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The Sahara Spinal Challenge - a race across the desert

Marathon des Sables – 26 March – 6 April
The toughest foot race on Earth


Imagine running over 150 miles in 6 days in 50 degree temperatures across a desert – the most inhospitable terrain known to man. Madness? A Challenge? Over 700 competitors from 30 countries will test their endurance by running up sand dunes 150 metres high and across a rock strewn desert. And all for charity.

Amongst the 60 competitors from the UK will be George Eyles, a veteran of 5 London Marathons. George Eyles, from Marlow, Buckinghamshire, is set to take on the gruelling task of running the ‘Marathon des Sables’ in aid of Spinal Research.
The Marathon des Sables is considered the world’s most challenging running event, equivalent to 5.5 marathons in the 6 days. Each competitor has to carry everything they need for the whole race, including their food, clothes, medical kit and sleeping bag. Water is strictly rationed and handed out at each checkpoint. Physical fitness is essential, mental stamina will make or break the runners.
George has already raised £12,200 for Spinal Research but this run is his most ambitious challenge yet. George has supported Spinal Research since he experienced temporary paralysis following a rugby injury in 2002.

George plans to hit his £50,000 target through an amalgamation of individual and corporate sponsorship. He is offering a number of corporate sponsorship packages, ranging between £10,000 and £2,500, including corporate branding and guest speaking.

The money raised will go towards essential research in translating treatments which will help repair damaged spinal cords.

George has already won support from Dave Walder of London Wasps and England. Dave said: “As a professional rugby player, I accept injury as a way of life. But it’s all too easy to ignore the risks and assume that permanent spinal injury is something that happens to other people, not me. Spinal damage and paralysis is probably the injury we fear most – and so talk about least. I know I’ve been very lucky but I also know others who haven’t. That’s why I believe working towards a cure for spinal paralysis is of vital importance, and that’s why I’m proud to support George Eyles in his fundraising for Spinal Research.”

George added: “The paralysis I experienced on the rugby field was certainly the most frightening time of my life. Fortunately the damage was minimal and my paralysis was only temporary. However, it opened my eyes to the plight of others who have not been so lucky. Raising this £50,000 will make a significant contribution to the vital work Spinal Research is carrying out. Recent breakthroughs have brought us to the brink of a cure but this money is essential to convert research into an accessible treatment which really will transform the lives of thousands of spinal injury sufferers.”

You can sponsor George or make a donation by going to http://www.saharaspinalchallenge.com
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For more information, interview opportunities or photographs please contact:

George Eyles on 07775 601 943, george.eyles@arqiva.com or
Sue Eyles 01628 638001, 07899 791444, sue@bluebirdmedia.co.uk

or

Louise Riley (Spinal Research) on 01483 898786 or louise@spinal-research.org.


NOTES TO EDITORS

George Eyles is 33, married with two young children and lives in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. He hates running in the heat!

Marathon des Sables involves over 400 support staff, 100 all-terrain vehicles, a helicopter, 7 planes and 4 camels. 40 medical staff with 5 km of Elastoplast, 2700 Compeed, 15,000 compresses, 2800 pairs of gloves, 2300 antibiotics, 53000 painkillers and 125 litres of disinfectant.

Spinal Research is a registered charity number 281325. It focuses on finding ways to repair damaged spinal cords – something long thought impossible. Established in 1980, the charity raises money for groundbreaking projects at scientific and medical institutions around the world. In every aspect of its activities, whether in raising funds or in allocating funds to research projects, Spinal Research works in accordance with the highest scientific and ethical principles. http://www.spinal-research.org