Heads Compete in the Marathon des Sables

By School House

7 years ago

Julian Thomas and Mark Mortimer took on the 'toughest footrace on Earth'

While many of us planned to put our feet up this Easter, Warminster head Mark Mortimer and Wellington master Julian Thomas had something different in mind – a six-day, 251km ultra-marathon across the Sahara Desert.


Referred to as ‘the toughest footrace on Earth’, the Marathon des Sables is the equivalent of six marathons in six days in desert conditions. Neither Julian Thomas and Mark Mortimer are strangers to such extraordinary challenges: in recent years Mark has rowed the Atlantic and Julian has trekked to the South Pole.

St Michael’s Girls School

The two school heads are old friends and colleagues and set off across the sands in order to raise funds for the construction of teachers’ houses at St Michael’s Girls’ Primary School in Uganda.

Both Warminster School and Wellington College already have connections with St Michael’s Girls Primary School. A DT scholar at Wellington College designed and built a ‘play shop’ for St. Michael’s and five years on, it is still being used and enjoyed by the girls during maths lessons. There have also been fundraising events and collections at Warminster School.

The Marathon des Sables

After six gruelling days, in temperatures of around 50°C, the pair crossed the finish line. ‘It’s over – the marathon stage of the MdS,’ Mark said. ‘What a beautiful, brutal & relentless six days of racing. Thanks for all the support.’

After raising more than £3,600, it was back to work for the two school heads. Mark, however, couldn’t quite manage to escape the sand…

READ MORE: The Schools Giving Back to Their Community