Letheringham: Ali’s Alpine challenge among toughest trials on Earth
- Credit: Archant
There are tough tests of athletic endurance – and then there is the Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc, with its 13 mountain passes, 31,000ft climbs and total distance of 105 miles.
To even claim a place at the starting line, Suffolk fundraiser Alastair Kerr had to pass a rigorous ballot, in which only 2,300 competitors this year succeeded.
Still fewer runners – just 1,578 – completed the course, considered among the toughest in the world, crossing France, Italy and Switzerland with a time limit of 46 hours, meaning most go without sleep for at least two nights.
Mr Kerr, of Letheringham, near Wickham Market, is no newcomer to endurance races. In 2011, he completed the 151-mile Marathon des Sables across the Sahara Desert in Morocco, raising money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
“Having taken two years and several ultra-distance events to qualify for a place, this was the high point - in more ways than one - of my running challenges,” said the 41-year-old farmer and owner of Easton Grange wedding venue.
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This time, he chose to raise money for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which champions sport as a tool for social change in the UK and around the world. The foundation aims to help young people overcome limitations imposed by challenges including poverty, homelessness, war, violence, drug abuse, discrimination and AIDS by assisting sports related community projects.
Mr Kerr, who finished in 1,056th position with a time of 43hr 16min, said: “By taking on this challenge and giving supporters the choice to support me, I felt we can give choices and options to kids that otherwise wouldn’t have that luxury.”
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You can still lend support at Mr Kerr’s online sponsorship page, justgiving.com/Ali-Kerr1.