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Hardy Sue to show sons she's queen of the desert

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

  • Big change: Hugh Maynard from Ruskington is off to the West End to star in Miss Saigon. Photo by Gilly Palmer Photography.

  • Tough: Sue Hardy aims to emulate her sons Will and Jim by completing the Marathon des Sables for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Trust

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A Lincolnshire mum will emulate her two sons by running the 'toughest race on earth', despite being almost twice their age.

Sue Hardy, from Navenby, will take on a 150-mile marathon across the Sahara desert in April.

The 58-year-old decided to tackle the tough Marathon des Sables along with her 54-year-old brother Tim Peplinksi, after watching her twin sons Will and Jim Hardy complete it in 2012.

She will battle through stifling heat and scorching sand for between 20-60 miles a day, carrying a nine-kilogram backpack full of food for the seven-day challenge.

The pair must take a venom-pump in case of snake bites and will only have freeze-dried 'astronaut' food to eat. They are taking on the marathon in a bid to raise £5,000 for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Trust.

"We are Lincolnshire born and bred so we are familiar with the sight and sound of the air ambulance chasing across the sky to save lives," Mrs Hardy said. "I know that I will probably walk a lot of the way, but the point is to finish it. It's not a race.

"We know we are not trying to get a good time or anything, but we just keep thinking 'please, just let us finish'."

Mrs Hardy and Tim are now in final preparations and training for the challenge, ahead of flying out to the Sahara on April 4.

Weight lifting, 20-mile distance runs and even pilates are helping them prepare.

"We have now started taking backpacks and taking everything with us," Mrs Hardy said.

"The worst bit is trying to lift it onto my back. We will have all our food in there for the week, although it may be gone by lunchtime on the first day.

"It is freeze dried meals. We are not taking breakfast ones, not even granola.

"For breakfast we will have something like chicken curry, for the protein and because it will taste a bit better.

"If we see a snake, we may as well catch it and have it for tea."

Mrs Hardy hasn't told the sick children she teaches part-time at the specialist hospital Pilgrim School about the challenge. "We never gave it serious thought until a few months ago when the date got closer and the physical training intensified," Mrs Hardy added.

"If I'm honest, I think we tried to put it to the back of our minds as it is such a daunting challenge to undertake.

"Having met the air ambulance crew I know that when we hit 'the wall' on the run and we are having to battle the heat and the dust, we will only need to think of the lives that we will be helping to save in Lincolnshire to keep us going to the finish line."

The marathon is broken down into stages of between 20 and 60 miles, except the final day which is usually around 10 miles. The route is even kept secret until a few days before the race.

Peter Aldrick, chief executive of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Trust, said: "We wish Sue and Tim lots of luck during the race.

"I know that everyone at the base and at the charitable trust will be following their progress online."

For more information on Sue and Tim's fundraising visit www.justgiving.com/sueandtim.

Their progress through the race from April 4 to April 14 will be streamed live at www.mds2014.co.uk

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