Sheffield twins take on 155-mile desert race for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice

Sheffield twins are taking on the challenge of a lifetime running 155 miles across the Sahara Desert to raise money for a children's hospice.

By Julia Armstrong
Friday, 4th March 2022, 12:54 pm
Updated Friday, 4th March 2022, 12:54 pm

Ben and Edward Hall are flying to Africa next month for the physically and mentally exhausting Marathon des Sables, which will see them racing the equivalent of six marathons across vast sandy plains in temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius.

The brothers, who are originally from Anston, are raising funds for Bluebell Wood through the ultra-marathon – topping the £1,000 mark within a day of launching their fundraiser which you can support at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ben-Hall43.

Extreme sports-loving Ben, who’s a sergeant in South Yorkshire Police, admits that running has never been his strong point.

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Sheffield brothers Ben and Edward Hall are running the 155-mile Marathon des Sables to raise money for the city's Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice

“I’ve never really been much of a runner but Edward and I have always been into extreme sports. We used to do a lot of mountain climbing, snowboarding and we’ve always been interested in extremes,” he said.

“A couple of years ago we watched a programme where James Cracknell competed in the Marathon des Sables, and seeing the lengths you have to go to was really quite inspiring.

“We thought it’d be a laugh – but it was really just a pipedream at first. Then last year we decided to go for it, which gave us a good year to train and prepare.

“Being twins we’re both as mad as each other and I always know that if I come up with an idea, at least Edward will be up for it – and it works both ways.”

Sheffield brothers Ben and Edward Hall are running the 155-mile Marathon des Sables to raise money for the city's Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice

The 41-year-old brothers are both married and Edward, who is a teacher in a local mental health programme, has two small children, so the support of their families has been incredibly important.

“The training has taken over our lives,” said Ben.

When will Ben and Edward be racing for Bluebell Wood?

“I used to be into amateur boxing and did cardio as part of my training but never really ran for any distance. So it’s been a bit like a couch to 251k!

“I started off doing four-mile runs, then five and then 10 and I’ve steadily worked my way up. Now you’re talking upwards of 70-80 miles in a week, so it takes up a lot of your time.

“But training wise, getting your body used to the extremes is the hardest bit, which we’ll be doing more of in the last few weeks.

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“Education around what your body needs is very important, so we’ve done a lot of research and spent a lot of money on the right equipment and supplies.”

For the brothers, finding a charity to support was easy.

“We grew up in Anston and our family lives there so it’s very much our local charity,” added Ben.

“With the amazing work that Bluebell Wood does, why wouldn’t we want to support them?”

Ben and Edward will be racing through the Sahara from March 24 to April 4.

Shannon Gossage, regional fundraiser at Bluebell Wood, said: “We’re in awe of Ben and Edward’s truly monumental challenge and we’re incredibly grateful they’ve chosen to support Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.

“It really is a once in a lifetime challenge and, on behalf of everyone here at Bluebell Wood, we wish them the very best of luck.”