1 Desert Muscle Warrior
7 gruelling days
45 burning degrees
1 VITAL cause
STOP PRESS – Muscle Warrior Justin Roberts returned safely back to the UK having successfully completed the toughest footrace on earth and in the process raising in excess of £4000 (incl gift-aid) for Muscle Dreams – an incredible effort and on behalf of all at The Muscle Help Foundation, congratulations!
The Muscle Help Foundation’s first ever Desert Muscle Warrior (Dr Justin Roberts) departed from the UK on Thursday 31st March to compete in the 26th Marathon Des Sables (MDS), a six-day endurance marathon across the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Billed as ‘the toughest footrace on earth’ with over 42 nationalities participating from around the world, Justin will cover the 151 miles run over 7 days – MDS is the equivalent to approximately 6 marathons in a week! He is aiming to raise awareness and vital funds so more Muscle Dreams can be delivered by his chosen charity, The Muscle Help Foundation.
The fully-fledged 40-year-old Muscle Warrior, who specialises in performance nutrition at Hatfield’s University of Hertfordshire, said: “I’m hoping to use this experience to raise awareness and money for The Muscle Help Foundation. Additionally, my aim will be to push my body to its absolute limit to experience what partial muscle wastage is like for a fit able-bodied person. I’m trying to find out what it’s like when your muscles don’t work properly for maybe just one day, although the boys who suffer from the disease have to fight every day in dealing with a muscle wasting condition that, worst case, will limit a young person’s life to perhaps late teens or early twenties. It’s relentless!”
There are six stages to the Marathon Des Sables as detailed below. You can also follow Justin’s progress by visiting the official MDS website at https://darbaroud.com/– his competitor number is GBR 825.
STAGE ONE (3 April) = 29 Km
STAGE TWO (4 April) = 35.5 Km
STAGE THREE (5 April) = 40 Km
REST DAY (6 April)
STAGE FOUR (7–8 April) = 82.2 Km
STAGE FIVE (9 April) = 42.2 Km
STAGE SIX (10 April) = 21.1 Km
It takes tremendous physical and mental stamina to conquer this gruelling 151 mile course, over varying terrain and under severe environmental conditions. This year, sand and dunes will be present in every stage. Justin has trained hard to hopefully get to the finishing line. MDS is without doubt his single biggest challenge to date, and is in direct contrast to the extreme polar conditions experienced by the charity’s CEO (aka Chief Muscle Warrior and himself a sufferer of muscular dystrophy) Michael McGrath in reaching both the North and South Poles. The MDS is a formidable event, and one which will no doubt test the same core values demonstrated each and every day by those afflicted with this muscle wasting disease.
Following on from a surprise visit (to naturally make sure of Justin’s departure that included cappuccino’s and bacon rolls!!) at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal, the founders of the charity Miles Peckham and Michael McGrath wished him god-speed, no run-ins with any desert critters and a safe return back to blighty.
“I know just how hard Justin has trained for this event and how tough it will be especially on his feet! The many comments posted on his dedicated Virgin Money Giving fundraising page give an insight into the fantastic support that many have shown. His Muscle Warrior spirit is unmistakable and I’ve no doubt that his efforts will make a real difference for future Muscle Dream beneficiaries suffering from this cruel and unforgiving disease”, said Michael McGrath.
About Dr Justin Roberts
Dr Justin Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences, Division of Sport, Health and Exercise at the University of Hertfordshire. He is an Accredited Sport and Exercise Physiologist (BASES), a member of the British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and a Nutrition Therapy Council (NTC) registered practitioner. He has worked with a variety of individuals, ranging from elite sport and ultra endurance events, to executives in the business world. He was a Senior Nutrition Advisor for the 2010 England Football World Cup Squad. He is a longstanding supporter of The Muscle Help Foundation.