Amateur athlete James Le Gallez will take on the ultimate endurance challenge for charity next April.
James (pictured) will be competing in the Marathon des Sables, a gruelling 250 km and six-stage race across the Moroccan Sahara that is reputed to be the toughest foot race in the world.
James is an operations manager with Channel Islands compliance and governance specialist Redwood Group, who has sponsored his four-figure race entrance fee. As two of three chosen charities, James will be fundraising for Autism Guernsey and the Guernsey Society for Cancer Relief, both of which are close to the hearts of Redwood’s Guernsey team.
James Wood, chief executive of Redwood Group, said: “Both of these charities have provided immeasurable support to our staff during the most challenging times. Autism Guernsey has been a great resource and support for James in recent times, while GSCR has provided help and advice to those sadly affected by a cancer diagnosis. We are proud that James’ fundraising will make a meaningful difference to these causes.”
Tom Cluett, managing director, Redwood Co Sec Ltd, added: “We are always keen to support local charities as part of Redwood’s wider CSR strategy. We will be cheering James along every step of the way and hope his epic efforts will support the vital work of all three Channel Island charities.”
Andrew Warren, chair of Autism Guernsey, said: “We are so grateful to James for choosing Autism Guernsey as one of his charities. Our important work is only made possible thanks to fundraisers like James, who truly make a difference to islanders’ lives. We currently support more than 200 islanders and their families, through our clubs, groups and the one to one support we provide. The funds James raises for us mean more people with autism can access this support.”
Peter Atkinson, chair of the Guernsey Society for Cancer Relief, said: “We are delighted that James has chosen to support our charity and we wish him all the best with this incredible challenge. We give financial and other assistance to cancer patients and their families every day of the week – we and all of our beneficiaries are very grateful to James.”
As part of a comprehensive training programme, James is undertaking several distance races in the Channel Islands and overseas in the run-up to April. At the midway training point in November, he will take on the challenging GUN31 night trail race, entailing a 2300m clifftop ascent. James will also trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the New Year before undertaking several trail runs at high-elevation sites across Colombia and Peru. During his peak training weeks from February to March, back-to-back training will see James exceed 100kms per week, and rack up 10 marathons in February alone.
To help acclimatise to the unforgiving 40-degree desert temperatures, James is preparing by spending a lot of time in saunas, undertaking hot yoga and layering up for runs to raise his body temperature.
The feat is all the more impressive because James only took up running two years ago to boost his fitness.
James said: “When I first took up running, I never thought I would find myself taking on anything as epic as this, but you get hooked as you see your fitness levels increase. The training has taken over my life, but the support of friends, family and colleagues has really spurred me on and I’m grateful to everyone who is supporting me.
“When I’m taking on the heat of the Moroccan desert, it will help to know that I’m doing it all for three extremely worthwhile charities that make a huge difference to Channel Islanders’ lives. Having people relying on me will certainly help to get me across that finish line.”
James is aiming to raise £10,000 for three Channel Islands charities. As well as Autism Guernsey and the Guernsey Society for Cancer Relief, he will also be fundraising for Jersey Hospice Care.
To donate, or for more information on supporting James through sponsorship, please visit here.