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Home > News > Theatre porter takes on the toughest race in the world

Theatre porter takes on the toughest race in the world

Posted on Thursday 28th February 2013


A theatre porter at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle will be attempting the toughest foot race in the world when he takes part in the Marathon Des Sables starting on 6 April.

The epic race covers 151 miles over six days across the Sahara Desert in Southern Morocco. Participants have to carry everything they will need for the duration of the race across vicious terrain whilst enduring soaring temperatures and sandstorms. Around 1000 people enter the event each year and approximately 250 people do not complete it.

Michael Irving (known as ‘Curly’) is taking part to raise money for Hospice at Home – Carlisle and North Lakeland which provides a specially trained palliative care nursing service for patients who are at the end stages of their life and prefer to remain in their own home. Each year the charity cares for around 300 patients and provides vital support to families and carers.

Curly said: “The reason I chose Hospice at Home as my charity is because of the care they provided for my mum in her home when she was at the end stage of her life. The staff always made my mum comfortable and took great care of her so, to thank them, I am doing the race to raise money for them.”

Curly has always enjoyed running, so when one of his colleagues suggested the mammoth challenge, the idea grew until he found himself signing up. In preparation, Curly is regularly running between 30 and 50 miles and training in the gym three times a week.

After watching a DVD of Olympic gold-medallist rower, James Cracknell attempting the Marathon Des Sables, Curly realised just how difficult and dangerous the race will be, but it hasn’t deterred him at all: “It has made me more determined. My friends all think I’m mad especially because I don’t even like the sun! It will be an experience I will never forget and if I get to the finish line, it will be such an achievement.”