Sahara desert duo to raise money for Cancer Research

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TWO friends are heading to Morocco to run a marathon across the Sahara Desert to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Dave Phillipson, from Walton, and Mark Valente, from Newmillerdam, have signed up to run the 151-mile Marathon Des Sables.

One of the toughest on the planet, the marathon will see the pair running the distance in six days carrying all their food, clothing and equipment, with the exception of water and a tent.

The friends have been training hard with Mr Phillipson running 60 miles and Mr Valente a full marathon every week.

They have so far raised £22,000 between them for the charity (Yorkshire Cancer Research )after losing friends – including Mr Phillipson’s father – to cancer.

Mr Phillipson, 54, who owns Harry’s Fish and Chips Restaurant on Kirkgate, said he will be carrying a picture of his father and his son to motivate him during the race.

“I’m running with a great friend, and I know we’ll be there for each other for huge support when there’s a crisis.”

Mr Valente, 45, is a law trainer for West Yorkshire Police and the force has raised around £2,000 for the duo’s cause.

He said: “If I have a cold I can take a week off training, but someone having chemotherapy doesn’t have that option.

“I couldn’t face going home and telling my son that I hadn’t finished. He’s so proud of me – he shouts ‘Daddy’s going running’ when I leave the house.”

To sponsor the pair to run the marathon in April, visit www.justgiving.com/Mark-Valente or www.justgiving.com/ DavePhillipson.

Previous entrants to the marathon include the television presenter Ben Fogle and the Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell, who have both gone on to trek the South Pole.