy trails to prepare.

"I am looking forward to going back to basics and being disconnected from the digital world. We get to send one email a day. I am looking forward to getting out and connecting with the elements and going into that primal survival mode.

"In my role in RLAG I am always encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone so I am taking my own advice with this."

The charity gala takes place on November 23. Tickets cost £65 and include a three-course meal, reception and table drinks, entertainment such as Paulo's Hoodoo Jukebox, magician Angus Baskerville and singer and performer Titine La Voix.

Prizes in the silent auction include: one week's stay in a luxury villa in Majorca, one week's stay in a luxury villa in Marbella, Big Feastival Tickets, a Nuffield Health membership and a signed Wasps rugby shirt.

Two tickets for the gala are also up for grabs via an auction will be running until Sunday (October 27) at 9pm. To place a bid in the auction or to keep up to date about the event go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/2372181549505701/

To buy tickets for the ball go to: www.laurengregorypt.com/hope-for-children-charity-ball

To donate money to Lauren's fundraising go to: www.mds2020.everydayhero.com/uk/laurens-next-adventure-marathon-des-sables

To buy raffle tickets or donate a prize email: hello@runlikeagirl.org.uk