Plucky Chesterfield woman’s gruelling desert challenge

Victoria Crampton
Victoria Crampton
Have your say

A female former rugby player is going the extra 150 miles for poorly children by taking on a gruelling marathon challenge in the Sahara desert.

Victoria Crampton, aged 24, is to compete in the Marathon de Sables - considered one of the toughest runs in the world - to raise £10,000 for the charity Kids ‘n’ Cancer, which funds lifesaving treatment for young people with different forms of the illness.

In the challenge, next April, Victoria will run 150 miles, the equivalent of nearly six marathons, over six days in extreme temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius.

She will be running alongside 850 other competitors from across the world, with just 14 per cent of those competitors being women.

Victoria, a former rower and Harlequins rugby player, from Old Brampton in Chesterfield, is already in training for five hours a day.

Her regime consists of a mixture of running, gym work, swimming and fitness classes, with yoga sessions aimed at helping her body cope with the desert heat.

She said: “My former rugby coach took part last year and encouraged me to sign up. He basically said, ‘If anyone else is mad enough to do it then you are!’

“I know it is going to be challenging, mentally as well as physically, and will be the hardest thing I’ll probably ever do. The heat, exhaustion and pain will be overwhelming. But I hope thinking about the reason I am doing it will spur me on.”

The rules require competitors to be self-sufficient, which means - as well as contending with the heat - Victoria will have to carry everything except water she needs to survive.

She will also take part in the Chesterfield Marathon in September as part of her preparation, and is planning a fundraising dinner in October.

Kids ‘n’ Cancer was set up four years ago and has so far helped 70 children to receive proton therapy treatment in the USA.