Congratulations to Rob Leonard, for his awe-inspiring feat. Not only did Rob complete the MDS Challenge, renowned for being the ‘toughest footrace on earth’, but he finished in 33rd place and has raised a staggering £4,200 to be shared between Julia’s House and Myotubular Trust.

Rob told us, ‘I didn’t do bad for a pasty, redhead who enjoys his food and drink probably a little too much! 33rd out of 1078 competitors exceeded all expectations. The 18 months of work appear to have paid off and I return relatively blister free, having had the experience of a lifetime. I’m pleased to say I smiled all the way round, enjoyed every second out there and chatted to everyone with whom I had the pleasure to run with.

Plans are already afoot for the next one, possibly a slightly colder desert? It’s been a blast!

We are truly humbled by your achievements Rob, in memory of Will, and extend our heartfelt congratulations and thanks to you.

More information about Rob’s race and training:

Rob completed the Marathon Des Sables in April this year; billed by the Discovery Channel as “the toughest footrace on earth”. Rob undertook this mammoth challenge in honour of Will, who had myotubular myopathy.

Known simply as the MdS, the race is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a formidable landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates – the Sahara desert. The rules require you to be self-sufficient, carrying everything you need to survive on your back except water. The organisers also provide a place to sleep at night in a simple open tent, but any other equipment and food must be carried.

And so, after two years of gruelling training in preparation for the MdS, Rob ran the equivalent of 6 marathons in 6 days, through the Sahara Desert, whilst carrying all his own kit and food. Last year at the start of the long day (50 miles) temperatures reached 54C. To find out more about this phenomenal challenge have a look at their website –

Before the race of a lifetime, Rob told us, ‘I don’t like sand, don’t like being dirty (I’ll be wearing the same clothes throughout – they obviously won’t get sweaty!), I’m not at my best when I’m hungry, get grumpy when I’m tired, and don’t really like the heat! So, the dream trip?

To get here it has been 2 years of hard training, blisters, dehydration, drenchings, dog bites, knee issues, tears, cheers and an awful lot of cake! I would like some good to come out of this, other than the fact my clothes no longer fit.

In 2012 a friend of mine, Duncan, sadly lost his son, Will, to X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy (MTM). I will be running to raise funds for two very important charities that had a huge impact on Will’s and his family’s lives. The Myotubular Trust, who are funding research into a cure for myotubular myopathy, and Julia’s House, a wonderful children’s hospice in Dorset.’

There is still time to Rob and leave a message of congratulations, please visit

Rob with Will’s dad, Duncan and Will’s twin-sister

Bird’s eye view of the race