Network Manager James Yeardley is preparing to take on the fearsome Marathon des Sables next April for Blesma, The Limbless Veterans…

James, from Portsmouth, served in the Army with the Royal Signals during the 1990s and chose Blesma as the beneficiary charity for the challenge after hearing about the work they do for those injured while serving their country.

The Marathon des Sables takes place in the Sahara Desert with runners taking on around 250km in six days, with temperatures ranging between 40-50°C.

After signing up to the Marathon des Sables, James took part in the Portsmouth Marathon but had to pull out at the 16-mile point. Using the experience to motivate himself, he went on to lose an impressive 20kg in weight with the help of a sports dietician, making training much easier.

James has been using other marathons to build up his endurance, including the Druid’s Challenge in Tring where runners cover 84 miles over three days on the Ridgway National Trail, ending in Wroughton near Swindon.

In order to prepare for the extreme heat of the desert, the Institute of Naval Medicine in Portsmouth has kindly agreed to let James train in their heat chamber in the two weeks leading up to the main event.

James says: “I feel I’m doing a small thing in comparison to those who served in conflicts since I left the military in 1997. Being able to raise some money to help is important to me and I couldn’t feel more proud in supporting Blesma, I know that when I’m struggling on the Marathon Des Sable I will be able to take strength in knowing I am doing a small bit to help those who were injured."

James’ company, Bloomberg, have been very supportive of his charitable activities, and have offered to match the amount that he raises.

Fundraising Relationship Executive, Christina Crook, says: “At Blesma, we are hugely appreciative of James taking on what is considered the toughest foot race on earth! I am not worried though, with 3 marathons in 3 days under his belt already and a smile on his face throughout I have no doubt he will smash it.”

To support James in his challenge, go to:

Blesma, The Limbless Veterans is the national charity for all limbless service men and women, their widows and dependants. It was formed in the years following the First World War and became a national charity in 1932.